When Governor Kate Brown called a special session, she stated part of her reason was to address issues with the rental market. Anyone that manages property in Oregon finds attention from the Governor’s office rather worrisome; it is never a good thing.
What is Senate Bill 891?
SB 891 eliminated the 60-90 day waiting period. It used to be, once the renter applied for assistance, the landlord/management was required to wait 60 or 90 days before initiating or continuing an action for possession. Now, once you receive proof, you are required to wait until one of the following occurs:
- Renter’s application is no longer pending, either approved and payment issued or application rejected;
- Housing provided has received rental assistance or any other payment covering the amount owed on a notice; or
- September 30th, 2022, when the bill expires.
There is nothing government loves more than kicking the can down the road. And yet again, this bill does nothing more than delay the inevitable end. The “emergency” will end – it has to eventually – forcing the legislature to deal with the fallout. It can only be delayed so long.
As is becoming frighteningly common, there was no public testimony. The bill was introduced on the 13th of December, passed the senate and the house that same day, and was signed by the governor the very next day. Thanks to the overused emergency clause, it went into effect upon signing.
There was some news from the extension that wasn’t entirely bad. The compensation fund and process have been fraught with errors, both human and technical. A few of them were addressed.
Notices to Renters and Housing Provider
Finally, landlords and management will know what is going on. Before, we would receive proof from the tenant of applying for assistance. And nothing else. For months, we were in the dark. Was the tenant approved, denied? We never heard. In some cases, we heard back in the form of a check arriving. In most cases, we heard nothing.
Now, if applications are denied or closed without payment, OHSC will provide a dated notice of denial or closure. The notice will be sent to any known address or email address.
A silver lining in every cloud – that is how we are taught to look at it. At Empire, we have a different view. The outside of this cloud is dark, and inside there is a great deal of irritation and minor annoyances, but for landlords and management companies, there is a lot of silver there as well.
Rent prices are going nowhere but up. Inventory is going down, decreasing every time the legislature tries to “help” the market with more restrictions. For property management companies, these bills are extremely good for business; landlords need us to make sense of them. For landlords, these bills drive away the competition and limit where potential renters can go for housing.
The team here at Empire wishes you all the best this joyous season. In the words of one of this writer’s favorite Christmas tunes, “may your days be merry and bright.” Merry Christmas, and as always, Happy Landlording.