Oregon Landlord Tenant Law

Looking for clear and concise information on Oregon landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to the Oregon Landlord Tenant Act.

OR Landlord Tenant Law:

  • Oregon Revised Statutes Title 10, Chapter 90 - Residential Landlord and Tenant

Tenant Application

Application Fees

The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. The landlord has to give all tenant applicants receipts of the screening charges. [OR 90.295.(1)(a)]

The fee amount should be reasonable - We recommend charging $25 to $30 per applicant. If the landlord did not run any tenant screening checks, the fees has to be refunded.

If the landlord rejected someone as a tenant because of his/her tenant screening report, the landlord has to inform him or her the reason for rejection and provide the name and address of the tenant screening service. [OR 90.295.(4)]

If the landlord fails to following Oregon landlord tenant laws for screening tenants, the applicant can recover two times the application fees plus $150. [OR 90.295.(8)(b)]

Background and Credit Check

Before running background or credit checks on tenant applicants, landlords must first obtain the applicant's written permission. [Fair Credit Reporting Act § 604(a)(3)(F)]

For landlords to run background and credit checks, the tenant application form needs to ask for the applicant's:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • social security number or ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number)
  • current address
  • signed consent (e.g. "I authorize the use of the information and contacts provided to complete a credit, reference, and/or background check.")

[OR 90.303][OR 90.304]

Avoiding Discrimination

The federal Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from rejecting prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, nationality, sex, *familial status or physical/mental disability. *Familial status means landlords cannot reject someone for having one or more children under 18. Familial status also includes pregnant women and people planning to have (or adapt) children under 18.

In addition, Oregon landlord tenant law disallows landlords from rejecting someone as a renter because of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or income source (as long as it is legal). Victims of domestic violence cannot be discriminated as well.

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Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement (also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement) can be written or verbal. If the rental agreement is written, then Oregon landlord tenant law requires the landlord to give the tenant a copy of it. The landlord must also give the tenant a written copy of any amendment or addition to the rental agreement.  [OR 90.220.(3)]

The landlord and tenant can choose between a month to month tenancy or fixed term lease. For a month to month tenancy, the landlord or tenant can change its terms and conditions at the end of every month. For a fixed term lease, the landlord and tenant CANNOT change the lease terms and conditions during its duration... unless there is written consent from both parties.

What Landlord Must Disclose

Before entering into a rental agreement, Oregon landlord tenant law requires the landlord to disclose the following to the tenant:

  • Flooding: The landlord must inform prospective tenants if the rental unit is located within a 100 year flood plain
  • Lead Paint: If the property was built before 1978, the landlord must inform prospective tenants if the property contains lead-based paint. In addition, the landlord has to give them a pamphlet of Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home. [Health and Safety Code Section 17920.10]

Required for Tenancy Agreement

Oregon landlord tenant law requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:

  • Name and address of person authorized to manage the property [OR 90.305.(a)]
  • Name and address or property owner or owner's agent (person authorized to act on behalf of owner) [OR 90.305.(b)]
  • Disclosure and information of lead-based paint in the property (for housing built before 1978)

Recommended for Tenancy Agreement

  • Name and address of tenant(s)
  • Number of people (occupants) staying on the property
  • Type of tenancy: month to month tenancy or fixed term lease
  • How much is the rent
  • When, how and where the rent is to be paid
  • When is rent is considered late and the penalties for late rent payment
  • How much is the security deposit and pet deposit (if any)
  • Who holds the deposit(s) and where will it be held
  • What utilities and services are provided and who pays for them
  • What are the landlord's and tenant's duties for property maintenance
  • Can the tenant sublet the property or assign the lease
  • When to inform the landlord if tenant will be away for a long time
  • Prohibited activities and items

Disallowed for Tenancy Agreement

According to Oregon landlord tenant law, your lease agreement CANNOT:

  • make the tenant give up any legal rights or remedies under the Oregon Landlord Tenant Act [OR 90.245.(1)(a)]
  • permit the tenant to authorize another person to confess judgment (on a claim arising from the rental agreement) [OR 90.245.(1)(b)]
  • excuse or limit the landlord's liability for failing in his or her duties [OR 90.245.(1)(c)]
  • make the tenant pay liquidated damages unless allowed by [OR 90.302.(2)(e)]

If the landlord deliberately includes prohibited terms and conditions in the rental agreement and tries to enforce them, the tenant can recover actual damages plus up to three month's rent. [OR 90.245.(2)]

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Security Deposit

As long as the tenant is agreeable, Oregon landlord tenant law doesn't limit the maximum amount of security deposit the landlord can ask for. After receiving any security deposit from the tenant, the landlord has to give him or her a written receipt. [OR 90.300.(2)(a)]

If the tenant keeps a pet (that is not a *service animal), the landlord can ask for an additional pet deposit. *A service animal is an animal (usually a dog) that is trained to assist disabled people.

There are no Oregon landlord tenant laws on security deposit holding methods and security deposit interest.

Deductions and Returns

Oregon landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions.
  
Valid reasons for security deposit deductions (under Oregon landlord tenant law) include [OR 90.300.(7)]:

  • Rent owed
  • Property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Costs and losses incurred by landlord due to the tenant violating the lease agreement

The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. [OR 90.300.(7)(a)(B)] *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.

Once the lease terminates and the tenant returns the property, the landlord must send the tenant a list of security deposit deductions and refund any remaining deposit within 31 days. This list has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing. [OR 90.300.(13)]
   
If the landlord fails to follow Oregon landlord tenant law for deducting and returning security deposit, the tenant can recover two times the amount of security deposit withheld. [OR 90.300.(16)]

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Portland, Oregon OR

Oregon Landlord Tenant Law

Rent

The tenant has to pay the rent without demand or reminders. As long as the landlord and tenant are agreeable, they can choose the time, place and method of rent payment.
   
By default, rent is payable once the tenancy begins and shall be paid on the first day of every week or month. Rent is to be collected at the rental property. [OR 90.220.(7)(a)]

Late Rent

Late rent fees have to be specified in the lease agreement and it can only be charged when the rent has been overdue for five days or more. [OR 90.260]

The rent has been overdue for five days, the landlord can charge late fees equal to 5% of the periodic rent. The landlord can charge an additional 5% periodic rent (as late fees) for every additional five days that rent is overdue (e.g. rent is overdue for 5 to 9 days = 5% periodic rent, rent is overdue for 10 to 14 days = 10% periodic rent, rent is overdue for 15 to 19 days = 15% periodic rent... until rent owed is paid in full).

Raising Rent

For a week to week tenancy, the landlord has to inform the tenant of a rent increase at least seven days in advance. [OR 90.323]

For a month to month tenancy, the landlord may only increase the rent after the first year and he or she has to inform the tenant of a rent increase at least 90 days in advance. The maximum rent increase during a 12 month period is capped at 7% plus the *consumer price index. *Consumer price index refers to Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, West Region (All Items), as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For a fixed term tenancy, the landlord isn't allowed to raise the rent until the tenancy expires.

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Property Maintenance

Landlord Duties and Responsibilities

The Oregon Landlord Tenant Act requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition [OR 90.320]:

  • Waterproofing: Waterproof and weatherproof all windows, roofs, doors and walls
  • Plumbing: Maintain all plumbing fixtures in good working order
  • Heating: Supply running water, hot water and heating (as far as conditions allow)
  • Common Areas: Keep all common areas clean and safe
  • Waste Disposal: Provide outlets for waste disposal and arrange for waste removal
  • Repairs: Make all repairs to keep the property safe and habitable. Maintain all floors, walls, ceilings, stairways and railings
  • Maintenance: Maintain all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen facilities in safe working condition
  • Smoke Detectors: Provide smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Tenant Duties and Responsibilities

Oregon landlord tenant law also requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition [OR 90.325]:

  • Proper Usage: Use all facilities and appliances properly. This includes all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen and common area facilities
  • Cleanliness: Keep the property clean and safe (as far as conditions will allow)
  • Waste Disposal: Dispose all waste from the property in a clean and safe manner
  • Plumbing: Keep all plumbing fixtures in rental unit clean (as far as conditions will allow)
  • Smoke Detectors: Maintain smoke detector and inform landlord if it need repairs
  • Neighbors: Avoid disturbing neighbors and also disallow others from disturbing neighbors
  • Property Damage: Avoid property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by the tenant, occupants or tenant's guests

If Landlord Fails to Maintain Property

If the landlord fails to maintain the property (and it affects the tenant's health and safety) OR severely violates the rental agreement, the tenant can give the landlord a written notice stating the problem and giving the landlord 30 days to correct it. [OR 90.360.(1)(a)]

If the problem is corrected within 30 days (of the landlord receiving this notice), the tenancy shall continue. If the problem isn't corrected within 30 days, the tenancy shall terminate and the tenant can move out. In this case, the landlord has to return all security deposits and prepaid rents (after deductions) to the tenant.

For a week to week tenancy, the landlord has seven days to correct the problem(s) before the lease terminates.

If the landlord commits a similar violation within six months, the tenant can terminate the tenancy with a written 14 day notice stating the violation details and lease termination date (7 day notice for week to week tenancy).  [OR 90.360.(1)(c)]

If Landlord Fails to Provide Essential Services

If the landlord fails to provide an essential service (such as heat, water, electricity, plumbing or sanitation), the tenant has to give the landlord a written stating the problem(s) and that the tenant may seek substitute services, rent damages or substitute housing. [OR 90.365.(1)]

After receiving this written notice, the landlord has to provide the essential service within a reasonable period of time. If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant has three choices:

  1. The tenant can obtain essential services and deduct the cost from rent
  2. The tenant can recover damages (based on how much the property's rental value has fallen)
  3. The tenant can move to substitute housing and stop paying rent until essential services are restored

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Property Access

When Tenant's Permission is Required

According to Oregon landlord tenant law, the landlord is only allowed to enter the property for the following reasons [OR 90.322.(1)]:

  • Performing property maintenance or repairs
  • Supplying essential (or mutually agreed) services and utilities
  • Inspecting for damages
  • Showing the property to prospective buyers, tenants or contractors

In the above situations, the landlord must inform the tenant at least 24 hours in advance before entering the property. The landlord can only enter the property with the tenant's consent and during reasonable hours. [OR 90.322.(b)]

When Tenant's Permission is NOT Required

According to Oregon landlord tenant law, the landlord may enter the property without permission in the following situations:

  • Emergencies such as smoke, fire, flooding or explosion - The landlord will have inform the tenant of the following within 24 hours of entry: date and time of entry, nature of emergency and names of people who entered the property
  • Tenant has abandoned or surrendered the property

If Tenant Refuses Landlord's Valid Request to Enter Property

The tenant cannot deny access if the landlord has a valid reason to enter the property. Otherwise the landlord can EITHER

  1. obtain a court order that requires the tenant to let the landlord in OR
  2. terminate the lease agreement by giving the tenant a written notice in advance.

In addition, the landlord may also sue the tenant for actual damages. [OR 90.322.(7)]

If Landlord Enters Property Illegally

The landlord must have a valid reason and obtain the tenant's permission (whenever required) to enter the property. If the landlord fails to do so or harasses the tenant, the tenant can EITHER

  1. obtain a court order that stops the landlord from entering the property illegally or harassing the tenant OR
  2. terminate the lease agreement by giving the tenant a written notice at least 10 days in advance.

In addition, the tenant can recover actual damages (minimum of one week's month for a week to week tenancy or one month's rent for all other types of tenancy). [OR 90.322.(8)]

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Subletting

There are no specific Oregon landlord tenant laws on subletting.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • Is the tenant allowed to sublet the property? If yes, is the landlord's written consent required before the tenant can sublet?
  • Is the landlord allowed to screen and reject every prospective subtenant?
  • Can the landlord ask for additional rent and security deposit if the tenant sublets?

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Salem, Oregon OR

Salem, Oregon OR

Termination of Tenancy

Number of Days for Notice to Quit

Before terminating a tenancy, Oregon landlord tenant law requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit in advance [OR 90.427]:

Week to week tenancy

10 days

Month to month tenancy

30 days

For a tenancy at will, the number of days for giving a notice to quit shall be equal to the rent payment interval (e.g. 14 day's notice if rent is paid every 14 days). [OR 91.050]

TENANT

If you are the tenant, the following are the minimum number of days for giving your landlord a notice to quit:

Tenant or family member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking

14 days

Tenant or Family Member is a Victim of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault or Stalking

If the tenant believes that the tenant or tenant's immediate family member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, he or she can terminate the tenancy (without penalty) by giving the landlord a written notice 14 days in advance. [OR 90.453.(2)(a)]

This notice has to state the termination date and names of any family members to be released from the lease.

In addition, the tenant has to give the landlord a *verification statement (signed by the tenant and a qualified third party) PLUS one of the following documents:

  • Copy of protective order issued to the tenant as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking
  • Copy of government or police report describing an act of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking against the tenant
  • Copy of conviction for an act of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking against the tenant

*See [OR 90.453.(4)] for an official example of the verification statement.

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Eviction

According to Oregon landlord tenant law, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:

Tenant did not pay rent

See below

Tenant violated tenancy agreement or didn't perform duties

30 days

Tenant, related person or tenant's pet threatened, injured or endangered others on property [OR 90.396.(a)(b)(c)]

24 hours

Tenant, related person or tenant's pet deliberately caused property damage more than once [OR 90.396.(d)]

24 Hours

Tenant or related person was involved in illegal activities on property

24 hours

Tenant Did Not Pay Rent

For a week to week tenancy, the landlord can send the tenant a 72 hour written notice to terminate the tenancy only when rent has been overdue for five days or more. This notice must state the amount of rent owed and that the rental agreement shall be terminated if rent isn't paid within 72 hours (3 days). [OR 90.394.(1)]

For all other types of tenancy, the landlord can send the tenant a 144 hour written notice to terminate the tenancy only when rent has been overdue for five days or more. This notice must state the amount of rent owed and that the rental agreement shall be terminated if rent isn't paid within 144 hours (6 days). [OR 90.394.(2)]

Tenant Violated Tenancy Agreement or Didn't Perform Duties

If the tenant violates the tenancy agreement in a *significant manner, the landlord can send the tenant a 30 days written notice to terminate the tenancy.

Similarly if the tenant fails to perform his or her duties (as required by Oregon landlord tenant law) in a significant manner, the landlord can also send the tenant a 30 day written notice to terminate the tenancy.

*Significant manner usually refers to situations that affects human health and safety. If the tenant fails to pay for late rent charges or essential services (that he or she is responsible for), it is also considered as a significant violation under Oregon landlord tenant law. [OR 90.392]

This written notice has to state what is the tenant's violation or failure in duty. If the tenant corrects the problem within 14 days, then the tenancy may continue.

Tenant or Related Person was Involved in Illegal Activities on Property

If the tenant (or tenant's occupant or tenant's guest) engaged in illegal activities on the property, the landlord can evict the tenant by sending him or her a 24 hour notice to quit.

Examples of illegal activities include prostitution, hate crime, burglary, illegal production (delivery or possession) of controlled substances. [OR 90.396.(f)]

Unlawful Eviction

According to Oregon landlord tenant law, the landlord CANNOT force the tenant to move out by shutting off utilities (electricity, water, gas, sanitation), changing the locks, taking the tenant's belongings or taking possession of the property by force without a court hearing. [OR 90.375]
   
If the landlord forces the tenant to move out with unlawful methods or shuts off utilities, the tenant can EITHER

  1. regain possession of the property OR
  2. terminate the tenancy agreement

In addition, the tenant can also sue the landlord for two times the amount of actual damages or two months rent (whichever is greater). If the tenancy is terminated, the landlord must return all security deposits and prepaid rents (after deductions) to the tenant.

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Abandonment

When is it Abandonment?

There are no specific Oregon landlord tenant laws on when the property is considered abandoned by the tenant.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When is the property considered abandoned by the tenant? - Tenant hasn't paid rent for X days, Tenant has been absent from the property for X days (without informing the landlord)
  • After the property is abandoned, does the tenant have to continue paying rent until the landlord finds a new tenant?

Dealing with Abandoned Belongings

The landlord has to give the tenant a written abandonment notice stating that the tenant has to retrieve his or her abandoned belongings before the given deadline or else the landlord may sell or dump them. [OR 90.425]

If this notice was delivered in person, the tenant shall have to respond within five days. If the notice was mailed, then the tenant has eight days to contact the landlord. After contacting the landlord, the tenant must collect the items within 15 days.

If the tenant fails to collect the belongings and they are worth more than $1000, the landlord can sell them to pay for the following:

  • Cost of sending the abandonment notice
  • Cost of moving, storing and selling the abandoned belongings
  • Any rent owed by the tenant (after deducting from the security deposit first)

Under Oregon landlord tenant law, the landlord isn't allowed to keep the abandoned belongings for personal use.

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Resources

Oregon Landlord Tenant Law: Oregon Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

Oregon Landlord Tenant Handbook: Landlord Tenant Law in Oregon

Oregon Landlord Tenant FAQ: Oregon State Bar - Landlord Tenant Law FAQ

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