On Dec. 21, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 4401, which extends an eviction moratorium until June 30, 2021, and appropriates $150 million to a landlord relief fund and $50 million for rental assistance.
The effect of that bill: Landlords across Oregon can't evict tenants for not paying rent for another six months, until July 2021.
The Oregon Law Center, which provides legal aid to financially struggling clients, released an online guide that shows renters their rights and how they can protect themselves from eviction under the new moratorium extension.
After Dec. 31, tenants who owe back rent and are still unable to pay on time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic must fill out a sworn declaration statement to prove financial hardship instead of simply notifying their landlords. The signed form can be sent in person or via email, text message or mail.
"Renters who give their landlords a signed declaration will have until June 30, 2021, to pay back money that they owe. Renters who do not give their landlords a signed declaration will need to pay back rent from April 2020 through December 2020 by March 31, 2021," the Oregon Law Center memo says.
Those eligible must have an inability to pay—for reasons that include loss of income, medical expenses, increased child care costs or any other financial barriers. Legal penalties will apply if the declaration is signed untruthfully.
But Portland renters don't have to bother with the paperwork.
Multnomah County extended the county's eviction moratorium before the special legislative session on Dec. 21 to protect renters in the county regardless of the state's decision. As a result of this, Multnomah County renters do not have to sign a declaration form.
Included in the statewide moratorium extension was money for landlords to help their tenants pay back part of their rent, and the OLC statement suggests renters ask their landlords to apply.
Landlords are allowed to give a termination notice if they do not receive the sworn declaration form by the end of the year, but while doing so landlords are required to give tenants a copy of the form and accept it if the tenants fill it out along with information about the moratorium.
Under the statewide guidelines, all rent is owed by July 1, 2021.