The state of Oregon is known for having an amazing economy throughout the past few years. Thanks to this positive growth, this state is a great destination for tenants to look for a rental unit. In that sense, landlords in this area have an increased opportunity of renting their properties.
However, one thing that can dictate how successful a tenancy can be is following landlord-tenant laws in the state. These laws provide all the resources that you need to get started with your lease. On this page, we're going to learn more about the Oregon landlord-tenant law and how it should be followed at all times during the tenancy.
Is Oregon Considered a Landlord-Friendly State?
Unfortunately, Oregon is considered one of the least landlord-friendly states in the U.S. This is because there are many rent control policies and protection measures for tenants, which can affect the landlord.
What Should be Included in a Rental Agreement in Oregon?
All the Oregon landlord-tenant laws can be found in the Oregon Laws (Chapter 90). However, we're going to take a look at the general guidelines that landlords and tenants have to comply with from the beginning.
A rental agreement in Oregon can be either written or oral. It's recommended that you always use a written version of the agreement since you're going to have access to the information in a physical format, which can help in dispute cases. In these cases, landlords must give the tenant a copy of the lease with the exact information as the original.
Overall, landlords may include as many clauses as they want inside the lease agreement as long as they don't go against the Oregon law. Here is a list of the most commonly used information for a lease agreement in Oregon:
Address and information about the rental property.
- Information about the people involved in the lease.
- Rent payment conditions (Late fees, increases, grace periods, etc.)
- Security deposit clauses.
- Termination and eviction clauses.
- Person responsible for keeping the used appliances in good condition.
What Are Landlords' Rights and Responsibilities?
There are a set of guidelines that all landlords must follow if they want to comply with federal law. Not complying with these terms may result in legal problems with the tenant in the future.
Every landlord has the right to collect rent payments on time, request a security deposit from the tenant, and withhold a partial amount of it to cover unforeseen damages to the property. If the tenant violates the lease in any way, landlords may pursue a proper eviction case.
Generally, landlords must give the tenant a safe, habitable rental unit that complies with local and state-wide housing laws. On the other hand, landlords must give repairs to the unit if the tenant requests them. These repair services should be done in a reasonable amount of time. Otherwise, tenant rights allow them to deduct the repairing costs from future rent payments.
Keep in mind that a landlord cannot pursue an eviction suit against their tenant if they're exercising their housing rights.
What Are Tenants' Rights and Responsibilities?
Tenants in Oregon have the legal right to live in a habitable unit that complies with local housing laws, request repairs to the property, and seek alternative action if the landlord fails to provide these repairs in a reasonable amount of time.
Tenants must comply with the following state laws if they want to keep a healthy tenancy period with their landlord:
- Pay rent on time.
- Keep the rental unit in good condition so that it complies with local housing laws.
- Make repairs to the property (If required).
- Not disturb other tenants or neighbors.
Oregon Landlord-Tenant Law - General Clauses
Landlords may include as many clauses as they consider appropriate for their property (As long as they follow the Oregon law). The following is an overview of all the clauses that should always be included in a new lease document.
As said before, Oregon provides many rent control policies, so make sure that you search for your local rental policies so that you know what the right amount to charge the tenant is. If there isn't an agreement on the amount of rent, its value must be equal to the fair market value of the property.
Unless stated otherwise, rent payments can be used to:
- Pay for the active tenancy period.
- Cover late fees.
- Pay utility bills.
- Pay additional charges.
It's important to note that a landlord may choose a particular due date for rent; if it isn't stated in the document, the due date for rent is at the beginning of each month.
If the unit is older than 15 years, the landlord cannot raise rent prices by more than 7% each year. In the case that the landlord wants to increase rent, they must provide the tenant at least 30 days' notice before doing it. In monthly tenancies, the landlord cannot increase rent within the first year of the lease. After the first year has passed, the landlord must send written notice 90 days before the increase.
There are three types of rent fees: Daily fee, weekly fee, and one-time flat fee. The landlord may choose the fees that better adapt to their needs.
The landlord can collect a security deposit to cover unforeseen expenses during the tenancy, such as unpaid rent/utility fees or damages that exceed regular wear and tear. There is no information about maximum or minimum security deposit amounts in the Oregon landlord-tenant laws, so landlords are allowed to charge anything they want (as long as it's reasonable).
Security deposits must be returned to the tenant within 31 days of the tenant moving out of the premises. If the landlord doesn't comply within the required time frame, the tenant may seek a lawsuit.
The deposit may be commingled with other funds, although it's not recommended.
If the landlord wants to withhold the security deposits, they must provide an itemized list of the deposit deductions to the tenant. Last but not least, the landlord may be liable to pay twice the deposits' value if they decide to withhold it without reason.
Lease Termination and Eviction Clauses
Landlord-tenant laws allow the tenant to request a termination of the lease as soon as it ends. However, they're required to give the following amounts of notice:
- Weekly Lease: Non-applicable.
- Monthly Lease: 30 days' notice or 60 days' notice, depending on the term's duration.
- Quarterly Lease: Non-applicable.
- Yearly Lease: 30-day notice.
Additionally, an Oregon tenant can choose to break the tenancy and move out of the premises early for any of the following reasons:
- Active military duty.
- Harassment or domestic violence.
- Unacceptable living conditions.
- Early termination clause.
On the contrary, landlords have the legal right to pursue an eviction claim for any of the following reasons:
- Nonpayment of Rent: Three-day notice to pay or quit after a seven-day grace period has passed.
- Breach of the Tenancy Conditions: 30-day notice to cure or quit.
- Criminal Activity: 24-hour (One day) notice to quit.
Landlords cannot evict their tenant from the premises as a form of retaliation.
See our full guide on the eviction process and laws for Oregon.
In this section, we're going to look at some additional information that should be included in the leasing document to prevent any legal issues between the parties involved.
Housing Discrimination in Oregon
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (Civil Rights Division) and the Fair Housing Act protect every tenant in the state from any kind of discrimination against them based on their color, race, sex, religion, disability, nationality, or familial status.
Landlords' Right to Entry in Oregon
Generally, landlords must provide 24 hours of written notice to the tenant before they move into the property for any reason. This 24 hours' notice isn't required in emergency cases.
Small Claims Court in Oregon
These courts can hear rental cases valued up to $10,000. However, keep in mind that each area may have a different statute of limitations for these cases.
Lock Changing in Oregon
Tenants may request their landlords to change the unit's locks in cases they've become a victim of domestic violence. In these cases, the tenants are responsible for paying the locks.
There are some areas that have particular requirements that the landlord and tenant must follow at all times. For example, Portland has a Renter Relocation Assistance program, which states that landlords must help their tenants to move out if the reason for leaving is a rental increase of 10% or higher.
Landlord-tenant laws in Oregon are fairly simple to understand, and they're the best way to ensure that your tenancy goes the right way from start to end. If you need additional legal advice for your case, make sure to contact a local lawyer or real estate manager.
What are the smoking policies for properties in Oregon?
Whether the tenant is allowed to smoke or not, the landlord must provide that information thoroughly in the document.
Does the landlord have to inform the tenant about the 100-year floodplan?
Landlords have to inform their tenant if the building is in a 100-year floodplain.
Is the landlord responsible for disclosing information about lead-paint on the property?
If the building was build before 1978, the landlord must provide information regarding concentrations of lead paint in the area, as well as a copy of EPA's pamphlet.
Are pets allowed on properties in Oregon?
In Oregon, pet clauses state that landlords have the final say on whether pets are allowed or not inside their building. However, federal laws require them to provide assistance to tenants with service animals. Some landlords tend to charge extra fees for allowing pets inside their building.