The COVID Tenant Protection bill passed the Senate Housing and Development Committee Tuesday by a bipartisan vote after a workgroup led by Sen. Kayse Jama reached agreement on the policy. SB 282 will provide protections for renters facing COVID-era financial challenges after the eviction moratorium ends June 30, and give renters certainty that they will have more time to make up any back rent owed.
“Dozens of tenants like me testified in favor of this bill and the senators listened. Now we need the full Senate to pass the bill without delay,” says Erin Meechan of Gresham.
She is among the 11-15% of renters who are behind on their rent, owing her landlord about $2,500. She has filed a hardship declaration form and is waiting to hear if the landlord compensation fund will come through. Oregon renters desperately need them to step up now and extend the grace period for repayment while the state and federal housing assistance gets distributed.”
After the eviction moratorium ends on June 30, SB 282 would:
- Extend the repayment grace period for back-due rent to February 28, 2022 and continue temporarily an extended non-payment termination notice. While renters must make timely payment of current rent after July 1, this will give renters extra time to access rent assistance funds or earn income to get caught up on back-due rent from the moratorium period.
- Protect tenants’ ability to rent in the future.
- Prohibit potential landlords from screening out applicants based on COVID-era evictions and allow sealing of evictions during COVID from a tenant’s record.
- Prohibit credit history reports on any late payments during the moratorium and prohibit landlords from screening out tenants based on nonpayment during the eviction moratorium and grace period.
- Protect the right to share resources in a crisis. Prohibit eviction for doubling-up/occupancy limits imposed by landlords that are narrower than current law, during the COVID period when people have had to share housing due to the pandemic and wildfires.
- Protect against landlord retaliation. Extend HB 4401’s increased damages provision for retaliation violations during the COVID era.
The bill is now scheduled to go to a full vote of the Senate.