Is there a freeze for commercial evictions as well?
Yes, on April 1, 2020, Governor Brown issued Executive Order 20-13 (“the order”) which froze both residential and non-residential evictions for 90 days. The order will remain in effect until June 30, 2020 unless it is extended to last longer or terminated earlier by the Governor.
What are the details on the freeze on non-residential evictions?
The order separates non-residential tenancies (which the vast majority of commercial leases fall under) from residential tenancies (where a person leases property to live on).
While the order is effective, landlords of non-residential properties shall not terminate any tenant’s lease, and/or take any judicial or other type of action to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent. The order go prohibits a landlord from “filing, serving, delivering or acting on any notice, order or writ of termination or the equivalent; or otherwise interfer[ing]” with the tenant’s right to possess the leased property while the order is in effect.
How do I qualify for protection from eviction for my non-residential tenancy under the order?
To qualify for eviction protection under the order, a non-residential tenant must, within 30 calendar days of rent being due, provide the landlord with documentation or other evidence that shows their nonpayment of rent is caused wholly or partially, directly or indirectly, by the COVID-19 pandemic. If a non-residential tenant’s rent is due monthly, the tenant should provide documentation to the landlord each month the order is in effect to maintain protection from eviction.
The order defines acceptable documentation or other evidence to include proof of loss of income due to any government restrictions taken to try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
What does the order mean by “nonpayment of rent”?
The term “nonpayment of rent” includes nonpayment of rent, late charges, utility charges, or any other service charge or fee, as described in the lease or in ORS 91.090, 91.210 or 91.220.
Does the order remove the obligation to pay rent or other charges from the landlord?
No, the order only prevents landlords from evicting non-residential tenants for the time period the order is in effect. It does not remove a non-residential tenant’s obligation to pay rent, utility charges, or any other service charges or fees owed under their lease.
The order does, however, specifically waive COVID-19 related late charges and other nonpayment related penalties for the period it is in effect.
What if I can pay part but not all the rent due?
Under the order, two things are required of a non-residential tenant who is or will be unable to pay the full rent when it is due under a rental agreement or lease. First, the tenant shall notify the landlord of the inability to pay the full amount as soon as possible. Second, the tenant shall make partial rent payments to the extent the tenant is financially able to do so.
Does the order protect non-residential tenants for having their lease terminated for reasons other than the nonpayment of rent?
No, the order does not protect non-residential tenants for termination of leases for reasons besides nonpayment of rent.
Legal editor: John Carley