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Rental Owners Association

Lane County

March President's Message

March 01, 2021 12:58 PM | Anonymous

The system for rent assistance available as part of HB 4401 is off and running with Oregon Housing & Community Services (OHCS) overseeing the distribution of rent assistance resources from the state:  https://www.oregon.gov/ohcs/housing-assistance/Pages/landlord-compensation-fund.aspx. The website contains instructions and an FAQ, as well as a copy of the webinar presentation conducted in February.

The fund will pay out 80% of past due rents, with the housing provider (HP) agreeing to forgive the other 20%. Property owners may not access the fund for renters who are part of their immediate family as defined in ORS 90.427. OHCS has created a point system that will prioritize smaller property owners with the highest balances. HPs may reapply every month during the open application process.

To apply for rent assistance, housing providers (HPs) must fill out an application available on the website in mid-February, as well as provide:

  • A W-9 for each ownership entity
  • A spreadsheet listing all the HP’s rental units within each ownership entity, including the units where rent is current, and the renters contact info only for the units with unpaid rent.
  • A signed Declaration of Financial Hardship by at least one lawful tenant from each household the HP is seeking assistance for. The form is available on the Lane ROA website:  www.laneroa.com. Similar forms are also available on the OHCS website, the ORHA website, the OJD website and the Oregon Law Center website. If the renter will not communicate or sign the declaration willingly, the HP may serve 10-day notice for non-payment of current rent but must include a copy of the Notice of Eviction Protection and the Declaration of Financial Hardship. If the renter provides the signed form at any time, up to and including the first appearance in eviction court, they get the full grace period through June 30, 2021 to pay back moneys owed. It will either result in a successful eviction or give the HP the declaration they need from an uncooperative renter to seek rent assistance through OHCS. HPs can continue to submit monthly requests until funds run out.

During the pendency of the application the HP agrees not to serve a notice of termination without cause, including for any of the four Qualifying Landlord Reasons (demolish or convert the unit to another use; property owner or immediate family member need to occupy the unit as their primary residence; renovation of the unit that will render the unit unsafe or unfit for occupancy; accepted offer to purchase property from buyer who will occupy as their primary residence). Remember that all first-year notices to terminate without cause – including no-cause AND non-renewal of lease – are prohibited until July 1, 2021. If HP receives rent funds intended to cover any part of the distribution amount, they are obligated to repay those to the state.

There is a lot we still don’t know. How long will it take to get funds distributed? Will there be additional funding through this program? Will renters have to pay taxes on the forgiven 20%? Possibly, unless they are insolvent. HP’s should be prepared to send a 1099 C – Cancellation of Debt to the renter by January 31, 2022 in accordance with tax laws – www.irs.gov. Cancellation of debt reporting:  https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc431. Cancelled debt taxation laws:  https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4681.pdf

Property owners are not required to participate in this program and may not want to as other federal funding will be distributed to community service organizations that have been helping qualified renters all along by paying 100% of the past-due rent. $25 billion from the past administration stimulus to the states for rent assistance, and likely the same amount from the current administration’s proposed stimulus.

Senate Bill 330, if passed, will allow qualified HP’s to receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for rent forgiven during the emergency period (April 1, 2020-June 30, 2021). This could be a significant piece of solving the non-payment problem. The current iteration of the bill states, “The credit allowed under this section shall equal the total amount of items of non-payment originally due during the emergency period, and owed by tenants to the landlord at the close of the tax year…” indicating that it will allow the credit to be applied to moneys owed other than rent. Remember, though, bills can change and morph as they go through the legislative process and the bill may not pass at all. Thank you for responding when we issue a call to action regarding specific legislation. Stay tuned for more as we navigate this long legislative session.
    

I will be teaching Landlord Boot Camp BASIC TRAINING webinar classes this month.  The original class (a full day) has been divided into FOUR 2-hour webinar sessions. As you register and complete each session, a recorded copy of the class will be emailed to you once it’s over.  Please register at www.laneroa.com for each session separately, and for all of you that register, you are eligible to receive the Landlord Boot Camp Manual for only $15 – incredible reference material.  Non-registrants can order and purchase the Boot Camp Manual before the last class has taken place for $40.  Don’t miss out!

Rental Owners Association
4217 Main St Unit E
Springfield OR 97478
541-485-7368

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