On April 1, 2020, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order 20-13, limiting commercial landlords' ability to terminate leases for nonpayment of rent. The order provides that a commercial landlord cannot terminate a lease or file an eviction action against a tenant based on nonpayment of rent if the nonpayment is due, at least in part, to COVID-19.

To fall within the moratorium's protection, the commercial tenant must give the landlord, within 30 days of the rent's due date, evidence that the nonpayment is at least partially caused by COVID-19. The order does not specify the type of evidence required, but does state that proof of income loss due to COVID-19 governmental restrictions is sufficient.

The Executive Order also reiterates the existing moratorium on all residential lease terminations and evictions for nonpayment of rent. The moratorium as to residential tenancies applies to all nonpayment of rent cases, regardless whether the nonpayment is related to COVID-19.  

Both residential and commercial tenants are required to notify their landlord as soon as reasonably possible of their inability to pay the full rent, and must make partial rent payments as they are able. All tenants (residential and commercial) are still obligated to pay all amounts due under their leases (other than late fees)—the moratorium just limits landlords' ability to terminate leases and file evictions in the situations described above.

The Governor's order does not address the potential legal effect of landlords accepting partial payments of rent and both residential and commercial landlords should examine the potential impacts before accepting partial payments. The moratorium is in effect for 90 days.

The facts, laws, and regulations regarding COVID-19 are developing rapidly. Since the date of publication, there may be new or additional information not referenced in this advisory. Please consult with your legal counsel for guidance.

DWT will continue to provide up-to-date insights and virtual events regarding COVID-19 concerns. Our most recent insights, as well as information about recorded and upcoming virtual events, are available at www.dwt.com/COVID-19.

This article was originally featured as a real estate advisory on DWT.com on April 2, 2020. Our editors have chosen to feature this article here for its coinciding subject matter.