Please understand the below lines as your starting point of your research on how to recover most of the rent owed due to the pandemic using the Landlord Compensation Fund. This text offers general suggestions only and is no substitute for professional legal counsel. For professional legal counsel, please consult an attorney for advice related to your specific situation.
The Covid-19 pandemic has put a lot of strain on tenants and landlords alike. Due to job loss or other complications caused by the current world situation, some tenants experience difficulties to pay rent. In order to keep these renters housed during the pandemic, there has been a number of federal, state and local moratoria issued on evictions for nonpayment of rent. One of the laws currently in place in Oregon – HB4401 – extends this eviction moratorium until June 30th, 2021 and establishes a Landlord Compensation Fund to alleviate stress for landlords not receiving the rent money they count on.
Oregon Landlord Compensation Fund Overview
The law allocates $200M in rent assistance to support tenants and landlords, $150M out of that amount for the Landlord Compensation Fund. The most significant condition for drawing is that the landlords must forgive 20% of the owed rent forever. They will receive 80% of the owed amount from the fund. Money from it will be distributed through multiple rounds and in the first round the Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) committed $50M in help to struggling landlords. The deadline for submitting applications in Round 1 was on March 5th, but the users of the online application portal experienced multiple glitches and the system didn’t work properly to accept all eligible applicants. The OHCS ultimately resorted to a plan B “questionnaire” approach, and declared that applications submitted in this temporary way would be also considered in the first round.
The second round will open in April, and will also be funded with $50M. Below is an outline of the steps that you should follow if you would like to be considered for compensation.
How to File a Compensation Claim
First, provide your tenants with a notice of past due rent along with a Notice of Eviction Protection and Declaration of Financial Hardship. This is extremely important, as if you don’t provide these documents along with your notice of past due rent, you will be acting against the law. Ask your tenants to fill out the Declaration and submit it back to you. They can send you the document almost in any form – even a texted photo of it is ok.
Second, create an account at lcf.oregon.gov, fill out information about the property, tenant, upload your W9, and rent roll describing all units and current debt (this must be done in a specific prescribed format). If your tenants continue not paying rent past the period when you applied for the assistance, you will be able to amend your application in the next rounds.
Third, upload the signed Declaration of Financial Hardship for each tenant, confirm the amount owed and submit for review. OHCS will review your application, rate it and if you qualify, disburse the funds to you. I hope this provides you with some initial guidance on how to recover most of the rent owed due to the pandemic. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us.
Owner of LongStreet Property Management