For immediate release: Friday, Jan. 29, 2021
Multnomah County is urging renters who are unable to pay rent to sign the State of Oregon’s declaration of financial hardship form in order to qualify for protection from eviction.
Renters must sign the form and submit it to their landlord in order to be covered by the moratorium's protections starting on Feb. 1, 2021. Once a qualified renter has given the signed form to their landlord, the landlord cannot file, threaten to file or complete an eviction against them for nonpayment until June 30, 2021. Renters can submit the form by handing a copy to their landlord, or by sending it in the mail, or by email or text message.
To be protected, tenants must affirm in the sworn declaration that they are unable to pay their rent because of financial hardship occurring on or after March 16, 2020 due to one or more of the following conditions:
Loss of household income
Loss of work or wages
Increased medical expenses
Increased child care responsibilities or responsibilities to care for a person with a disability or a person who is elderly, injured, or sick
Increased costs for child care or caring for a person with a disability or a person who is elderly, injured, or sick
Other circumstances that have reduced income or increased expenses
Renters do not have to provide proof of their inability to pay.
The form can be downloaded at multco.us/covid-eviction; it is also available in multiple languages. Paper copies of the form are also available at any Multnomah County Library site. Those needing the form should follow signs to the “Holds Pick Up” area outside and let a librarian know they need a declaration form. No appointments are needed.
Renters will have until July 1, 2021, to pay back the money they owe. All options are on the table for the Board of County Commissioners to take additional action to protect renters beyond that date, including an extension of the moratorium and the repayment grace period.
At the outset of the pandemic, Multnomah County acted to protect tenants by passing a moratorium on residential evictions, the first such action by a jurisdiction in Oregon. Gov. Kate Brown soon followed by issuing a statewide eviction moratorium with several provisions that differed from the County’s. The Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously in April to suspend enforcement of the County’s moratorium in favor of adopting the statewide order.
Throughout the year, it appeared there could be gaps in protection as the state legislature considered extensions of their moratorium. Multnomah County stepped back in with local stop-gap measures to ensure residents remained protected, and defaulted to state guidelines each time the legislature voted to continue statewide protections.
“Keeping a roof over people’s heads throughout this crisis is a moral and public health imperative, but moratoriums can only do so much,” Chair Deborah Kafoury said. “We are going to need a New Deal-like response from the federal government to help both renters and landlords stabilize, recover and move forward once this emergency ends."
For legal advice, renters are urged to contact the Community Alliance of Tenants or Legal Aid Services of Oregon. More information about the moratorium, including frequently asked questions, is available here. In the coming weeks, Multnomah County will continue to work with its partners to ensure all tenants who can’t pay their rent remain protected from eviction due to pandemic-related hardship.