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C.O. landlords struggle to manage properties as tenants unable to pay rent

(Update: Adding video, comments from property manager)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ )-- With many people out of work and unable to pay rent, and a statewide moratorium on evictions in place, some smaller Central Oregon landlords are struggling to pick up the slack and carry the financial burden of managing their rental properties.

According to a monthly survey from Multifamily Northwest, 9.3% of Central Oregonians were unable to pay their rent in August.

Ken Schriver, president of the Rental Housing Alliance Oregon, said Tuesday they are used to seeing single-digit numbers for tenants unable to make rent, but the pandemic has drastically affected those numbers.

"The small landlords end up with a disproportionate impact," Schriver said. "Many of our members own a single rental property, 60 percent of our members own four or fewer. That might be a four-plex, or it could be two single family homes, or a duplex.

"Typically, a member is retired and has taken their savings and invested that in a home, because that provides them with regular monthly income."

Schriver said the frustrations now come from the burden of the missing rent being placed entirely on the landlords, when tenants are unable to pay.

"It's not just rent, it's also utilities, maintenance and taxes," Schriver said.

The survey from Mutlifamily Northwest also shows that in August, fewer Oregonians were able to pay their rent, in comparison to the months of May and June.

Schriver said more tenants are now able to make rent, especially since many have returned to work, but there are also individual cases where tenants abuse the system, and the landlords cannot do anything about it.

Lisa Berg, owner and property manager for Mt. Bachelor Property Management, said they've been able to work with tenants through this difficult time.

Berg said some tenants did need financial assistance, and even paid late at certain times throughout the pandemic. She said some even had to relocate to other places, but it's the responsibility of the landlord to stay educated and work with their tenants.

"As a landlord, it's your job to make sure that you're educated and you know the laws," Berg said. "It's also really important that you're able to work with people when they're in need. I would say that's the biggest thing, stay up on the laws and the current moratoriums."

Berg said the main concern Central Oregon is having is the lack of available housing for people moving into the area.

On Monday, Gov. Kate Brown extended foreclosure protections for homeowners or business owners until Dec. 31. She also said she's continuing discussions about options surrounding a moratorium on rental property evictions, set to expire Sept. 30.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.


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