Oregon’s Rent Arrears Grace Period Ends; Oregon Law Center emphasizes tenant protection
PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — In 2021, the Oregon Legislature passed a bill aimed at providing relief to people who fell behind on their rent during the first period of the global pandemic. Senate Bill 282 created a special grace period for rent arrears accrued between April 2020 and June 2021 and gave tenants until Monday, February 28.
From Tuesday, rent arrears protected by the grace period are now due. But the Oregon Law Center said there are two important protections tenants should be aware of:
- If you applied for rent assistance at any time since July 1, showed your landlord proof of application, and your application is still pending, you are protected from eviction for nonpayment under extended safe harbor protections adopted at the special session last December.
Note: Safe Harbor protection applies to any apply for rent assistance, whether through the state portal or through a local non-profit or other organization.
- If you have NOT yet applied for rental assistance and you owe special grace period rent – or for any time – it’s not too late to apply. Proof of a pending rental assistance application prohibits landlords from granting evictions for nonpayment or taking people to eviction court. Go to www.oregonrentalassistance.org Where www.211info.org to find out how to ask for help.
Even if tenants have received an eviction notice for nonpayment or a filing with the court, they can still stop the eviction by providing proof of a pending rental assistance application, if they provide their owner the documentation of the request at the latest during the first appearance in court.
“We want to make sure tenants know that the safe harbor protections that come with applying for rent assistance will stop all evictions for non-payment, even if the rent grace period is over.” says Becky Straus, lead attorney for the Oregon Law Center’s Eviction Defense Project. “If you haven’t applied for rent assistance, apply now and provide your landlord with documentation of your application. These programs are there to help people facing eviction.
The Oregon Law Center also reminds tenants that if they have been summoned to eviction court for any reason, they should immediately contact the Defense of eviction Project through the website oregonlawcenter.org/eviction-defense-project/ or by calling 888-585-9638.
Since early 2021, the Eviction Defense Project has helped hundreds of households stay in their homes. The project operates statewide and also has local attorneys stationed in counties across the state. Services are free to eligible low-income tenants and are available in English and Spanish. There is access to expert interpreters for other languages and help is available for people regardless of their citizenship status.