Can a landlord evict a tenant for non-payment of rent?
Right now, a tenant can still receive a 72- or 144-hour notice of termination for missing a rent payment, and a landlord can still file a residential eviction complaint in trial court (filing times and methods might be limited in your area). However, the first appearances for residential eviction proceedings have been postponed until at least June 1, 2020. Tenants may file an answer prior to June 1 but are not required to do so. If you are a tenant and you have a first appearance scheduled any time after March 19 but before June 1, the court will notify you when it has been rescheduled.
Similarly, if you already had your first appearance and are awaiting a trial date after May 19, your trial will be rescheduled. You will receive notification when the new trial date is set.
Each court administers its own scheduling. If you have specific questions, or would like to know how your county is handling the postponement of residential eviction cases, please contact the circuit court for your county. You can find your court here: https://www.courts.oregon.gov/courts/Pages/default.aspx
If you have already been to trial and the judge ordered that you should be evicted for non payment of rent, no-cause, or a “qualifying landlord reason” under ORS 90.427
: Governor Brown has ordered that the sheriff cannot enforce the order until the state of emergency is over. Please note that nobody but the sheriff's office can forcibly remove you or your belongings from the premises. Your landlord cannot forcibly remove you without facing civil liability. Forcible removal includes changing the locks or otherwise barring entry to the premises.
Can a landlord still give a 24-hour inspection notice or does that violate social distancing?
Governor Brown has ordered all businesses to maintain social distancing within the workplace, but has not specifically addressed this issue. Nevertheless, the order suggests that a landlord should not be entering a rented property unless absolutely necessary (like for emergency repairs of leaks, breaks, power outages, etc.). If a landlord cannot perform an inspection without maintaining a distance of 6 feet from any other person and without coming into contact with the surfaces of the home, the landlord should wait until the state of emergency ends to conduct inspections.
Additionally, ORS 90.322(1)(f) allows a tenant to deny consent to a landlord who wishes to enter the premises with 24 hour notice. A denial must be in writing and must be posted on the main entrance to the premises. A tenant cannot deny lawful access without risking the termination of the tenancy, so any denial of entry for COVID-19 related reasons should state so in the written denial posted on the door.
A landlord who insists upon entry when a tenant has denied entry may be subject to civil penalties. In addition, failure to comply with the Governor’s social distancing order is a Class C misdemeanor.
Is there a stay on evictions that have already started?
If you currently have a pending eviction trial or first appearance, the court is not going to move forward with your case until after June 1, 2020. This means there won't be an enforceable order from the judge and a tenant cannot be removed from the premises. Be sure to check the Oregon Judicial Department's website at courts.oregon.gov
for changes in the court's precautions.
If you already have a judgment, the sheriff can only enforce the eviction if it was "for cause." This means the tenant violated the rental agreement, the law, or behaved in some other extreme or illegal manner that caused the eviction. Evictions for non-payment of rent, for "no-cause," or for a qualifying landlord based cause under ORS 90.427 cannot be enforced until the Governor's executive order expires.
Where can a renter go for assistance if they receive an eviction notice?
Contact your local Legal Aid office. You can find your local office at https://oregonlawhelp.org/find-legal-help
. If you do not qualify for legal aid services, contact the Oregon State Bar's Lawyer Referral Service at (800) 452-7636.
If you are a veteran, disabled, elderly, or under a certain income level, additional services may be available in your area. If you need help connecting to services in your area, call 311.
If your landlord tries to forcibly remove you from your home, call your local law enforcement.
Do any new rules apply to a 24-hour notice of termination for violence or outrageous conduct?
The sheriff can enforce judgments already in place for 24-hour notices of termination, but the court might be unable to hear any new cases until the crisis is over.
However, a Chief Justice Order allows for a court’s presiding judge to allow for hearings and trial if the judge hearing the case, after consulting with the parties and other affected persons, believes there is a need for in-person court action. For a 24-Hour notice of termination, landlords may petition the judge to move the case forward under that provision of the Chief Justice Order, but the decision to move forward ultimately belongs to the judge.
If a crime is being committed, contact your local law enforcement.
The COVID-19 situation is changing on a daily basis. These answers are our best interpretation of the state’s precautions as of March 27, 2020. Please check these websites to monitor changes:
Legal Editor: Steven Crawford, March 2020.