Evictions halted, but concerns of paying rent remain

Coronavirus

Evictions have been suspended statewide for 3 months and 6 months within Multnomah County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In a matter of days, it will be the first of the month, but this time countless people in the Portland metro area are wondering how they are going to pay rent.

Currently, there is a statewide ban on evictions due to the coronavirus outbreak. But what happens when the COVID-19 crisis ends? Some people said they are worried they won’t be able to pay back the rent that accrues under the eviction moratorium.

Deborah Kafoury, Multnomah County Chair March 13, 2020 (KOIN)

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and her team have been working to slow the spread of the virus and protect people from the economic havoc it has wreaked.

“We started here in Multnomah County, but it’s now a state law,” said Kafoury.

KOIN 6 News reported last Tuesday when the county announced a six-month ban on evictions. A week later, Governor Kate Brown followed suit and made evictions illegal across the state for the next three months. So, what do you need to know if you are one of the countless people who can’t pay rent this upcoming month because of the coronavirus outbreak?

Kafoury said first, people should notify their landlords as soon as possible. Residents will likely need to provide proof that the virus has impacted their paychecks.

“You could have a paystub that has [fewer] dollars than it did last month,” said Kafoury. “You could have a note from your employer–if you have a document that says you’ve been let go, you’ve been laid off, your hours have been reduced.”

If you are still concerned about eviction, Kafoury said you can get in touch with her office, but she reminded the public that right now, there are several layers protecting renters during this time.

“The courts have also put a hiatus on doing any evictions,” said Kafoury. “Our sheriff in Multnomah County has said he is not going to enforce an eviction notice.”

The current rule said once the crisis passes, renters will have six months to pay back rent they deferred, but some people are concerned that they will accumulate so much debt that the grace period won’t be enough time.

“Things are changing so quickly that decisions made last week might be changed. At some point, I wouldn’t be surprised if we come back and say, ‘you know, actually people have a year to pay back their rent,'” said Kafoury.

In an effort to make answers to questions accessible, the county has created a Frequently Asked Questions page:

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