Facing deportation? Know Your Rights, Says Oregon Law Center’s Eviction Defense Project

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Oregon’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program reopened last week and began accepting applications, and state officials say there are enough funds to last about three weeks. With the portal reopening even for a short time, it is important that any tenant with rent debt or facing rent instability apply as soon as possible to OregonRentalAssistance.org.

Additionally, the Oregon Law Center’s Eviction Defense Project says that in this time of changing tenant protections, it’s important for tenants to know their rights, take action if they receive an eviction notice, and call them immediately if their case comes to court.

“In the time of Covid, tenant protections have evolved to try to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic. It can be difficult to keep up with the changes. We want everyone to know that in Oregon, no one should be evicted for non-payment of rent when there are new safe harbor extensions and rental assistance available,” says Becky Straus, Chief Counsel of the Oregon Law Center’s Eviction Defense Project. “Unfortunately we see a lot of people in court who shouldn’t be there because they didn’t know about the protections or how to get help.”

Here’s the Deportation Defense Project’s guide to what to do to stop deportation:

  • If you have proof of an assistance request, show it to your landlord. If you have previously applied for rent assistance through a state, local, federal, or private funded program and have shown proof of application to your landlord, under SB 891 passed in December, you are protected from eviction for non-payment of rent for at least as long as your rental assistance application is pending. Before December, this protection only lasted 60 days.
  • Make a request for help if you haven’t already and show it to your landlord. If you owe back rent or current rent, apply immediately if you haven’t already and send your landlord proof of the application. You will be protected from non-payment of eviction rent as long as the application is pending.
  • How to deal with unpaid rent since the first wave of the pandemic: The grace period ends this month but, if you apply for rental assistance, you are protected. Before the launch of Oregon’s emergency rental assistance program, lawmakers gave tenants a grace period to repay rent accrued during the first wave of the pandemic. The grace period for this unpaid rent (everything accrued from April 2020 to June 2021) ends February 28, 2022. But if you apply for rent assistance, you cannot be evicted while your request.

What to do if you receive an eviction notice:

  • If you have already received a court summons for a later date, it is not too late. Act now. The Eviction Defense Project has attorneys who can advise or represent you in court for free. Call 888-585-9638 or visit OregonLawCenter.org with your case number and hearing date handy. Don’t wait to call. The eviction court moves quickly.
  • If you receive a letter from the Eviction Defense Project, open it. The IT team is also working proactively to ensure people know they have access to representation by sending letters to anyone who has had an eviction filed against them in court.. If you receive such a letter, respond immediately as the eviction court moves quickly.

The Eviction Defense Project was launched last fall and quickly staffed, with funding from the State of Oregon, Multnomah County, City of Portland and private foundations to reduce unfair and illegal evictions and help ensure tenants are not left on their own. in class. More than 40% of Oregonians rent their homes, and stopping illegal or unjust evictions is a critical part of solving Oregon’s housing crisis. Unfortunately, many people who are taken to eviction court do not have legal representation to help them defend against such evictions.

Since early 2021, the Eviction Defense Project has helped hundreds of households stay in their homes. The project operates statewide and also has local attorneys stationed in counties across the state. Services are free to eligible low-income tenants and are available in English and Spanish. There is access to expert interpreters for other languages ​​and help is available for people regardless of their citizenship status.

“As the new covid variant continues to spread in our state, people are losing income due to illnesses or businesses that cannot operate. Some people are still struggling to catch up with the economic blow of the past two years. We are fortunate in Oregon that short-term help is available for people who are still struggling with the economic upheaval of the pandemic and we just need to make sure they know help is available every step of the way. of the process,” says Straus.

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