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Oregon Commercial Rent Relief Program

March 3, 2021

Overview

From the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregon has sought to avoid a tsunami of evictions of both residential and commercial tenants. The tool employed most frequently is to suspend tenants’ obligation to pay rent. This has resulted in landlords having to bear a large burden, as many have gone without rent for close to a full year. Seeking to address the financial impacts to landlords, recently, the Oregon Legislative Emergency Board allocated $100 million to fund the Commercial Rent Relief Program, which is designed to provide grants to landlords to help cover base rent for tenants in default from March 1, 2020, to February 28, 2021. Under the Program, a landlord is entitled to up to $100,000 per tenant, with a maximum of $3 million per landlord.

The Program is set to begin accepting applications on March 8, 2021. Applications are to be made through the Business Oregon website portal. Eligible landlords are those with one or more tenants who meet the following requirements in that the tenant:

  • is in arrears for delinquent lease payments between March 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021, and the tenant and landlord agree to the amount of arrears;
  • is a for-profit business;
  • leases property in the state of Oregon for its business use;
  • is headquartered in Oregon;
  • employs 100 or fewer employees per leased location as of February 28, 2021;
  • is actively registered to do business in Oregon;
  • is compliant with all federal, state, and local laws;
  • is not a publicly traded company; and
  • is open for business or intends to reopen for business when restrictions are lifted at the leased location.

Tenants that previously received CARES Act funding for arts organizations, cultural and community venues, and community colleges; tenants that were past due on lease payment prior to March 1, 2020; and tenants using the property for any residential purpose are all ineligible.

Ineligible landlords are those who are past due on federal, state, or local taxes as of December 31, 2019, and/or are publicly traded companies.

Landlords must collaborate with tenants to provide business information and eligibility certifications as part of the application and will be required to waive any rights to collect outstanding penalties or interest, or enforce eviction clauses related to the delinquent lease payments between March 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021. Landlords must also agree to not evict the tenant for six months from March 1, 2021, to August 31, 2021, for nonpayment. 

Funding will be issued in two rounds. Applications for round one open Monday, March 8 and will remain open for two weeks. Grants will then be awarded through a random lottery process with no preference give to those who apply earlier in the two week period. If selected, landlords will receive a check by mail and the tenant will receive a credit for the amount of the grant payment against their lease arrearages. Applications not selected in round one will automatically carry over to round two, which opens in April.

This article summarizes aspects of the law; it does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice for your situation, you should contact an attorney. If you have questions on whether you or your tenant qualifies for the program, please contact Patrick Cleary at 503- 796-2853 or email at pcleary@schwabe.com.

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