Apartments in downtown Salem (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
A grace period to pay back rent that piled up during the early months of the Covid pandemic ended Tuesday, but tenants still have options to avoid eviction.
A 2021 law gave renters until Feb. 28 to pay any back rent accrued between April 2020 and June 2021. As long as renters stayed current on their rent – or applied for rental assistance through a state portal or community organizations – landlords couldn’t evict tenants over rent they didn’t pay during those 14 months.
Pandemic rent assistance programs will cover up to a year of back rent and utility payments and up to three months of future rent and utility payments. There’s no cap on the dollar amount an individual can receive.
Tuesday’s deadline means that landlords can begin eviction proceedings for tenants who owe back rent from April 2020 to June 2021. However, anyone who applied for rental assistance and is waiting for their application to process is protected from eviction until their application is approved or denied under a law approved in December.
People who owe back rent and haven’t applied for rent assistance can still do so, and they’ll also be protected from eviction as long as they show their landlord proof of their application. They can apply through a statewide online portal and call 2-1-1 or visit www.211info.org for more information about local resources.
The state reopened its applications for rental assistance in January and received just over 11,000 requests for more than $125 million. Tenants can continue to request aid until June 30 or until the money runs out. Lawmakers added $100 million to the program in December.
-Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle