Landlords sue over Oregon eviction bans
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Landlords in Oregon are suing Gov. Kate Brown, the state, Multnomah County and Portland for the newly extended eviction bans as they see non-payment from tenants.
Moe Farhoud, and Tyler and Crystal Sherman filed the lawsuit in federal court on Monday as state lawmakers approved pandemic-related bills during a one-day special session, KOIN-TV reported. The bills included rent relief for landlords and an extension on the statewide eviction moratorium through June.
Farhoud owns about 1,200 apartment units, while the Shermans have 22 units, according to the lawsuit. Farhoud claims to be owed more than $1 million in back rent from March on, according to the lawsuit, while the Shermans say they are owed more than $8,000.
The filing says the $200 million included in the “landlord assistance” bill passed by lawmakers Monday comes up short to an estimated $800 to $900 million owed in the state; however, the lawsuit did not cite where it found the estimated figure.
The lawsuit claims the moratorium on rent “exceed the bounds of the State’s police power are instead an attempted exercise of eminent domain.”
The plaintiffs want the eviction moratoriums put in place by Brown, the state and the municipalities to be declared as unconstitutional or have an injunction put in place that would require Brown, lawmakers and other key players “to design and implement a plan to adequately compensate” them and other landlords for their losses incurred by the moratorium.
In a statement to KOIN, a spokesperson for Gov. Brown’s office said the office generally doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
“However, I will point out that one of the Governor’s priorities for yesterday’s special session was relief for tenants and landlords,” Liz Merah wrote, adding that Brown “looks forward to signing this bill into law when it reaches her desk.”
Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury also said in a statement that while the county doesn’t comment on pending lawsuits, “that in a state of emergency caused by a once-in-a-century pandemic, it is smart public health policy to prevent tens of thousands of our neighbors from losing their homes due to the impacts of COVID-19.”
Kafoury added: “And to be clear, the $26.4 million in COVID rent relief the County has been working to distribute goes directly to landlords.”