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Oregon Landlord Tenant Law and Regulations

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Oregon Landlord Tenant Law: Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s understand Oregon Landlord-Tenant Law through the following –

What is the maximum amount I can collect as a security deposit?
There is no limit to the maximum amount a landlord may collect for the security deposit. A landlord must supply a receipt for any security deposit paid by the tenant.

Before the landlord enters into a new rental agreement with an applicant or accepts any payment from an applicant, the landlord shall provide the applicant with a written list of all deposits, fees and rent that are required by the landlord. The landlord and applicant may agree to amend the written list before entering into the rental agreement. The list may be included in the written rental agreement. The written rental agreement must, at a minimum, include a description of the fees that the landlord may charge.

Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
Landlords must disclose in writing a smoking policy for the rental unit. The disclosure must state whether smoking is prohibited on the premises, allowed on the entire premises or allowed in limited areas on the premises. If the smoking policy allows smoking in limited areas on the premises, the disclosure must identify the areas on the premises where smoking is allowed.

Non Compliance Fees for written rules or policies are allowed but may not exceed $50. ORS 90.302(2)(f).

May I charge late payment fees?
The rental agreement must state the type and amount of late fee and when it can be charged. There are 3 different kinds of late fees:

  • Per Rental Period Late Fee: a reasonable flat amount charged one time for the month once the rent is late by 4 days.
  • Per Day Late Fee: a daily fee that cannot be more that 6% of the reasonable flat monthly late fee described above .
  • A 5-Day Period Late Fee: a fee that is 5% of the rent, charged once for each 5-day period the rent is late.

Please Note: The landlord can change the type of late fee that is charged by sending the tenant a 30-day notice in advance.

May I charge a Non-Compliance fee?
Non Compliance Fees for written rules or policies are allowed – not to exceed $50, for only the following circumstances ORS 90.302(2)(f):

  • Late payment of utility or service charge.
  • Failure to clean up pet waste from premises (other than dwelling unit).
  • Failure to clean up garbage, rubbish, or other waste from premises (other than dwelling unit).
  • Parking violations & improper use of vehicles within the premises.

May I charge a returned payment fee?
Assessed fees must be reasonably related to the expenses the landlord incurs as a result of a returned payment. The NSF Check Fee plus any bank charges must be included within the written rental agreement for the authority to charge.

What is a common problem where security deposits are concerned?
At times landlords may try claiming deductions for items that are often characterized by the court as normal wear and tear. This situation may be prevented by realistically evaluating each deduction, providing proof of damage, as well as including repair receipts and pictures.

How can I end a lease agreement?
If the tenancy is:

  • Month-to-Month: A 30-day advance written notice is required.
  • Week-to-Week: A 10-day advance written notice is required.
  • Fixed Term Lease: At any time during the fixed term tenancy the landlord or the tenant may terminate the tenancy without cause by giving the other 30 days written notice prior to the specified ending date or no less than 30 days prior to the date designated in the notice for the termination of the tenancy, whichever is later. ORS 90.427(5)-In the event of a property sale, a 30 day notice may still be given within certain limits.

Additionally, a 60 day notice period is needed for a no cause eviction for all tenancies of more than one year and the 30 day no cause eviction period remains for tenancies where any tenant has lived in the rental unit for less than one year. Tenants may still give the landlord a 30 day notice.

My tenant has moved out, what shall I do with their security deposit?
Within 31 Days of tenancy termination, the landlord must return the entire security deposit, or written account that states specifically why a portion or all of the deposit , if any, was withheld.

Please Note: If a landlord requires a new or increased security deposit after the first year of the tenancy, the landlord shall allow the tenant at least 3 months to pay the deposit.

Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease agreement?
A landlord may be forced to release a tenant from a contractual agreement when the dwelling unit or premise is damaged and/or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, deeming the rental property unlivable. Additionally, a tenant may seek release from a rental agreement with the court when a landlord does not abide by the state’s landlord obligations.

If a tenant is a victim of domestic violence and gives the landlord at least 14 days’ written notice, and the notice so requests, the landlord shall release the tenant and any immediate family member of the tenant from the rental agreement.

How long does the eviction process take?
As with any legal matter, exact timing is almost impossible as it depends on many factors. Overall, with no complications, the eviction process usually takes approximately 4-5 weeks.

How do I tell if my tenant has “skipped” out of the apartment?
Often times it’s best to look for the obvious, such as removal of personal goods, whether or not the tenant has come back to the premises at any time during a one week period, and simply no food in the refrigerator. It’s extremely important to document all of the “proof” gathered in order to determine abandonment. When in doubt, if payment of rent has not been made, the landlord may always file for eviction.

Do I have to give the tenant notice before I enter the rental property?
The landlord shall have the right to enter the leased premises at reasonable times and hours, after reasonable notice has been given to the tenant(24 hrs), unless in cases of emergency.

Aside from the lease agreement, are there any additional documents necessary?
If the leased premises was constructed prior to 1978, the landlord must provide all tenants with the Lead-Based Paint EPA Disclosure and the Lead-Based Paint EPA Pamphlet.
If a rental unit is located within a 100 year flood plain, the Landlord must disclose that fact in the rental agreement. 100 year flood plain status is determined by the National Flood Insurance Program of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
If the landlord fails to provide this disclosure notice, and the tenant suffers an uninsured loss, the tenant may recover from the landlords two months’ rent or the lesser of the actual damages for the uninsured loss.

How much can rent go up legally in Oregon?

SB 608, which was passed in February 2019, established the formula for the maximum rent increase as 7% plus the West Coast Consumer Price Index, which updates annually. The maximum increase for 2022 was 9.9%. Rent hikes for Oregon residents starting on January 1, 2023, cannot be higher than 14.6%. It is the most a landlord can raise in Oregon.

How much notice does a landlord have to give a tenant to move out in Oregon?

A 30-day written notice is required to discontinue a month-to-month tenancy within the first year of the tenancy, except the rental property is located in Portland, where no-cause terminations require 90 days’ notice and amount of relocation costs.

Are pets allowed on properties in Oregon?

According to pet provisions, landlords in Oregon have the last word on whether or not pets are permitted inside their properties. However, they are obligated by federal legislation to help tenants who have service animals. Some landlords frequently impose additional costs for allowing pets inside their properties.

Tenant’s Rights in Oregon

You sign a contract when you rent a home or an apartment. A landlord-tenant relationship is thus established. You have obligations as a tenant as well as rights. Your rental agreement should only be changed if both you and the landlord agree to the changes in writing.

Tenant’s Exclusive Possession Rights

  • This implies that, despite the fact that the landlord is the property’s owner, you have a right to privacy. Nobody may enter your home unless they have a court order.
  • Your landlord may access the property after giving you 24-hour notice in order to perform necessary inspections, repairs, or maintenance, or to display the home to potential purchasers or employees.
  • You may only refuse your landlord’s request to enter if it is reasonable. You cannot refuse entry in a way that interferes with the landlord’s ability to exercise their legal rights and obligations.
  • Before visiting the property, your landlord must give you at least 24 hours’ notice. Except in the following situations: an emergency;  or when you’ve asked for repairs or maintenance without specifying a specific day or time; or where your lease permits the landlord to enter the property (from the outside only) to do yard upkeep.

Renter’s Right to a Habitable Residence

  • This calls for the property to be secure and clean.
  • If a landlord declines to make repairs (and you are not to blame for the issue), you may fix it if you first provide the landlord with written notice. Ensure that you describe the issue in the notice, and allow the landlord enough time to address it. In some situations, after giving the landlord the receipts, you could subsequently be able to deduct the cost of the repairs from your rent. The amount of money you can spend, the kind of issues you can solve, and the amount of time you have to wait are all constrained by legislation. You should consult a lawyer before taking any sort of repair action.
  • Pests must not exist in the area. Wiring, plumbing, heating, and weatherproofing must all be done correctly. These conditions must always be upheld by the landlord.
  • Your landlord is required to undertake any necessary repairs without asking for payment if they are required for safety or hygienic reasons. If you are to blame for the issue, the landlord is still obligated to fix it. The expense is your responsibility.

Tenant’s Responsibilities in Oregon

  • You are required to keep the house moderately tidy.
  • The property may only be used by you as a residence.
  • You must conduct yourself in a way that won’t annoy your neighbors.
  • Smoke alarms: Smoke alarms may not be tampered with, and you may not harm the property. The cost of any necessary battery replacements for the rental unit’s smoke alarms is your responsibility. You must also make sure the alarms are functional by testing them every six months.
  • Rent must be paid on time. Visit https://www.oregonrentalassistance.org/ or dial 211 if you are having trouble keeping up with your rent or are concerned about future rent payments. You might get a 10-day notice to pay rent if it’s 8 days overdue, but only for rent due in July 2021 and onward. Your landlord has the right to start adding late fees after July 1, 2021.
  • Your landlord has the right to give you a 24-hour written notice to vacate the premises if you seriously hurt them, their property, or other occupants, or if you have engaged in outrageous behavior there. You must be given a reason for being evicted in this notice.
  • You are responsible for returning the rental property to your landlord in the same condition that you received it, with the exception of normal wear and tear.

Landlord’s Rights in Oregon

  • For the use of your property, you are entitled to receive rent.
  • Tenants will have to pay the current rent as of July 1, 2021. You may provide a 10-day notice to pay rent if it is 8 days overdue, but only for rent beginning in July 2021.
  • You can advise your tenant to call 211 or submit an application for assistance at https://www.oregonrentalassistance.org/ if they are late on their rent.
  • You may try to collect the unpaid rent for the remaining period of the agreement if the renter vacates before the conclusion of the renting term. You must first make an effort to re-rent the home or apartment, though. Even if the tenant has a written lease, you still need to complete these actions. Your ability to collect rent during a month-to-month or week-to-week lease is constrained to the typical duration of the rental period.
  • Unless the renter has requested repairs in writing within the past seven days or there is an emergency, you must notify the property owner of your intention to enter at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Generally, you have the right to defend your property by conducting reasonable inspections, making necessary repairs, and showing it to prospective buyers.
  • With the exception of typical wear and tear, you have the right to receive your belongings back in the same condition as when you gave them to the landlord at the end of the rental period.

Landlord’s Responsibilities in Oregon

  • You must install working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the home, and if the detectors are battery-operated, you must also supply the first set of batteries.
  • Rent increases, utility cuts, and attempts to evict a tenant in retaliation for complaining to you or a government agency about unlivable conditions, discrimination, or other legal violations, or for joining or starting a tenants association, are all prohibited.
  • Any security deposits left behind after the renter vacates must be accounted for or returned to the tenant. Within 31 days after the rental agreement, you must provide the renter with a written accounting that details why you kept all or part of the deposit. The tenant has the right to sue you for twice the deposit amount if you don’t adhere to this rule.
  • A tenant cannot be locked out. The only exception to the no lockout rule is when a tenant requests to have a renter who committed the crime locked out of the apartment where the victim of the crime is still residing. This tenant must be able to prove they were the victim of domestic abuse, stalking, or sexual assault.
  • A rental home must be in good shape and adhere to the Oregon Landlord/Tenant Act. This includes having access to plumbing, hot and cold running water, electrical lighting and equipment that work, adequate heating, a clean building and grounds, and any other locations and facilities that are correctly maintained and repaired.
  • It is necessary to weatherproof and safeguard the walls, windows, and doors.
  • Heat, water, and electricity must be provided by the landlord (although the tenant is typically expected to pay the utility bill). Although the landlord is required to provide garbage cans and make plans for removal, the renter may be asked to pay for the service.
  • You grant the tenant the unrestricted right to possess and utilize your property by renting it to them.
  • You are not permitted to enter repeatedly, irregularly, without a good reason, or without warning.
  • You have a duty to uphold all applicable federal, state, and local fair housing laws as a landlord.
  • You must provide the name and address of your authorized manager or your own when renting out your property to someone.
  • You are not allowed to discriminate against a tenant because they have children, have a disability, or are because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic background.
  • You cannot take into account a tenant’s prior successfully defended eviction case when they are applying for a lease.
  • From April 1, 2020, through March 1, 2022, you cannot take a tenant’s Covid-era eviction judgment into account.
  • Because a tenant experienced domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, you cannot treat them unfairly.
  • Visit the Fair Housing Council of Oregon for additional information about your legal obligations regarding fair housing.

Oregon Landlord Tenant Law pdf may be found at: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/lawsstatutes/2013ors090.html

Learn more –

State Landlord Tenant Laws

Landlord And Property Management Articles

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.

Questions about Oregon rental property regulations can be asked in our Rental Expert Forum, and additional help can be found on our list of Oregon Rental Resources.

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