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Landlord-Tenant Laws in Oregon

As a renter, you might encounter some tricky situations and issues with the landlord. That’s why it is crucial to know your rights and obligations as a tenant to know how to act and what to expect from the second party in various circumstances.

Although we’ve covered general regulations of landlord-tenant law, here we focus on specifics of Oregon rental laws, so you would know for sure what to do if you find yourself in a predicament renting a place in Oregon

Rental Application

Application fee: not indicated
Application fee refund: non-refundable 
Rental agreement required: Oral or written

When you apply for your prospective rental, it is allowed for a landlord to charge the application fee, which is non-refundable. Though there is no exact maximum amount of application fee established by law, it is stated that the application fee can be used only to cover the cost of the tenant screening, and its amount cannot exceed the landlord’s average cost of screening applicants

According to Oregon landlord-tenant law, your rental agreement can be compiled in either written or oral form. Nevertheless, we highly recommend you to conclude a rental agreement in written form. This simple precaution will help you better understand your rights and obligations as a renter, might prevent some possible misunderstandings with the landlord, and it is much easier to work with in the court, in case dispute is unavoidable. 

Security Deposit

Pet deposit maximum: not indicated
Security deposit maximum: not indicated
Security deposit interest: no
Return deposit deadline: 31 days
List of charges with the basis for the claim: required
Legal reasons to keep security deposit: to cover unpaid rent or property damage 

When it comes to the security deposit regulations, Oregon’s tenant laws are not as renters’ friendly as in some other states. Neither minimum nor maximum limit for the amount of security deposit is indicated, so it depends solely on your landlord (and the rental market generally) to determine its amount. What’s more, while in many states across the US renters are entitled to receive interest from their security deposit, landlord-tenant law in Oregon does not include such provisions. For you, it means that you are not going to receive any interest from your deposit, no matter its amount or time you spend renting a place. 

You should keep in mind that the landlord is obligated to provide you with a receipt when they receive a deposit. 

When it is time for you to move out, you should expect to receive your deposit back within 31 days after the tenancy terminates. There are certain circumstances in which the landlord may retain the full deposit or its part — if you fail to pay rent or cause any damages in the rental. Note that normal wear and tear is not a reason for the landlord to withhold the deposit! Additionally, if the landlord claims that they have to keep a deposit, they must provide you with written notice supporting their claim. 

Another detail you should be aware of if you decide to rent the place in Oregon is the last month’s rent concept. Aside from the security deposit, your landlord is also allowed to require you to pay for the last month before you move in to a new house. However, last month’s rent cannot cover any damages in the rental and should be used solely if you fail to pay the rent.

Security and Comfort

Smoke alarms: required
Carbon monoxide detectors: required if there is a CO source in the house
Rekey requirements: not indicated

One thing remains unchanged in any landlord-tenant law, no matter the state — the landlord has to ensure the rental is habitable and in a safe condition. Landlords must have smoke alarms installed in each rental unit. When it comes to the carbon monoxide detectors, those must be installed in each unit if there is a CO source, such as a fireplace, stove, heater, or any other appliance which uses coal, natural gas, wood, or kerosene.

In this case, a carbon monoxide detector has to be installed in each bedroom (or sleeping area) or within 15 feet of the bedroom door. As a renter, it will be your responsibility to test the CO alarm every six months, replace batteries (which should be provided by the landlord at the time of moving in), and let the landlord know if you notice any malfunction. 

tenant rights in oregon

Rental Payments

Maximum rent: not indicated
Rent increase: allowed once in 12 months, the landlord cannot increase the rent for more than 7% + inflation
Right to withhold rent for failure to provide essential services (such as water, heat, etc.): allowed
Late payment limit: up to 4 days

In 2019, Oregon became the first state in the country to implement a rent control policy. Since then, it is forbidden for landlords to raise the rent more often than one time per year. Also, the increase is capped by the law and cannot exceed 7% plus inflation. The exact amount is calculated every September by the state’s economists. 

If you rent your place week-to-week, the landlord is obligated to give a written notice about the rent increase at least seven days before the aforementioned increase. If it is any other agreement than week-to-week, your landlord has no right to increase the rent before giving you 90-days notice. What’s more, it is utterly prohibited to increase the rent during the first year of renting.

Paying the rent, you should be aware that you can be late on the payment only four days before the landlord can impose late charges or fees. The amount and type of charges should be previously mentioned in your written lease agreement. 

Generally, there are three types of such charges: flat fee, daily fee, and periodical fee. The flat fee can be charged once per rental period, and its amount should be within the boundaries of flat fees charged by other landlords on the market. If the landlord charges you the daily fee, it cannot exceed six percent of the flat fee charged by other landlords on the market. Finally, the periodical fee is charged once every five days and cannot exceed five percent of the rent amount.

Lease Terminations

Notice to terminate lease: from 30 days for a no-cause eviction; 90 days in Portland
Eviction notice for not paying rent: 72 hours notice
Eviction notice for lease violation: from 24 hours depending on the violation type

Landlord-tenant law in Oregon also has complex regulations when it comes to lease termination and eviction. The notice period will depend on your type of tenancy, the reason for contract termination, and even the place, as Portland has different laws than the rest of the state. 

For example, if you rent the place month-to-month, both you and the landlord have to provide each other with the notice at least 30 days before the termination date. However, the situation changes if you rent the place for over a year, as the landlord cannot give you a no-cause eviction, apart from some exceptions (in this case, the notice period will be 60 days in the state and 90 days in the Portland specifically).

When it comes to the eviction process for not paying rent, the landlord has the right to evict you with 72-hour notice if you fail to pay the rent for seven days. If the tenant breaks the rental agreement sub-leasing a place even though it was prohibited, the period of an eviction notice can be 24 hours. 

Disclaimer: Although we have relied on Official State Statutes and other credible sources to find and analyze information for this post, you’re advised to use it as a starting point only and do not consider this article a substitute for legal advice. Some situations are unique, and it is always better to consult with a qualified lawyer or appropriate government agencies.

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