A federal eviction moratorium issued by the Administration (via the Center for Disease Control (CDC) takes effect on September 4, 2020 and lasts through December 31, 2020. The moratorium prohibits terminations of tenancies for nonpayment of rent and other charges and fees. Unlike the Oregon eviction moratorium the federal moratorium does not prohibit terminations for reasons other than nonpayment of rent or other charges and fees. Unlike the Oregon eviction moratorium the federal moratorium requires a tenant to declare hardship and other qualifying factors under penalty of perjury. Penalties for violating the federal ban are steep—up to $250,000 and/or one year in prison.
Landlords with questions about their obligations under state and federal law should consult with an attorney prior to taking any action to terminate a tenancy.
Summary Table: Oregon Eviction Ban (HB 4312) and Federal Eviction Ban (CDC)
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to follow the Oregon law, the federal law or both?
In short, both. You should follow whichever law is stricter/more tenant-protective on the issue in question. More the most part, that will be the Oregon law through September 30 and the federal law after September 30, assuming that the Oregon law is not extended.
Can I Issue a “No Cause” Termination Under the Federal Ban?
The federal ban does not speak directly to no cause evictions but does state that it does not prevent evictions for reasons other than nonpayment. However, given the substantial penalties landlords should tread carefully. If and when no cause evictions are allowed again under Oregon law (October 1, for tenancies that are still within the first year or that were within the first year during the Emergency Period, assuming no extension of the Oregon eviction ban) landlords should consult with an attorney before issuing a no cause notice. If a landlord were to issue a no cause notice, it would need to be clear that it was not pretextual for a nonpayment termination.
Are “For Cause” Terminations Allowed?
Yes. Under both the Oregon and federal ban, landlords can evict for tenant-cause or material violations of the lease agreement if the tenant-cause or violation was not nonpayment of rent or other charges. However, “qualifying landlord reason” terminations (demolition, conversion, remodeling, landlord or family member moving in) are not allowed under Oregon law except for sale of home to a person moving in as a primary residence.
Under the federal ban can I terminate a tenancy for failure to pay rent that came due prior to the beginning of the covered period?
No. Under the federal ban landlords cannot evict for nonpayment during the covered period regardless of when the rent came due.
Tenant failed to pay March 2020 rent
Landlord allowed to terminate under Oregon moratorium, but not federal moratorium. Landlord must now wait until after December 31, 2020 to terminate because of federal moratorium.
Tenant failed to pay rent for a month between and including April – September 2020
Landlord not allowed to terminate under Oregon law until March 31, 2020 (end of the grace period).
Tenant fails to pay rent for a month between and including October – December
Landlord would have been able to terminate under Oregon law but now cannot terminate under federal moratorium until after December 31, 2020.
Tenant fails to pay rent for a month after December 2020
Landlord can terminate under both Oregon and federal moratorium.
Disclaimer: This is not legal advice. For legal advice seek your own attorney.