COVID-19 & Forbearance Agreements

With new times come new terms. Six months ago we had never heard of Coronavirus or social distancing.  Now, we hear those terms so often we look forward to the day we never hear them again.  Another term we’re starting hear in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak is forbearance. Prior to COVID-19, most of us probably didn’t know what forbearance meant. Unfortunately, the financial impact of COVID-19 will likely cause many businesses and individuals to seek forbearance agreements with their creditors.

Forbearance means the action of refraining from exercising a legal right, especially enforcing the payment of a debt. A forbearance agreement is an agreement between a lender and a borrower (or a creditor and a debtor) to temporarily suspend the payments owed by the borrower to the lender. Forbearance agreements are often entered into in lieu of the lender filing a lawsuit to foreclose a mortgage or trust deed.

Borrowers, or debtors, adversely affected by the Coronavirus outbreak may need to enter into forbearance agreements with their creditors if unable to make their payments when due. Pursuant to the CARES Act, persons who have a federally backed mortgage can seek forbearance of their mortgage payments for up to nearly a year (they can initially apply for 180 days and then seek a 180 day extension). Many mortgages are federally backed. Interested persons should contact their loan servicer to determine if their mortgage is federally backed.  Even if a mortgage isn’t federally backed, given the widespread financial impact of the outbreak, there is a fair chance the lender has some forbearance or other options available.

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Contracts, Coronavirus, and Force Majeure: How Does COVID-19 Affect Contract Obligations?

When I was a first year law student I learned about contract formation, contractual obligations, and breach of contract. We also learned about a term called Force Majeure. You may have recently seen the term.

Force Majeure is a French term that means something along the lines of “superior or irresistible force”, but it is also a term used in conjunction with contract law. In the context of contract law, force majeure is an uncontrollable event that prevents a party from fulfilling their contractual obligations. Force majeure is commonly thought of as a provision included in the terms and conditions of a contract. But, because “uncontrollable events which prevent a party from fulfilling their contractual obligations” seldom occur, especially on a wide spread basis, force majeure provisions aren’t invoked very often.

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Oregon Shifts Heavy Equipment Personal Property Tax Burden to Contractors starting in 2019

Large and small heavy equipment rental providers throughout the state of Oregon recently scored a huge victory when Governor Brown signed HB 4139 into law earlier last month. The new law replaces Oregon’s existing personal property tax system for heavy equipment with a 2 percent tax on every heavy equipment rental transaction starting in 2019. While many states have either eliminated personal property tax or have exempted certain manufacturing and construction businesses from ad valorem property tax, Oregon was one of the few remaining that offered no relief or reform of any kind for heavy equipment rental providers. Critics often cited the compliance costs associated with the business personal property tax as complex and burdensome in a way that discouraged many companies from accurately reporting. The old system was a location-based tax, meaning that a company would be taxed on heavy machinery it owned based on where it was sitting on January 1 of that year. Heavy equipment rental businesses often rent their equipment out all over the state and beyond, so tracking location of constantly moving equipment for tax purposes proved difficult and also created the potential of requiring companies to pay additional tax in multiple counties or states on the same equipment where assessment dates varied.

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Construction Liens Explained

Today, Van White will be presenting at the Building Materials Dealer’s Association (BMDA) Washington and Oregon Lien Law Seminar. The presentation includes information on preliminary notices, perfecting lien claims, bond claims, post lien requirements, and licensing requirements. This begs the question – what are Construction Liens? Van explains.

Construction Liens (also known as Mechanics Liens) are a charge against or interest in privately owned real property to secure payment of a debt obligation. They are granted by statute to persons who have provided labor, materials, or certain services, which are incorporated into, consumed in, or contributing to the improvement of real property.

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Due Diligence: Just Who Are You Dealing With?

Your time is valuable. You don’t need to be dealing with individuals or entities who have bad intentions or who are deceptive. You’re probably better off taking a vacation to the beach or the mountains than you are dealing with unscrupulous people. Take some time to learn about the party with whom you will be dealing before you obligate yourself or your company. You may find out that they aren’t who they claim to be.

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Contractor Forfeits Right to Construction Lien by Accepting Mortgage Or Trust Deed As Security For Debt

The Oregon Court of Appeals recently issued a ruling which made it clear that a contractor’s acceptance of a mortgage or trust deed as security for the debt owed to them constituted a waiver of their construction lien rights. While the ruling at first glance sounds fairly logical and straight forward, it could have negative […]

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