PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Some Portlanders gathered virtually Sunday night to discuss what can be done for people who won’t be able to afford their rent once it’s due.
The financial impacts of COVID-19 have hit millions of Americans. Unemployment has skyrocketed and many states are just beginning the process of reopening.
In order to help ease the economic impacts, Oregon placed a moratorium on evictions for unpaid rent, and will allow six months for tenants to make their missed payments. But, eventually, that rent will be due.
“It’s unreasonable and unrealistic,” said Margot Black. Black is the co-chair of Portland Tenants United and is also vying for seat #2 on Portland’s City Council.
She says once Governor Kate Brown’s moratorium on evictions is lifted, she fears thing could become dire for many who weren’t able to pay their rent.
“When that emergency order lifts in July, or is scheduled to lift in July, and that six-month clock starts ticking, we’ll see an enormous eviction and debt crisis,” she said.
She believes it’s time for local or even federal government to take action and for landlords to start working with their tenants.
“I think what we need is tenants to agree to pay 30 percent of their income in rent and no more, landlords to agree to take that and a combination of subsidies to landlords to cover operational expenses and housing vouchers that really should just be an entitlement program,” said Black.
Black says she understands that landlords also have mortgages and that property managers have other payments, so she doesn’t feel that they should have to foot the bill.
“I’m in support of landlords getting relief that will cover the costs of their own mortgages, however, I do think the banks are really the ones that need to take the hits there,” she said.
Sunday night’s virtual meeting allowed tenants to ask Black and other tenant union members questions about their rights and ask advice about rent.
Black says she believes rent prices in Portland are too high and need to come down to match the post-COVID-19 market.
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