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City Council Approves Eviction Protections for Renters in Hillsboro
Residential and commercial renters will still be required to pay any rent money owed, but they will not be evicted during this emergency for reasons related to COVID-19.
The Hillsboro City Council approved new protections for residential and commercial renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic during a special meeting on Wednesday, March 25.
The Council voted unanimously to approve a temporary moratorium order that prevents residential and commercial tenants from being evicted because of nonpayment of rent, late charges, utility charges, or any other service charges or fees due to wage loss or loss of business income resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The eviction protections will continue throughout the City of Hillsboro’s emergency declaration, which was first officially declared on the morning of Friday, March 13. The moratorium also prevents the charge or collection of late fees for rent payments that are delayed due to COVID-19 income loss.
Renters are still required to pay any rent money owed, but renters will not be evicted if they are unable to pay rent for reasons related to COVID-19 and renters would have additional time to pay. Evictions can still take place for reasons unrelated to COVID-19.
A public health crisis, an economic crisis
Many City of Hillsboro residents have lost their jobs or seen a decrease in income during the public health effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Local businesses have also suffered a severe decline in business, which has brought staff layoffs, cancellations, closures, and the inability to make commercial lease payments. The overall impact on the City’s economic health, as well as the increased burden on the City’s ability to provide public services during this state of emergency due to vacant commercial properties, creates a significant danger to both life and property in the City.
The Hillsboro City Council’s consideration follows Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s declaration this past weekend of a temporary moratorium on residential tenant evictions for 90 days that prohibits law enforcement from serving, delivering, or acting on evictions due to nonpayment.
How renters can qualify
To qualify for the eviction protection, affected tenants would need to:
Demonstrate substantial loss of income. Acceptable documentation includes, but is not limited to, proof of: loss of employment, reduction of wages, the need for care of family members, including children who have been kept out of school, illness, and lower gross receipts or closures due to government-imposed restrictions.
Notify their landlords on or before the day that rent is due that they are unable to pay rent, fees, or charges due to substantial wage loss or loss of business income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Repayment of rent
Tenants are still liable for unpaid rent, charges, or fees, but they will have six months after the expiration of the emergency declaration to pay the landlord unpaid rents that qualified to be deferred under this moratorium — without penalty or late fees. This includes utility charges paid directly to the landlord. After six months has passed, tenants may be evicted for unpaid rents, charges, and fees.
The moratorium applies only to tenants who 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.
If a landlord fails to comply with this moratorium, the tenant has an affirmative defense in an eviction proceeding. In addition, the landlord may be subject to a fine of $500 for each day that a tenant is unable to access their residential or commercial unit due to an eviction taken in violation of this order.
Tenants may also seek protection from the courts by seeking an injunction to stop an eviction prohibited by the moratorium.