Real Estate Show Oregon Landlord Tenant Updates with Tia Politi

Real Estate Show - Landlord Tenant Updates with Tia Politi

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Real Estate Show Tia Politi

Alice Lema: [00:00:00] Well, hey, Southern Oregon, welcome back to the Real Estate Show. So glad you could join us again today. I'm Alice Lema. I'm a broker here in beautiful southern Oregon with John Scott Real Estate and your host of The Real Estate Show Today. We're so excited to welcome back Tia Politi. She's the owner of Rental Housing Support Services llc, but she's also the active president of the Oregon Rental Housing Association. And the Rental Owner's Association of Lane County.

We affectionately call her the walking, talking encyclopedia of all things landlord tenancy in Southern Oregon. And she comes on the show every so often to bring us up to speed on what's going on. So the reason it's so important that you listen to every second of this interview is she's gonna touch base on some of the waning deadlines. We have deadlines coming in State of Oregon, Landlord tenancy coming at the end of this month, and also some new [00:01:00] interesting things happening with rent increases and just what it's like to be a landlord or a tenant here in Oregon in general.

So even if you're not a landlord or a tenant, you wanna listen to this because I promise you, you know, landlords and tenants and there's an awful lot of information out there in the world, especially when it comes to Oregon Law and Practice. So please stay tuned. We're gonna talk to Tia Politi Rental Housing Support Services, and also president of the Oregon Rental Housing Association.

Before we jump into speaking with Tia Politi let's take two quick seconds and talk about what's going on with our local stats. So currently this week, and we're doing week to week now, residential single family residents looking for the micro trends. Our Jackson County listing inventory is 5% higher than it was this time last year. Josephine County listing inventory is 8% higher than this time last year, and Klamath is [00:02:00] showing a slight decline this week. They are down 6% in listings from this time last year.

But let's jump ahead to closings and price cuz that's what's on everybody's mind. Jackson County is down 2% in closings this week from last year. Josephine County is down 9% in closings from this time last year. And Klamath is down 4% in closing from this time last year.

But fear not, the prices are up. I know it's odd, but Jackson County is up 5% from this time last year. Josephine County up 6%, and Klamath County up 10%. So we continue to have the dichotomy of prices up, even though a completely chaotic, volatile world and listings down. So if you wanna sell your house, now's a good time.

In the meantime, let's take a quick break and talk to Tia Politi Rental Housing Support Services. We'll be right back. Do not touch that dial.

Well, welcome back everybody to the [00:03:00] Real Estate Show. So glad you could join us Again. We're speaking with Tia Politi today. So glad to have you back. Tia, can you just remind the listeners a little about who you are and your background?

Tia Politi: Thank you Alice. I always love doing your show. You just, I don't know why, but I always feel so comfortable doing this with you. And normally I'm not very comfortable doing video stuff, but my name is Tia Politi. I'm the president of the Oregon Rental Housing Association and the President of the Rental Owners Association of Lane County.

I own and operate rental Housing Support Services, llc. I provide consultation, education and eviction services to landlords. I'm also, I also staff five landlord help lines around the state, including Portland, Ontario, COOs Bay, Lynn Benton, and Lane County Chapters. So I, I wear a lot of hats in the housing industry.

I know a lot of stuff, but I'm not an attorney. I can't give you legal advice. But I can kind of tell you what's been going on lately. Yeah. What do you wanna know Alice?

Alice Lema: So, where do you wanna start? Cuz there's a lot to talk about.

Tia Politi: Well, I [00:04:00] think the most important thing that your listeners need to remember is that September 30th is the end of the safe harbor period. If I can take you back a bit of time ago, the legislature enacted a bill that provided a safe harbor period of up to 60 days for residents even after the the moratorium supposedly ended to give them time to access rent assistance. And unfortunately nobody asked me, or I would've said, 60 days, Are you kidding? The government can't get anything done in 60 days. I don't know what you people are thinking. And then some local jurisdictions ended up extending it to 90 days. And this was all by the way, based on the representations of the former head of the Oregon Housing and Community Services Division, Margaret Salazar, who has been rewarded for her incompetence by getting a position in the Biden administration.

So now my head's ready to pop right off. I was, I was super kind of disgruntled by the fact that she made this representation to the legislature and then not only was she not able to follow through, she was not able to follow [00:05:00] through by a wide margin. So we are still hearing stories of landlords whose tenants showed proof of written proof of rental assistance many, many months ago.

In my case one tenant went back as far as January and I have heard nothing, absolutely nothing from the from, from the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program. We're coming up here now on how many days do we have left? Nine days. I think I can do basic math before we, landlords are gonna be able to sort of swarm onto the Oregon landlord guarantee program.

So when that, that that law was passed, It was, it was temporary and had a sunset of September 30th. So when it was passed, what they did was they said, okay, we put $10 million in a Fed for fund for landlords. That fund will be available if the safe harbor period expires for whatever reason, and the tenant has not paid the rent.

So I assume there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of landlords just like me, who on October 1st are gonna be hitting that website hard. For those of [00:06:00] you who don't know about it, you need to, in your search bar, type in Landlord Guarantee program home forward. So Home Forward is the housing agency up in Portland, and they are the ones who are administering the program.

I have talked to several of my members around the state who have accessed the funds through that site, and it's been very straight forward and, and relatively simple and easy to accomplish. But what I'm, what I'm concerned about is on October 1st, when all of us who haven't been paid are swarming that site, I imagine the site might shut down.

I don't know what is going on, but, but I, I can't believe that they are still so far behind. I think there's landlords who, whose tenant supplied even well before mine, who still haven't gotten their money or any decision. We are seeing, starting to see some denials come through. So I guess what I wanna remind landlords of is kind of what this this is about.

So this this law extended and requires us through September 30th for any notice of nonpayment of rent, we have to serve a 10 day [00:07:00] notice instead of a 72 hour notice, or a 13 day notice instead of a 144 hour notice for nonpayment of rent. We also have to include a special form called an important notice about your rights to protection from eviction.

And the form tells them that if they had applied for rent assistance on or before June 30th, that they're protected from eviction. Why we have to keep serving that form is absolutely baffling to me because I think all it's doing is confusing renters. Going, Oh, I can still apply and be protected. Oh yeah, no you can't.

No, you can't. And then we're also seeing tenants who are applying with crazy stuff like, hey, here's my GoFundMe application, here's my emergency loan application. And I'm like, that doesn't get them the safe harbor period. Only applying to the state agency or another agency that is in receipt of federal funds for rent assistance qualifies.

So basically the safe harbor period for renters, the ability to ask for that safe harbor began July 1st, 2021, and it ended June 30th of this year. And it said that if a, if a tenant [00:08:00] provide their landlord with written proof of their application for rent assistance, that they were entitled to a safe harbor period through the earlier of the date, the landlord regains possession of the dwelling unit, the date that a court awards a judgment for possession in eviction court. The date that the tenant's application is declared no longer pending or denied, or September 30th. So so basically for people like me, I have two renters who have enjoyed the benefits of the safe harbor. I don't know if I should wait and see if it comes through or not, but I'm not gonna wait.

I, I want my money and so on October 1st, I'm an early riser, so try to beat me. I'll be up at 4:30 at my computer applying for this. I've gotta show a home that I have got written proof of their application for rent assistance. So I have to be ready with that. I'm gonna have to submit a W-9

I'm gonna have to give them all of the rent, utilities, and other eligible charges that are owing, and hopefully I'm gonna get paid. And then I imagine, at least for one of my renters, I might end up getting [00:09:00] the actual funding from the rent assistance agency. And then I'm gonna have to return it, or I don't know what.

It's gonna be a bit of a mess. So I advise those of you who are also early risers, join me in, in getting a, an early start on October 1st for applying for those funds. And then we'll see. I'm hoping the 10 million will be sufficient, and if it's not, maybe they'll be able to pull back some of the funding that that was given to these community associations to help fund the landlord applications.

Alice Lema: Wow. What a mass. Gosh. So do we know in the state of Oregon how many landlords have been waiting all this time?

Tia Politi: No. But again, I expect it's hundreds if not thousands.

Alice Lema: Yeah. Yeah. It's been a difficult,

Tia Politi: But then what landlords, then what landlords need to know is October 1st, our, our notices go back to normal 72 hour notice for nonpayment of rent. So, I'm fortunate in that my renters both let me know, or both applied for rent assistance before their next month's rent was even [00:10:00] due. But many landlords are in a position where they're, their, their tenant only applied because they forced them to by serving a notice. So once they got the safe harbor period, many landlords are owed many more months of rent than I am.

And, and so what's gonna have to happen? The guaranteed program is only going to reimburse you for the safe harbor period. Not anything before and not anything after. So if you hit October 1st, go apply to the landlord guarantee program. Or remember, you have to have been given written evidence of your application. And then I want you to go back and calculate what the tenant owes you before they showed you that written proof. And by the way, it's not from the date they applied, it's from the date they showed you written evidence and what they owe after that. So starting in October, we're back to 72 hour notices.

My attorney has recommended to me that if we're going for a whole bunch of back rent, that isn't that protected debt for the safe harbor period, that we, instead of serving a 72 hour notice, we serve what's [00:11:00] called a notice of termination with cause, giving the tenant the two week cure period or their tendency terminates in 30 days. And I know we're running out of time for this segment. There are landlords who need to be aware of the Cares Act.

So the CARES Act is a federal law. Let me find my information on this. Here it is. So, for rental owners who hold a federally backed mortgage, the CARES Act is still in place and prohibits termination for non-payment of rent with less than 30 days notice. So that means a property that's subsidized with federal funds, which most, most landlords aren't, aren't A Fannie Mayor Freddie Mac loan also qualifies, which you may have.

And even one section eight voucher holder in a multiunit complex, the entire property is subject to that section 40 24 of the CARES Act. Which is that you cannot, yes, you cannot terminate for nonpayment on anything less than a 30 day notice. So the attorneys are recommending that a landlord serve a 30 30 for that debt.

So I call a notice of termination [00:12:00] with cause a 30 14, it's a, it's a 30 day notice of termination with a 14 day right to cure. But in this case, the landlord would extend the cure period for a full 30 days to allow for payment prior to being able to file for eviction. So that's a little unusual. If you have any questions about that, call your local landlord association.

You're down there in Southern Oregon. You've got two associations close by there. One is the Southern Oregon Rental Owner's Association, and then the other is the Southern, the Rental Owner's Association of Southwestern Oregon, which is closer to the coast.

Alice Lema: Wow. Well, you know, we lovingly call you the walking encyclopedia of all things landlord tenant, and it's just so fun to have you on because you are a brainiac in this department and what a complex situation.

So in addition to the state rules for landlords coming out of this protected time, we also have federal rules.

Tia Politi: Correct. And we have no idea if for when the Biden administration is going to end the Cares Act. And that's [00:13:00] been a little extra complicating factor. Interestingly enough, though, I'm not seeing it happen in eviction court. I don't even know, most landlords aren't aware of it, and I don't even, I don't think a lot of attorneys are aware of it. . It's just one of, Yeah. And I do hold a lot of specialized knowledge in this one field, Right. know a lot, know a little about a lot and a lot about one thing. Right?

Alice Lema: Yeah. So. Well, and you know, the pandemic went on so long I think a lot of people forgot that this was still in place. So remind us of the deadline again here. We just have a couple minutes before our first break.

Tia Politi: September 30th is the deadline where if you have not received funding, if your tenant had showed you written proof of your, their application for rent assistance, that's the deadline that where if you aren't paid, you can go to apply to the landlord guarantee program being administered by Home Forward to be reimbursed, but only for the safe harbor period.

So you need to serve a follow up notice to the renter. I have several court cases that are being reheard. We're going back to court in early October to report on, on the [00:14:00] tenant's application. So and, and where that court case is at. So that's gonna be really interesting as well. The courts are gonna be a bit of a mess October 1st and after, I know my local courthouse is extending first appearances out cause they're just being so jammed with cases every.

It's been quite a challenge for them to keep up with everything as well, especially being short staffed during the pandemic.

Alice Lema: Yeah. I cannot imagine. And then procedurally it's super complicated, but it's super important that the procedures be followed to the t.

Tia Politi: That's correct. Yeah. You don't wanna mess that up and, and lose in eviction court only to have to start over again. So contact an eviction specialist or an attorney to assist you through that and remember that your renter is responsible for reimbursing you for those costs that you've incurred due to their non payment.

Alice Lema: Yeah, I bet a lot of landlords don't know that. . So when we were talking earlier, you mentioned that you were on a trip. Were you going up to Salem to work on some landlord tenant law?

Tia Politi: Actually, this last weekend I was in Bend, we had our [00:15:00] annual Bend meeting for the Oregon Rental Housing Association. We meet four times a year in person, two times a year online. And our Bend meeting is where we have our leadership dinner and it's a, it's a much sort of bigger event than, than many of our meetings.

We had a good time and we got a lot of great work done.

Alice Lema: Oh, good, good, good.

Tia Politi: Doing really well, and we're here to support you. We've got a lobbyist, we've got legislative directors. We're all trying to push for you to have the best possible outcome in Salem.

Alice Lema: Well, and we're gonna wanna hear more about that. We're talking with Tia Politi lovingly called the Walking Encyclopedia, Landlord Tenant stuff. She is the owner of the Rental Housing Support Services LLC and has quite, quite a long list of experience. And we'll be right back talking to Tia. Don't touch that dial.

Well, welcome back everybody to the Real Estate Show. Alice Lema here. I'm a broker at John L. Scott having a great conversation. One of my favorite people, Tia Politi [00:16:00] from Rental Housing Support Services, llc, and there's so much to talk about. We were just spending the last segment talking about the deadlines coming up for the CARES Act and the state of Oregon September 30th.

Great. Great deadlines to keep track of. What else has changed or is looming in the state of Oregon landlord tenant world.

Tia Politi: Well certainly you know, it's interesting during the pandemic, as I said previously, I, I staff five landlord help lines around the state, so I'm taking calls from landlords every day. That's, that's one of my main sources of income. And for two and a half years I've been what I what I call talking people off the ledge. Don't jump, hang in there. And throughout this time it's, it's made my job incredibly challenging and yet I'm a positive person. I'm one of those optimistic glass half full people.

And a couple of months ago, I was asking myself like where's the, where's the silver lining in this cloud of the pandemic for us? You [00:17:00] know, so many landlords have lost so much money been just spit on by their renters, like, where's our silver lining? And all of a sudden the light bulb went on and it occurred to me, here's what our silver lining was.

We had the Triple Democrat majority and in Salem, and they could have squashed us like a bug, but Covid distracted them from squashing us and, and implementing even worse regulations by trying to keep people housed. So never ever has how you voted been more important than this November. If housing providers don't catch a break we're gonna see a lot more onerous restrictions. They wanna do away with no cause. They want to require us to have, to allow childcare businesses to be run in our homes with incredible liability concerns. And a ton more wear and tear. There's so many different things they would like to do. You may have heard recently that the new rate of inflation figures came out, and for 2023, landlords can raise their rent a maximum of [00:18:00] 14.6%. Which everyone's going, Oh my word that's crazy.

Well before the only limit was what the market would bear. Now, most of us don't raise our rent that much, but for landlords whose, whose properties and rents are substantially below the market, they're gonna be wanting to take advantage of this and they should.

I've, I've run into situations where a landlord has purchased a property and the rent is ridiculously low. You know, $800 for a three bedroom house, right? I mean, so far below the market, like you can't even get a one bedroom apartment for $800 anymore. And, and yet they, the, the only thing they could do is raise the rent every year. And they would call me and say, hey, the tenant says they're willing to, they understand they're that much below market and they're willing to pay another $500 a month.

We can't do that. Even with the tenant's agreement, the tenants may not waive their rights under the law. So this is a really unfortunate thing that the legislators have set up. The tenant's like, but we don't wanna move. We [00:19:00] know we're gonna pay that much somewhere else. Why are you making us move? Because legally a landlord cannot issue notice of rent increase for more than what the statutory rent cap that they implemented allows. And, and basically if a landlord tries to do that, they, they could be guilty of what's called unconscionability. And Unconscionability is a doctrine in law that basically states that that there are terms of a contract that are so unbalanced, so unfair to one side or the other, you know, that to, to one party that they're unconscionable and an unconscionable agreement is unenforceable.

So, you know, there's really, it's been a nightmare for renters who've had to move because the landlord's like, I can't do what you want me to do legally and be safe. And, and so that was one of those unforeseen consequences of Senate Bill 6 0 8 and the cap on rent increases is it's really hurt renters. And it's also hurt renters because now landlords are, they're gonna take it down. I know they are. I've gotta max out my rent increases while I [00:20:00] can. Because, you know, they're gonna make it from 7% to 2% and, and, you know, not the rate of inflation.

We don't know what they have in store for us. But what they've done is they've tried to manipulate the market and anytime the government tries to interfere in business, right, the law of supply and demand, there are unintended consequences that hurt the very people that they're trying to protect.

And that's really what we're seeing and it's super unfortunate. You know, it also sort of displays itself in our land use laws. I, I grew up in California. I'll admit it. No, no throwing rotten tomatoes at me.

Alice Lema: But we all did.

Tia Politi: I lived in Oregon since 1983. I married a native Oregonian. I gave birth to two native Oregonians , and I vote no on every sales tax, so you can't be mad at me. I love Oregon. And so now I consider myself a native Oregonian. But you know where was I going with that? So, you know, where I grew up. Moving here, I'm still not finding the connection I was trying to make there.

Alice Lema: Well, we were talking [00:21:00] about how unfortunate it is and the adverse effects all these laws when Oregon was trying to protect the tenants. And now it's creating even more of a shortage cuz people just don't want to be landlords.

Tia Politi: It is, And actually that's another thing we've seen is, is flight. Landlords are, are selling their units in Oregon and they're buying up in the more red states, Idaho, Florida, Texas, and Arizona. We're seeing a lot of that, a lot of landlords getting out of the business.

But interestingly enough, what we're also seeing are the new investors coming in. You know, for them this is the way it's always been. But, but for, you know, for legislatures, legislators putting artificial cap on free market. Oh, that's where I was going with it. It was the idea of sprawl. So I grew up in Southern California in my young years, and then I was in Northern California in high school, and that's what I saw was the sprawl.

And so none of us wants to, to recreate California here in Oregon. Right. We don't want the sprawl. And, and so there needs to be, I understand reasonable [00:22:00] limits on property development, so we don't end up in that same, you know, we need to preserve our resource land, et cetera. But I was super encouraged by something that the legislature did in the last legislative session where they allowed an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) on, you know, cities had to provide for and ADU on each single family lot within the urban growth boundary.

And I think that's gone done a little bit to help ease the housing shortage. But what I'd really like to see now is for the legislator legislature to take that one step and allow an ADU on every property inside or outside of the urban growth boundary. So my husband and I live on 36 acres.

We're on a property right now that has two houses on it. So we wouldn't probably qualify anyway for an extra unit, but we have other places that could qualify for an extra unit that, you know, I worry about our children, how are they gonna be able to, to find a place to live? How are they gonna to purchase a home.

Home prices are incredibly high and, and I, you know, while inflation has [00:23:00] started to moderate the sales, it's still not, not our, our mom and dad's Oregon, where, where people can afford to buy a reasonable home. You know, on a reasonable salary. I had the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom for 20 years. My husband was able to support a family of four on a log trucker salary, and we were able to buy a house and, and do all of that.

And that's, not what our kids are gonna face at all. And so the way we address these high prices is through increased supply. I learned that in economics 1 0 1 at lcc supply and demand.

And when governments try to get into the process of interfering with that market, then they end up hurting the very people they're trying to help. And that's what's happened. All of these new regulations that came about because of Senate Bill 6 0 8 have done absolutely nothing but hurt renters. And we've seen a minimum 14% decrease in single family home rentals in Portland due to their, what I call the UNFAIR Act.

And they call the [00:24:00] FAIR Act. It's made being a landlord in Portland, a nightmare, and Portland rents have sky rocketed. Remember people, businesses don't pay taxes. They pass them on to the customer. Yeah. So anytime you think you're voting for something, Oh, I'm not gonna pay that tax. It's gonna be paid for by this big corporation. No, it's not. That's what Bill Burrows taught me at lcc. It's gonna be paid by the customer because the business has to make money. And so all of these regulations are only serving to increase rent and make it much more challenging for renters with poor history to get into a place. Right before, we could take a chance on someone, you know, really, I've turned my life around. Okay. I'll take a chance on you.

And, and right now we still have the first year where we can give a 30 day no cause notice. But what it's resulted in is marginal applicants having no chance at all. And the more they head down this road, the harder it's going to be for those folks. And all they think about as a solution is let's make it tougher for landlords to say no to marginal [00:25:00] applicants, which then makes people go, why am I in this business at all?

Alice Lema: Well, that's what they say. Yep. Yeah.

Tia Politi: Well, let me say there's a lot of good reasons to be in this business. My husband and I both grew up in poverty. We, you know, he had a, he was a farm guy. My family, we were always renters. I, my mom was a single mom for most of my growing up years, and we, you know, never owned our own home.

Rental housing ownership has enabled my husband and I to build. We only have, you know, four rentals, but we have some acreage and timber land. But, but over the years we've worked and worked. We've scrimped and saved. We've paid down our loans. We've done without, and we're gonna be able to have a reasonable retirement because of if you, if you have a good rental property and a good rent in that property, it's a dream job.

So, you know, just because there's bad things happening, remember, it is still a great way to build financial stability and generational wealth over time. It's not a get rich quick scheme but it is a get financially stable [00:26:00] eventually thing.

And that's what our goal was. And I think that's the goal of a lot of landlords. What can I do to make sure that, you know, I mean, I'm at the tail end of the baby boom generation. There's not gonna be any social security left by the time I get there probably. But you know, what can we do to stabilize our retirement and then have something to pass on to our children to make their lives better?

And I think that is, that's the motivation for a lot of landlords. And and while a lot of people have this vision of a landlord as being this person who, you know, has a silver spoon and has been given everything, that's not the majority of our demographic. No. The majority of our demographic is mom and pops who own one to four rental units who have worked full-time jobs while managing their units. Which my husband and I both did.

He was finally able to retire at the end of last year. So we were excited. That's about that. Yeah. But, but yeah, it's, it's definitely still a good thing to do, but you gotta know what you're doing. You've got to know this as a business. It has laws, it has rules, and if you are gonna be a landlord, you either need, should hire a [00:27:00] property manager who knows what they're doing, or you should join a local association and get educated.

So through all of our local chapters, we offer classes that help educate landlords. We offer a law, a law book, and a forms manual to try to help folks who are trying to build this financial stability keep going in a positive way and not get ripped off, right. And, and not get hammered by, by renters who know more about the law than you.

Alice Lema: Well, and there's a lot of misinformation out on both sides, so it really helps to go to those classes. And they're very affordable and the other landlords are very supportive and they really are regular, ordinary folks that basically worked two jobs. They're landlording business and their job. And providing good housing is a very fulfilling and wonderful thing. And the fact that it helps the landlord gain some wealth building and financial security, I think is good for the community as well. Yeah. I'm with you Tia.

We're talking to Tia Politi. We're talking about all [00:28:00] the things that are changing and not changing in the state of Oregon, Landlord tenant law. We're gonna have to take a quick break, but we will be right back. We wanna say thank you to our sponsors. We're brought to you by John Scott, ashland and Medford. We're brought to you by the local Rogue Valley Association of Realtors, and we're also brought to you by Guy Giles of Churchill Mortgage.

This broadcast will be repeated tomorrow, Sunday at six o'clock, so you definitely wanna tune in again and listen to everything Tia Politi has to say. She makes a lot of sense and and she's just fun to talk to, so we'll be right.

Well, hey everybody. Welcome back to the Real Estate Show. We're here with Tia Politi and we just have so much to talk about. Tia, what, what do you wanna talk about next?

Tia Politi: Well, I'd like to remind everyone that we have been able to charge late fees since July 1st, 2021. I still do get that question. And, and that has created a problem for a lot of [00:29:00] landlords. There's a provision in landlord tenant law called waiver.

And waiver is when a landlord accepts behavior outside the bounds of the rental agreement for three separate rental periods or longer. A lot of landlords got confused because the laws were ever changing. Still weren't aware that they had the right to charge a late fee. And so if the tenants were late, if you didn't enforce your late fee provision for three months, you're gonna have to cure that waiver.

And my attorney has taught me that you can cure that waiver with a 30 day notice of change in terms saying, hey, I haven't, you know, I haven't been enforcing the late fee. But this is your notification that beginning, November 1st. I, you know, the, the original term fee.

Alice Lema: Oh, so you can go back and do that. That's good.

Tia Politi: You can, yeah, you can cure, you can cure certain types of waiver. You can't cure every waiver, but there are a lot of them you can cure and a late fee is one of them. Another thing that has really messed a lot of landlords up is during the pandemic, the, you know, House Bill 42 13 House Bill, 44 0 1. We were, we were allowed to accept partial payment and not create waiver. [00:30:00] Now that changed March 1st of this year, you could no longer accept partial payments. Another huge change that happened March 1st of this year was in regards to what's called the application of tenant payments, and that's covered under ORs 90.220.

And basically it says, regardless of how a payment is designated by the tenant, the landlord must or shall, not, must, shall apply payments as follows. So typically those are to past due rent then to current rent. Then to utility or service charges, then late rent charges, and finally to any, anything else the tenant might owe. During the pandemic period what I call the protected period from April 1st, 2020 through February 28th, 2022, the landlord had, they switched that.

So any payments received by the tenant first had to be applied to current. Then to past due rent. So what's happened now is a lot of landlords have ledgers that are all messed up. You've applied your payments improperly, and so maybe you've [00:31:00] accepted a partial payment for your current month because honestly, anything received March one or later had to be applied to past due rent, thereby making the tenant still in arrears for the current.

And I don't know if a lot of landlords are aware of that and it's, it's one of those weird, complicated little things that came up and. You may need to go back and rework your ledgers. You may have created waiver in regards to how much rent you're gonna accept during the month and when that rent is due.

So again, 90.412 waiver. When you accept behavior by the tenant outside the bounds of the rental agreement, you rewrite your rental agreement. So if you've been applying payments since March to current rent, you're wrong. And you've created waiver in regards to how much rent is due and when it's due potentially.

Like every situation is different. You should consult with your local rental owner's association or an attorney to see whether you have or not. And then again, you can cure that waiver. My attorney tells me by issuing a 30 day [00:32:00] notice of change in terms that we're going to revert back to the original terms and conditions, no more partial payments will be accepted. Late fees will be charged. Whatever waiver you've created in regards to finances, I believe can be cured.

Alice Lema: Can you, so that you know. I just wanna ask one quick question before you go on. A lot of landlords don't know that they're not supposed to take partial payments. Can you take three quick seconds and just explain why it's important not to do that? Cuz in the old days that's what we did cuz we were trying to help, right? So I didn't understand the details.

Tia Politi: Alice, every bad story I have heard during the pandemic has started with one of two phrases. I was trying to be nice or I felt sorry for them. Oh, stop it. You're running a business, not a charity, , right? I imagine all of you volunteer and donate to charity already. You don't have to do it with your rental business as well. But Alice is right. Partial payments are a huge issue for landlords. The law says, and that's in 90.414 and four [00:33:00] six, I believe, or four eight. There's a whole little section on waiver in landlord tenant law.

But basically, if a landlord accepts a partial payment and doesn't return it within 10 days by first class mail or personal delivery, you waive your rights to terminate for the remainder that's owed until the month is completely over. Do that long enough and now you're basically telling the tenant you can pay me whatever you want throughout the month, as long as it's good by the end of the month, we're good. And that's not the message you wanna send, and I know that's not what you intended to do. It does say that the landlord can accept payments in less than full month increments, and there's a way to do that, but I don't recommend that at all.

Right. Full rent and full rent only. Before I know we just have a few minutes. And, and I wanted to touch on a couple of things. So, while the legislature was extremely busy you know, prohibiting us from evicting people or making them pay their rent, two, two measures did pass in the 2021 and 2022 sessions.

So one law that passed has now that landlords need to be excruciatingly aware of is, you are not [00:34:00] allowed to deny an applicant based on protected debt that accrued during the protected period. So debt owed to former landlord from April 1st, 2020 through February 28th, 2022. You can't deny an applicant because they still owe their landlord money.

Yes, you can still get a rental reference from that landlord and, and if the, the money owed is related to damage, that, you know, that's a good reason. Well, you know, you damaged the property, so it's not based on the money that owed. It's based on the fact that they damaged the property.

Alice Lema: Oh, that's interesting.

Tia Politi: Also, it is. And that law also prohibits us from denying an applicant based on an eviction that occurred during the protected period, regardless of the reason for the eviction. My head just wanted to pop right off when they were talking about that. I'm like, even a, an eviction for substantial harm or damage or outrageous conduct. We can't count that against them. No, you. No, you can't, but you can still get a reference from that landlord. So just be aware of that in screening because you can get in big trouble for denying somebody [00:35:00] based on that.

And also, remember, you can always deny an applicant for an inability to verify the information. So if that prior landlord reference won't talk to you, you can deny for that. The other permanent law change was the right to cooling Bill, Senate bill 1530. And it says that a landlord may not prohibit a tenant from installing a portable cooling device. So this was based on that horrible heat wave we had a little over a year ago where many people died.

And, and so the, the state issued that bill saying a landlord cannot unreasonably restrict it. We have a new form for that. It's called air conditioner notification. You are allowed to restrict what type of device your tenant uses. It has to be done safely, it can't damage the property, et cetera, et cetera. So read that form. It's form 70 I believe. And, and so all you need to do is send that to your renters, letting 'em know under what circumstances they, they can have a portable cooling device. And then they also, this is something your, your listener should be aware of and I'm excited about it for my rentals, the state is putting together a program that is gonna help [00:36:00] subsidize landlord to put in ductless heat pumps and upgrade their heating and cooling systems to provide air conditioning. That is really nice. We don't know what it looks like yet. We haven't seen the program rules. They're still working on, on developing those. But I'm excited cuz I've, I've got, you know, two units I'd love to install a ductless heat pump in and another where my furnace is going to be on the fritz at any time. It was put in 96, so I know it's not gonna last a lot longer.

What I'd love to do is give my tenant a heat pump, but that those cost about 10 grand, so I need a little financial help. So just know that that's coming.

Alice Lema: Well, that's lovely that there's finally something coming to the landlord's help that's feeling a little more fair. Yeah. So Tia Politi, President Oregon Rental Housing Association, also the owner of Rental Housing Support Services, llc. How do people get a hold of you in the 10 seconds we have left.

Tia Politi: My email address is my name, [email protected]. T I A P O L I T I please don't try to call me.

Alice Lema: Yeah, just [00:37:00] email. So thanks.

Tia Politi: I'm on the phone too much. You'll never get me.

Alice Lema: We'll have you back again. Thanks, Tia. Have a beautiful weekend folks. Bye.

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