Devastating Oregon’s naturally affordable housing supply – Why the burden of continuing an eviction moratorium is bad for housing

Oregon Senate Bill 608

We stand up for Property Rights and Property Owners. A letter to the Special Session Joint Interim Committee

The moratorium on evictions needs to be lifted. Property owners are not able to sustain non payment of rent any longer. Further, the blanket directive to law enforcement not to act on evictions outside any COVID -19 legitimate reason goes against common logic. Given the low number of actual COVID-19 cases, and when retracting those in an Adult Care facility (not affected by eviction) those numbers are significantly lower. It shows there is not a need for an eviction moratorium

The Federal government has added an additional $600 per week, over $2,400 per month on top of the current unemployment pay. Those furloughed because of the pandemic, especially those most financially vulnerable often have a higher income on unemployment then they did before they were laid off. This provides more than enough financial means to pay their rent.

I represent mostly individual property owners, not large investment firms with large portfolio’s. Several of the Property Owners I represent are struggling to make ends meet. Bob and Vicky for example are senior citizens who rely on rental income to support their financial needs including those most basic to survival. A roof over their head, food in their cupboards  and medicine for their health. Bob is suffering from liver failure and his wife Vicky is scared to death what will happen if they can not receive rent. It’s time to protect those property owners like Bob and Vicky.

It is time to end the moratorium and put Oregonians back to work. 

I live in Yamhill County, our offices are in Tualatin and we represent properties and owners in the counties of Clackamas, Marion, Multnomah, Washington and Yamhill.

Your proposed legislation:

  • Does not address the $150M shortfall in rental assistance funding for struggling Oregonians.
  • Lacks a minimum objective demonstration that nonpayment of rent is tied to COVID-19 virus, creating a loophole for those looking to exploit a crisis in their favor. 
  • Declares that the tenant has possession of the unit despite nonpayment of rent, which is rewriting contract law.
  • At a minimum, creates a yearlong state seizure of property with no reassurance of compensation.
  • Aggressively penalizes housing providers for administrative errors but gives no guarantee of relief to housing providers who incur property damages during the moratorium.
  • Provides immunity to shelter operators and public entities but not to rental housing providers
  • Codifies an emergency ordinance on the books forever.

Oregonians need long term solutions, not political punting. Oregon’s leaders need a comprehensive response that:

  • Encourages the Governor, through her Executive Order to extend the moratorium, and avoid the political horse trading of the special session. 
  • Provides rental assistance to struggling Oregonians, who are already facing a $150M shortfall in unpaid rent.
  • Improves the distribution of rental assistance with a uniform application process so that struggling Oregonians can receive assistance NOW.
  • Opens courts to process housing providers claims for damages and losses to minimize debt and preserve naturally affordable rental housing.
  • Establishes liability protection for housing providers, with exception for gross negligence, to head off costly frivolous lawsuits further restricting housing supply and jamming our courts.
  • Does not codify an emergency order into law.

We are members of the following Associations because they help us fight for you and your property rights

National Association of Realtors
Oregon Association of Realtors
National Association of Residential Property Managers
MultiFamily Northwest
National Apartment Association