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Governor Brown Orders Temporary Halt to Residential Evictions for Non-Payment of Rent

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On March 22, 2020, Governor Kate Brown signed an Executive Order effectively halting residential evictions for non-payment of rent in Oregon for a period of 90 days. The Governor cited the significant economic downturn which is occurring globally and in Oregon due to the COVID-19 outbreak which may result in Oregonians being unable to pay their rent due to lost wages. People being evicted from their homes will increase the economic hardship and life and safety risks for all Oregonians because they will be less able to practice the necessary social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the Order.

What does this mean?

1. The Order only addresses evictions based on non-payment of rent. If a tenant violates other provisions of the lease, that tenant can still be evicted. If you are a tenant and cannot pay your rent, you should review your lease and make sure that you are compliant with all other lease provisions.

2. The Order does not prevent rent from being due or a landlord from filing an eviction complaint. The Order prohibits the sheriff from serving, delivering or acting on any notice, order or writ of termination of tenancy. In other words, the sheriff is prohibited from forcing you to leave.

3. The sheriff can force you to leave if you are evicted for something other than failing to pay your rent.

4. The Order is only in effect for 90 days.

5. The Order does not apply to commercial evictions.

It is important to note that the Order only applies for 90 days. If you stop paying rent, you still can be evicted after the 90-day period expires. So, this is not a "free rent for 90 days" card. If you are a landlord, there is nothing in the Order to assist you. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced a 60-day moratorium on foreclosures on March 18, 2020, but that is not going to help your credit when you cannot make the mortgage payment because your tenant stopped paying rent. Oregon law already requires a 4-month waiting period before a lender may initiate a non-judicial foreclosure action, so Fannie and Freddie's announcement is not much of a help for Oregon's landlords.