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Landlords concerned with Multnomah County eviction moratorium

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury hope an eviction moratorium gives a break to renters impacted by the coronavirus.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury announced Tuesday a moratorium on rental evictions. Renters facing hardships due to the coronavirus cannot be forced out of their homes.

"This applies to those who have lost substantial income due to COVID-19 by way of job loss, job closure, reduction in hours, missing work due to school closure and missing work due to illness," said Wheeler.

Wheeler says the moratorium will last until the state of emergency ends. Renters will then have up to six months to pay up. 

"Extraordinary times require extraordinary action," said Wheeler.

Landlords, and organizations that represent them, are concerned with the moratorium. 

"Little bit of a gut punch initially," said Ken Schriver.

Schriver is with Rental Housing Alliance Oregon. The organization represents landlords who manage four or fewer properties. Schriver is sympathetic towards renters, but worries about landlords, too.

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"In order to pull together we have to make sure we don't shift the burden of the load from one side to the other," he said.

Schriver says there are plenty of landlords who depend on monthly rent payments to pay their own bills.

"They put their savings into a rental property and that's their income and if we cut that off we have another family in need."

Schriver calls that an unintended consequence. Mayor Wheeler sees it differently.

"Unprecedented times call for unprecedented leadership and we're taking steps at the city, county and state level," said Wheeler.

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