Multnomah County/City of Portland COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium | FAQ

Executive rule imposes a moratorium on residential evictions in Multnomah County and the City of Portland on the basis of nonpayment of rent due to wage loss resulting from COVID-19. View Frequently Asked Questions on this page.

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This reference will be updated as more information becomes available.
Last updated on April 3, 2020

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What is Executive Rule 388?

On March 11, 2020, the Multnomah County Chair signed Executive Rule No. 388 declaring an emergency for the entire County to address the continued spread of the COVID-19 illness, loss of life, an extreme public health risk, and significant economic impact in the region.

In order to avoid the creation of an additional economic and public health emergency that would result from subjecting more households to homelessness as a result of the economic impacts of COVID-19 and to encourage residents to comply with closures, the County is protecting residents from the fear of potential eviction due to economic dislocation. 

Effective immediately, a temporary moratorium is imposed on all residential evictions in Multnomah County for tenants on the basis of nonpayment of rent due to wage loss resulting from COVID-19.

View Multnomah County's FAQ, as well as other resources on the County's information page:

Multnomah County COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium


What is the City of Portland Ordinance 189890?

Consistent with the Mayor’s previously issued Executive Order No. 1, this ordinance clarifies that the eviction moratorium outlined in Multnomah County Executive Rule No. 388 will extend to all rental properties within the legal limits of Portland, including those in Washington and Clackamas Counties.

Document

How long is the moratorium in place?

These temporary measures shall remain in effect for the duration of the declaration of emergency. As conditions change, the Portland Housing Bureau will update their website as soon as possible. 


What circumstances qualify for rent deferral?

If a tenant has substantial loss of income resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and notifies their landlord on or before the day that rent is due that they cannot make such a payment, they qualify for rent deferral under this moratorium. 

Additionally, the residential rental property needs to be within the legal limits of City of Portland or Multnomah County. Verify jurisdiction information by searching for a property on PortlandMaps.com


If I am a tenant and cannot pay my rent, what do I need to do?

To establish eligibility for this moratorium, affected tenants must:

  1. Demonstrate substantial loss of income, through documentation or other objectively verifiable means, due to job loss, reduction in work hours, business closure, school or daycare closure causing missed work to care for a minor child, missed work to care for self or a family member that was ill, or similar causes of lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic;

    AND
     
  2. Notify their landlords on or before the day that rent is due that they are unable to pay rent due to substantial loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legal Aid Services of Oregon has created a sample letter. Click here to view.

Información en español escrito por Legal Aid Service of Oregon: Coronavirus COVID-19: Protecciones de Emergencia para Inquilinos


What type of documentation is needed from a tenant to claim rent deferral due to COVID-19?

The tenant needs to demonstrate through documentation or other objectively verifiable means that they have experienced a substantial loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The following documents are presumed to meet that documentation requirement: 

  • Letter from employer citing COVID-19 as a reason for reduced work hours or termination; 
  • Letters from clients or customers citing COVID-19 as a reason for reducing or cancelling purchase orders, requests for services-for-hire, or other profit generating contracts;  
  • Letter from a school or other government issued documentation declaring a school closure related to COVID-19; or  
  • Letter from a medical doctor recommending rest at home, self-quarantine, hospitalization, or similar measures for the Affected Tenant or a family member. 

Is rent forgiven during this time?

Nothing in the moratorium relieves tenants of liability for unpaid rent, however, a landlord may not seek an eviction for non-payment of rent if the circumstances qualify for this moratorium.  The tenant has six months after expiration of the emergency to pay the landlord unpaid rents that qualified under this moratorium to be deferred. 


Are utilities included in this deferral?

If the tenant pays any other fees, service or utility charges directly to the landlord (not directly to a third-party provider), they qualify for deferral under this moratorium.  The process for deferral and timelines for payment are the same as rent. 

If a tenant pays fees, service or utility charges directly to a third-party provider and cannot make these payments due to a substantial loss of income related to COVID-19, we encourage you to reach out directly to those service providers to discuss your options and see the information below. 


Does the moratorium protect residents from utility service interruptions due to nonpayment?  

The moratorium does not directly protect residents from utility service interruptions due to nonpayment. However, the Portland Water Bureau stated that it will not disconnect water service for non-payment of sewer, stormwater and water bills during the declaration of emergency. Likewise, Pacific Power, Portland General Electric (PGE) and Northwest Natural have temporarily suspended service disconnections for nonpayment and will extend their services without late fees. 


When does a tenant need to pay the past due rent or other charges?

Tenants must pay within 6 months after expiration of the emergency. 

A landlord may not seek to recover rent, fees, utilities or service charges that are delayed for reasons of this moratorium through the eviction process. 


Can Iate fees be charged on the past due rent?

No late fee may be charged or collected for rent that is deferred for the reasons stated in the moratorium. 


Will there be financial relief for renters and homeowners once the moratorium is lifted and the six-month grace period for back payment begins?

The City and Multnomah County are assessing all options to provide assistance to renters and homeowners once the moratorium is lifted and the six-month period to pay the deferred rent amount begins. But, first, we are taking these immediate steps to keep people housed in the midst of this outbreak and limit the spread of the disease.  

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has enacted a 60-day suspension on all foreclosures and evictions for single-family homes with FHA-insured mortgages. Contact your loan servicer for more information if your property has a FHA-insured mortgage. 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days.  Multifamily borrowers may have additional options. Please contact your loan servicer to discuss your options.

The federal disaster relief, CARES Act, includes a 120-day moratorium on evictions, late fees and other penalties, starting on March 27.  This moratorium  applies to all properties with a federally insured mortgage. It is important to understand the details of this provision.

We encourage all landlords and homeowners experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to call their loan servicer.  Private financial institutions may have their own relief programs during this crisis. 


Will there be financial relief or support available to landlords who do not receive rental payment from their tenants?  

We understand that landlords depend on their tenants’ rent to pay for their mortgages, property taxes and repairs of their properties. The City and Multnomah County are assessing all options to provide assistance to landlords during and after the moratorium.

Please note that City of Portland and Multnomah County have deferred 2019 business income tax payments, including the Residential Rental Program fee.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has enacted a 60-day suspension on all foreclosures and evictions for single-family homes with FHA-insured mortgages. Contact your loan servicer for more information if your property has a FHA-insured mortgage. 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days.  Multifamily borrowers may have additional options. Please contact your loan servicer to discuss your options. 

The federal disaster relief, CARES Act, includes a 120-day moratorium on evictions, late fees and other penalties, starting on March 27.  This moratorium  applies to all properties with a federally insured mortgage. It is important to understand the details of this provision.

We encourage all landlords experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to call their loan servicer.  Private financial institutions may have their own relief programs during this crisis.


What about evictions for causes other than non-payment of rent?

Per Multnomah County Circuit Court, all landlord-tenant hearings and trials will be postponed until at least April 30th.  

The Multnomah County and City of Portland moratorium on terminations applies only to tenants that are affected by COVID-19 and cannot pay rent, fees, services or utilities normally paid to their landlord because of their substantial loss of income during this emergency. The moratorium does not apply to evictions for any other lawful purpose.  For terminations without a tenant-based cause, see the next question.


What about no-cause terminations or terminating with a qualifying landlord reason?

With Executive Order 20-13, the State of Oregon has prohibited landlords of residential properties from taking any action, judicial or otherwise, for reasons of non-payment or any termination without cause under ORS 90.427.  Review the Executive Order here and contact a legal professional with any questions about your specific situation.  This order is in effect for 90 days, effective April 1, 2020.


What if a writ was already issued?

Upon demonstration that executing a writ will cause a person to be without housing, writs of execution or actions in furtherance of residential evictions for nonpayment of rent or mortgage payments will not be enforced during the state of emergency. 


Will evictions for mortgage foreclosure be impacted?

Yes. In addition to the moratorium, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office has committed to not enforcing currently scheduled writs if it will cause a person to be without housing during the state of emergency 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has enacted a 60-day suspension on all foreclosures and evictions for single-family homes with FHA-insured mortgages. Contact your loan servicer for more information if your property has a FHA-insured mortgage. 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days.  Multifamily borrowers may have additional options. Please contact your loan servicer to discuss your options. 

We encourage all property owners experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to call their loan servicer.  Private financial institutions may have their own relief programs during this crisis. 


What if a landlord doesn’t comply?

If a landlord fails to comply with this moratorium, the tenant has an affirmative defense to eviction. 

Any landlord that fails to comply with this moratorium may be subject to civil proceedings for displacement of affected tenant(s) and members of affected tenant(s) household, initiated by the County, an affected tenant, or an evicted member of the affected tenant’s household for damages. 

A landlord that fails to comply with any of the requirements of the moratorium shall be subject to appropriate injunctive relief, and shall be liable to the tenant for an amount up to 3 times the monthly rent as well as actual damages, reasonable attorney fees, and costs. 

Nothing within the moratorium interferes with the right of a landlord to file an action against a tenant or non-tenant third party for the damages done to said landlord’s property. Nothing within the moratorium is intended to limit the damages recovered.


Video Interview with Frequently Asked Questions

In a video interview, Shannon Callahan, Director of the Portland Housing Bureau, answers frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium on KATU 2 (Tuesday, March 31, 2020).

Watch the video


Download translations of the FAQ

The following translations are available for download:

Chinese (Simplified)

摩特诺玛县/波特兰市 COVID-19 驱逐暂停令

Romanian

Multnomah County/City of Portland COVID-19 Moratoriu pentru Sistarea Temporară a Evacuărilor

Russian

Округ Малтнома/Город Портленд COVID-19 Мораторий На Выселение

Somali

Degmada Multnomah / Magaalada Portland COVID-19 Joojinta go’aan Ka Saaridda

Spanish

Condado Multnomah/Ciudad de Portland Moratoria para desalojos forzosos por COVID-19

Ukranian

Округ Мултнома / місто Портленд Мораторій на виселення внаслідок COVID-19

Vietnamese

Lệnh Cấm Trục Xuất trong COVID-19 của Quận Multnomah/Thành phố Portland