Equity Residential / New Rent Collection Practices
To whom it may concern,
Equity Residential, a national company with 9 properties in the Portland area has newly instituted several key changes to their rent collection policies that I believe run contrary to Oregon Landlord Tenant Law.
1. All properties have discontinued the afterhours rent drop box. Making paying your rent after 5:00 on the fifth now late.
2. They have a web portal for residents to pay their rent. However the web portal is set to Central time so any payments made after 10:00 Pacific are automatically considered late and a late fee is immediately charged.
3. Equity’s stated policy in processing payments are Rent then Fees then Utilities. Any check written for Rent and Utilities will be applied to Rent and Fees first then a notification will appear on your door that you have not paid your utilities and immediate action is required.
These practices are on the surface harmless but the undermine basic rights of Oregon renters. Namely that they have 4 days after the first in which to pay their rent (i.e. by end of day on the 5th). Now if you do not have internet access you have less rights than those that do. Additionally, even if you pay your rent after on the 5th but use the portal you lose two of the hours the law affords you.
My specific situation is this: I have stated in writing that my rent and utility checks are to be applied to only what they were written. This was fine until recently when they applied my rent check/utility payment to a late fee generated two month's ago by the aforementioned web portal policy. I paid my rent in Oregon at 10:20 PM on the fifth. Their response to my accusation that they misapplied my check which is still considered check fraud was to threaten to reverse the payment then charge me two $75 late fees for my unpaid late fee.
I have never paid late and have been a resident at Equity Residential for 5 years. Now due to their new policies I have two late payments. Both for paying after 10:00 PST. The first was refunded the second I am dealing with now.
This is not an uncommon problem and many residents have expressed real frustration but we need some direction as to our rights and how to ensure them.
To date I still have my utilities listed as unpaid on my account.
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