COVID-19 FAQ for Property Owners
What exactly are our restrictions during the emergency Executive Order?
Simply put, while Executive Order 20-13 is in place, landlords may not:
- For reasons of nonpayment (rent, utility charges, or any other service charge or fee), terminate any tenant’s rental agreement, or take any action relating to eviction.
- This includes filing, serving, delivering, or acting on any notice or order of termination; or otherwise interfering in any way with such tenant’s right to possession.
- Charge tenants any late fee or penalties arising from nonpayment.
- Serve any notice of termination that is not “for cause.”
- “For cause” essentially means a cause by the tenant: material violation of the lease (except for nonpayment). If a tenant violates a lease by having an unauthorized pet as an example, we can end the rental agreement.
- This does mean that if a landlord wishes to end a tenancy for qualifying reasons such as the lease is over and the tenancy is less than 1 year, or you and/or a family member is moving back in, you are unable to do so at this time.
What are the tenant’s restrictions or requirements?
All rent will still be charged as normal and will be due. The tenant’s obligation to pay rent or other fees due does not go away.
The Executive Order specifically states that if they will be unable to pay the full rent when due tenants “shall notify the landlord as soon as reasonably possible; and shall make partial payments to the extent the tenant is financially able to do so.” The term ‘reasonably possible’ or ‘to the extent the tenant is financially able to do so’ is unfortunately vague and ultimately unenforceable.
Does this mean that tenants do not have to prove that COVID-19 has caused them to be unable to pay rent?
Yes. We must presume that the nonpayment is related to income loss due to COVID-19.
What is Real Property Management Solutions doing to recover rent?
While staying within the requirements of Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order 20-13, we are requesting the tenants provide us with a Hardship Request. We are also asking tenants to provide us with as much information as possible regarding their hardship, and to enter into a Forbearance Agreement. However, we cannot require that a tenant provide us with a Hardship Request or any information regarding their Hardship; we also cannot require that a tenant enter into a Forbearance Agreement.
Forbearance Agreements can range from no payment and no plan to repay in the near future, to a scheduled payment plan with payments beginning immediately. We are working with all tenants to ensure they understand the importance of paying their rent, and the ramifications in a few months if payment plans or payment in full is not made.
Any payment plan in a Forbearance Agreement is not legally enforceable. We see three benefits of a Forbearance Agreement:
- Documentation purposes for you to provide to your mortgage lender
- Documentation purposes for our records to assist in enforcing payment as much as we are able
- Most tenants will follow the agreement regardless of it’s enforceability and will spend the next few months financially planning around the agreement they made
What if I don’t or am unable receive a Forbearance Agreement for my property?
For the properties and units that have not received rent, we have been sending out emails that contain enough information for a mortgage company to see that rent hasn’t been paid and for them to consider deferment of your mortgage payment or other relief they may be providing. We are still tracking all tenants who have not made payment and will be enforcing all payments to the extent that we are able.
What kind of communication can you and the tenant expect from Real Property Management Solutions?
If the tenant submits payment you and the tenant can expect no extra communication described below. You as an owner will receive your Owner Draw and Statements as normal.
If a tenant has submitted a Hardship Request, you will be notified right away and we will begin the Forbearance Agreement process described above. This process between RPMS and the tenant can take a number of days, and you as an owner will be updated as the situation progresses or changes, ultimately receiving a copy of the Forbearance Agreement if the tenant agrees to sign into one. In addition, you and the tenant will receive the communication described below.
If a tenant has not submitted payment or a Hardship Request, they will be contacted weekly at a minimum. This communication will be in the form of reminders to pay rent, explanations of the importance to pay rent, requests for more information on their rent payment status, and ledger balance reminders so they know exactly what charges are accruing and due. Affected property owners will be updated twice throughout the month at a minimum. Once when you would normally receive your Owner Draw, and again the following week. These updates will be related to the tenant’s nonpayment of rent only. Other communication involving legislative updates and changes in Executive Orders will be in the form of an email or video format that is customized to and timed for that specific situation.
I assume that most tenants who can not pay rent are also getting Unemployment Insurance, a government stimulus check, or other assistance. Can they use that to pay rent?
While the government stimulus checks have gone out to citizens, there are some who do not have direct deposit with the IRS who still have not received their paper check. Additionally, while some individuals have received Unemployment Insurance, there are many who have not. Regardless, source of income is a protected class in the State of Oregon and the act of asking any tenant their specific occupation, where their money has come from, or even whether they have received the stimulus check or Unemployment Insurance would be a violation of Fair Housing rules.