Oregon House adopts new moratorium on foreclosures

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PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) – A measure that would reinstate and extend Oregon’s moratorium on foreclosures until September 1 during the COVID-19 pandemic was passed by the state House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Unlike the bill passed by lawmakers last June, the new legislation would not protect owners of commercial property – those who own more than five properties or properties with more than four units. The moratorium would be retroactive to December 3 and could be extended until the end of 2021 by the governor.

The latest bill, which passed in House 38-21, goes through the State Senate.

“I assure you Oregonians need that kind of protection. Without it, I fear we will face even more economic distress, ”said Representative Paul Holvey, a Democrat representing Eugene. “More Oregonians will become homeless if this bill is not passed.”

In March, more than 6% – or more than 65,000 homeowners in Oregon – said they had not caught up on their mortgage payments, according to the most recent Household Pulse Survey from the US Census Bureau. United.

Financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the state’s ongoing housing crisis and has therefore been a top priority for lawmakers, even before this legislative session.

In December, in a special legislative session, lawmakers extended Oregon’s eviction moratorium until June 30, 2021 and established $ 200 million in aid for landlords and tenants. However, the moratorium on foreclosures was not extended, leaving some homeowners concerned about how they would make their payments.

However, many homeowners are currently protected from foreclosure by federal moratoriums, and the CARES Act provides protections for homeowners on a loan guaranteed by the federal government.

But a report from the National Housing Law Project states that about 30% of single-family mortgages, or about 14.5 million loans nationwide, are not guaranteed or held by a federal agency and are not covered by the federal moratorium.

“The Legislature has taken incredibly important steps over the past year to designate rent assistance for tenants and landlords, as well as to impose a moratorium on evictions that will keep Oregonians at home during the worst crisis in the world. public health of their lives, ”said the representative. Julie Fahey, a Democrat representing West Eugene and Junction City. “While thousands of Oregonians are vaccinated every day, we are still at high risk for a fourth wave of this virus and our unemployment rate remains high.”

Opponents of the foreclosure moratorium bill argue that it could cause serious problems for the Oregon housing market by hampering the capacity of lenders. Foreclosures are also an already lengthy process and, if passed, the bill could cause some lenders to wait more than two years for payments, officials say.

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Cline is a member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative Corps. Report for America is a national, nonprofit service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to cover undercover issues.

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