We are calling on the Oregon State Legislature to take urgent action , to provide relief for Oregonians who rent their homes. We need measures that alleviate the devastating financial burden facing many low-income and working-class renters, who have lost some or all of their income due to COVID-19. Under the state’s current eviction moratorium tenants will be held accountable for all of their back rent when the Executive Order is lifted on June 30th.
This is unacceptable. Already too many Oregonians are cost-burdened by their rent. Facing added cumulative debt means either eviction and houselessness, turning to predatory lenders, or going without essentials that many are already struggling to afford. This is not a time when the most vulnerable should be concerned about their basic human needs. Instead, public assistance should be provided to qualified landlords who can demonstrate mortgage payment and operating cost deficits from unpaid rent. Federal money coming to Oregon should be distributed in this manner, based on demonstrated landlord need, not to subsidize profits.
After we called for #AprilAmnesty, Portland City Council signed a letter supporting forgiveness of residential and commercial rents. New York State’s proposed Senate Bill 8139 stipulates that any renter who has lost income or been forced to close their business as a result of the COVID-19 emergency shall pay only thirty percent of their current income or their rent, whichever is less. New Jersey is considering similar legislation. We urgently need large-scale action at the state level:
- Forgive rents to provide financial relief for impacted Oregonians
- Freeze rents to prevent increases for the duration of the emergency, and for three months following.
- Multifamily NW has requested rental assistance from federal emergency assistance funds. A landlord that has lost rental income may apply for financial assistance directly from this fund, based on demonstrated financial need.
In addition, we are calling for anti-harassment legislation, which would allow tenants to pursue private legal remedy if they are harassed or threatened by landlords attempting to circumvent these protections and take advantage of the situation.
Organizing Committee of Portland Tenants United
Portland Metro People’s Coalition
Oregon Poor People’s Campaign
Mark Nerys - PCP HD 27/36 - Multnomah County Democrats
Chloe Eudaly - Portland City Commissioner
Jewish Voice for Peace