Oregon Landlord Tenant Laws
Oregon is one of the states that has wholly adopted the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. An updated version of the Act was approved in July 2015, much of which has either been adopted into Oregon law or is pending. The information listed here at the time of publication is accurate according to current state statutes, but since changes can come rapidly, it is important to both verify that the state statutes remain accurate and to check with the local city or county to determine if there are additional statutes that may supersede those of the state.
The information published here is not meant to be construed as legal advice. A licensed attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant law should be consulted for any legal matters.
What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in Oregon?
At the state level, Title 10 Chapter 90 covers residential rental agreements, and Title 10 Chapter 91 further defines what constitutes tenancy, including some commercial arrangements. Oregon mostly gives tenant-landlord relationships for businesses and other commercial purposes the flexibility to structure their own leases, however, with much less mandatory regulation than is placed on residential relationships.
Both commercial and residential landlords in Oregon should also familiarize themselves with Volume 3 of the Oregon Revised Statutes, which covers a wide variety of issues relevant to rental agreements such as fencing, lost or abandoned property and special regulations relating to condominiums.
Cities and counties in Oregon also commonly have their own unique regulations that landlords need to be familiar with. For example, since there has been a great deal of development in Portland in recent years, the city has published their own training manual for landlords that covers all the pertinent laws and regulations. Other cities and counties may have similar resources available.
Security Deposit Rules
The state of Oregon allows landlords to ask for a security deposit, and does not set a maximum amount. The landlord is also not required to keep the deposit in a certain type of bank account or to pay interest when returning the deposit, but they must provide the tenant with a receipt. Any security deposit must be returned to the tenant within 31 days of the termination of the lease, however, and if any amount is withheld an itemized list of damages and charges must be provided to the tenant according to Stat. 90.300.
Oregon does allow landlords to ask for a pet deposit under Stat. 90.300, unless the pet is a registered service animal. It is important to note that any amount withheld from a deposit for carpet cleaning must be specifically mentioned in the lease, but there is currently a bill pending in the House (Bill 2689) that would eliminate that requirement if it is passed.
Failure to comply with these requirements allows the tenant to recover twice the amount due to them under Stat. 90.300.
Lease, Rent and Fee Rules
Stat. 90.220 states that rent must be paid by the tenant without notice or demand by the date that was agreed upon in the lease. Rent defaults to being due at the start of each month or week if another date is not specified in the lease. Landlords are not allowed to demand rent from a tenant prior to the first day of the period in which it is due, however. Tenants must also be given a means of paying their rent at the unit they are inhabiting, such as a mailbox or secured drop box, or by meeting the landlord at the premises. Regarding raises in rent, the landlord must provide 30 days notice in the case of monthly leases and seven days notice in the case of weekly leases.
Statutes 90.220, 90.260 and 90.300 further cover the payment of rent and fees. A four-day grace period is required from the initial date that the rent is due before any fees can be charged. If payment is made after the grace period, the law allows landlords to collect a reasonable flat fee provided this fee was made clear in the lease. If a flat fee has been spelled out in the lease and was agreed to by the tenant, the landlord can instead opt to charge a daily late fee equal to no more than 6% of the monthly flat fee. The landlord also has the option of charging a fee equal to 5% of the monthly rent every five days that the rent remains unpaid past the grace period. Landlords cannot combine these fees, however; they must choose one of the three, and if a flat fee was not spelled out in the lease, the only option left is to collect the fee equal to 5% of the month’s rent once every five days.
Returned check fees are restricted to no more than $35 plus whatever amount the bank charged the landlord for processing of the check. Landlords are allowed to recover attorney and court fees under Stat. 90.225. If a tenant abandons their lease, the landlord is allowed to collect 1.5x the monthly rent for the duration of the lease. Victims of domestic violence and members of the military who are deployed are allowed to break their leases early with proper documentation, however.
Stat. 90.365-368 permit tenants to withhold rent if a landlord does not provide vital services like heat, and allow them to deduct from the rent for the cost of emergency repairs. Landlords must also show a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages to the tenant.
Notice and Entry Rules
The advance notice that a tenant must give before moving out increases if the tenant has been at the dwelling for more than one year, according to Stat. 90.427 and 91.070. In the first year, the requirement is 30 days of advance notice for monthly leases and seven days for week-to-week leases. These amounts increase to 60 days and 10 days respectively once the tenant has occupied the residence for at least a year. For yearly leases that have no fixed end date, the tenant must always provide 60 days notice.
Stat. 90.396-398 spell out the emergency circumstances in which the landlord can break the lease with only 24 hours notice. If the tenant commits a drug or alcohol violation, commits a crime or is demonstrably a danger to themselves or others, the landlord can terminate the lease with a day’s notice.
Termination of a lease due to sale of the property has some complex circumstances that are covered in Stat. 90.427 and 91.070. The unit that the tenant is dwelling in must have been purchased separately from any other unit on the property, and the purchaser must intend to occupy the unit as their primary residence. The landlord must then ensure they provide notice of their intent to sell to the tenant within 120 days after accepting the offer. The landlord may then serve either a 30-day or 60-day notice to the tenant depending on circumstances spelled out in the referenced statutes.
Stat. 90.392-394 cover termination of leases for nonpayment or violation. In the case of weekly leases, the landlord must give the tenant 72 hours notice to pay the rent. For leases that last for a month or longer, the four-day grace period is in effect from the first payment due date. If the landlord gives notice on the fifth, sixth or seventh days of the rental period, they must give 144 hours notice in which the tenant can pay the rent plus any fees. If the notice is given on the eight day or later, 72 hours notice can be served.
Short-term and emergency notice situations are covered under Stat. 90.322. 24 hours notice is required for entry under normal circumstances, including showing the unit. Landlords may enter immediately in the case of emergency, but if the tenant is not present, they must leave notice that they entered within 24 hours of entering. Landlords are also allowed to enter to verify the tenant’s continued occupancy if they are observed to be absent for more than seven days in a row. Lockouts and utility shutoffs are not allowed under Oregon law.
Required Disclosures and Notes
Landlords must disclose the name and address of property owners and managers and give notice if the dwelling is within a 100-year flood plain. The landlord must also provide the tenant with a copy of the lease under Stat. 90.220.
Domestic violence victims have some special rights under Oregon law, as spelled out by Stat. 90.453. Domestic violence victims must establish their status with the landlord by filling out the VAWA Domestic Violence Certification, which is then appended to the lease. Once this is done, domestic violence victims have the right to request the landlord change the locks at any time, though they pay the expense. They are also entitled to end the lease with 14 days notice.
Small Claims Courts
The Oregon Small Claims Court limits claims to $10,000 at the state level, but some counties have established smaller limits. These counties are linked below.