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With Oregon eviction moratorium set to end, C.O. lawyers see high demand for help

As lawmakers rush to provide relief, landlords, tenants seek answers, guidance

(Update: Adding video, comments from Bend lawyers, Oregon State Bar)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The rental eviction moratorium is scheduled to end June 30 in Oregon, unless lawmakers intervene, and Central Oregon lawyers say they are receiving a large number calls from both tenants and landlords, trying to determine what steps to take. in an unprecedented situation. 

Paul Heatherman has been an attorney in Bend since 1995, and the number of calls he's received since Gov. Brown announced June 11 that the June 30 deadline would stand is a first.

"Never, never nothing like this,” Heatherman said. "I’ve been very busy with landlord tenants, especially compared to the past 20 years. It's definitely a noticeable difference."

Starting July 1, all Oregonians renting a house or an apartment must pay their rent for the current month, or face eviction, unless they seek rental assistance. 

Oregonians could not be evicted due to nonpayment of rent from April 2020 to June of this year.

Tenants still have until february 28, 2022 to pay back any rent owed during the moratorium.

With the rent rules changing, and lawmakers trying to solve the related issues, people are searching for legal clarification.

Heatherman said he's received most of his calls from landlords. 

"They want to know those distinctions and what action they can take, because in many cases unpaid rent has been going on for a year and a half,” Heatherman said.

However, Katery Walsh, communications director with the Oregon State Bar says it's affecting everyone.

"Both landlords and tenants are really scrambling to figure out how to comply with the law, even as it's changing, seemingly hourly,” Walsh said. 

Hourly is right. 

Thursday afternoon, the Oregon House passed SB 278, which that would delay eviction by 60 days for renters who can prove they've applied for assistance. The state Senate still has to approve changes. 

Walsh said the Oregon State Bar normally has 60  lawyers taking calls in their lawyer referral service for landlord-tenant issues, but with the moratorium ending, "we're literally down to one in the entire state right now that is accepting calls."

Walsh recommends for anyone that is searching for legal assistance or clarification, to visit this site, and click the "public" tab.

For low income Oregonians, she recommends the Legal Aid site here.

Jenny Rae Foreman, another independent attorney in Bend, says she's seen an increase in interest, but is not able to help everyone.

"Well unfortunately, I do charge for consultations, so sometimes tenants can't afford the consultation,” Foreman said. 

Heatherman said a normal rent schedule had to resume eventually. 

"You know, at some point, it was inevitable they're going to have to start paying, so that part is happening, which is a good thing.?

But Foreman fears with the rising price of rent, something else is inevitable.

"So we're probably going to see a lot more evictions, based on non-payment of rent,” Foreman said.

Central Oregon / Crime And Courts / Government-politics / Local News / News / Real Estate / Top Stories
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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.

Comments

24 Comments

    1. No. Conservatives work for a living and pay their bills on time. WE don’t go on the dole
      You, on the other hand, should probably be worried.

        1. If you take out the 97% listed for medicare recipients and programs that have $$ taken out of your income ( which is not a subsidy… I paid into that system by working ) its more like 80% democrats. You need to comprehend what you read… start with “see spot run” and go from there. Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment insurance. all paid for by people willing to work

      1. The key is deciding which government benefits are for real Americans, and which are only for godless socialists. Then you just have to explain why those in the first group are ok.

  1. How many had the means to pay their rent but chose not to knowing full well they would not be evicted? The “unemployment” pay was extremely generous and in many cases more then the pay at a job of an entry level position. And how long will it be until Kate Brown declares another emergency and makes the eviction moratoria permanent?

    1. WHAAAAAT, is that what all of that extra money was for? Somebody should have said something.
      Once again the taxpayers will be left to bail out the stupidity, of Government, and those that rely on the Government “taxpayer” to survive.
      These are the people who would parish on a island, with box’s full of caned food, because there was no can opener.

  2. “Kates Kids” will be screaming when they get evicted. I wonder how many will have a temper tantrum and destroy things before leaving, you know, a “peaceful protest” of being held accountable for their debts. I have no doubt momma kate will back the freeloaders up some way or the next, like debt forgiveness.

  3. Looks like the only ones making money on this will be the lawyers. Speaking of which…Lawyers are not cheap. They should spend that money on their rent.

    1. I am a little surprised about all the lawyering up. It would seem that neither broke tenants nor landlords who have missed a year+ of rent could afford a lawyer. Some landlords rely on the cash flow from the rent.

  4. So that’s why they are building permanent homeless camps. Build it, they will come. This was all by design. Change my mind. PLANdemicrats for the win.

  5. Plenty of we are hiring signs across Central Oregon, so paying rent on July 1st should not be an issue. Anticipate a number of long term rentals flipping to short term rentals starting August 1 as evictions takes place.

  6. So the attorney says this:

    “Well unfortunately, I do charge for consultations, so sometimes tenants can’t afford the consultation,” Foreman said.

    What on earth does this mean? Is she supposed to work for free? Presumably she’s got to pay her own rent so she doesn’t get evicted.

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