Oregon Landlord Tenant Laws
January 31, 2023
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Security deposit receipt
Rental application fee
Pending legal actions
Carbon monoxide alarms
Smoke alarms and detectors
Payments for homeowner assessments
Rent and Fees
Application Fees: Permitted
Rent Control: Yes
Late Fee Limit: Reasonable
Grace Period Minimum: 4 days
Amount Limit: N/A
Return Within: 31 days
|Fair Housing Protections
Source of income
Notice: 24 hours
Permitted Times of Entry: Reasonable
Rent Demand Notice: 10- or 13-day pay-or-quit notice
Notice for Lease Violation: 30-day quit notice with 14 days to cure
Unconditional Notice to Quit: 24-hour quit notice
Pet Violation: 24-hour cure-or-quit notice
Drug-/Alcohol-Free Housing Violations: 48-hour quit notice with 24 hours to cure
Oregon Landlord-Tenant Law
Landlords in all 50 states must include information about lead-based paint hazards in the rental agreements for most properties built before 1978. Sellers and landlords must distribute an EPA-approved information pamphlet called “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” and disclose any known lead hazards in the property. These obligations were established by Section 1018 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.
Security Deposit Receipt
Landlords in Oregon must provide their tenants with a receipt for the security deposit.
Rental Application Fee
Oregon landlords may not charge a rental application fee unless they disclose the following before accepting the payment: the amount of the charge, the screening criteria, the applicant screening process, the applicant’s right to dispute the accuracy of a screening report, the tenant’s right to appeal a negative outcome (if one exists), any nondiscrimination policy, the amount of rent and any deposits, and whether the landlord requires tenants to purchase renter’s insurance.
Pending Legal Actions
If any pending legal actions apply to a dwelling unit less than four dwelling units, the landlord must disclose that circumstance in writing before signing the lease. “Pending legal actions” include an outstanding notice of a default under a trust deed, mortgage, etc.; a pending suit to foreclose a mortgage; a pending declaration of forfeiture; or a proceeding to foreclose a tax lien.
If a tenant chooses to move as a result of one of the above circumstances that the landlord did not disclose, the tenant may recover twice the actual damages or monthly rent, whichever is greater, in addition to all prepaid rent.
If utility services benefit the landlord or other tenants, the landlord must disclose this in writing before the start of the tenancy. Utility charges for common areas must be described in the written rental agreement separately from the charges for the tenant’s individual unit.
For cities or counties within cities that have multifamily recycling services, landlords who own more than five units must notify new tenants of the opportunity to recycle before the start of the tenancy. At least once a year, landlords should send a recycling notice with a description of the location of the receptacles on the premises, including information about how to recycle.
All residential rental agreements must include a disclosure of the premises’ smoking policy. If smoking is only permitted in limited areas, the tenant policy disclosure must identify these areas.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Landlords should provide all new tenants with carbon monoxide alarm testing instructions.
Smoke Alarms and Detectors
Landlords in Oregon must provide all new tenants a written notice with instructions for testing smoke alarms and detectors. This notice should be sent prior to when the tenant takes possession of the premises.
If a unit is located within a 100-year flood plain, the landlord must notify tenants of this fact in the rental agreement. If the landlord fails to do so and the tenant suffers an uninsured loss due to flooding, the tenant may recover actual damages or two months’ rent, whichever is less.
Landlords in Oregon must provide a written statement to prospective and existing tenants disclosing any requirement to purchase renter’s liability insurance. Renter’s insurance policies are regulated by ORS § 90.527.
Payments for Homeowner Assessments
Landlords may charge a fee for a homeowner assessment if the landlord specifies the assessment requirement in the written rental agreement at the start of the tenancy.
Rent and Fees
- Rent Due Date: There is no statute in Oregon specifying when rent should be due.
- Application Fees: Oregon landlords may charge a rental application fee equal to the actual cost of tenant screening or the “customary amount charged by tenant screening companies or consumer credit reporting agencies for a comparable level of screening” (ORS § 90.295(2)).
- Rent Increases: Oregon was the first state in the country to enact statewide rent control. In Oregon, landlords may not raise rent by more than 7%, plus inflation, each year (Senate Bill 608). The maximum annual rent increase accounting for inflation is published by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis each year. The maximum rent increase rate in 2023 is 14.6%.
- Late Fees: Landlords in Oregon may charge a reasonable fee for late rent. The amount of the fee may either be 1) a reasonable flat amount charged once per rental period, 2) A reasonable amount charged on a per-day basis less than 6% of the flat fee, or 3) 5% of monthly rent, charged once for each subsequent 5-day period that rent is late until the tenant pays rent (ORS § 90.260(2)).
- Grace Period: 4 days (ORS § 90.260(1)(a)).
- NSF/Bounced Check Fee Maximum: If the tenant’s rent check bounces, the landlord may charge a fee of $35 (ORS § 30.701(5)).
- Withholding Rent/Repair and Deduct: If a landlord fails to make repairs or supply essential services, the tenant must first notify the landlord and wait a reasonable time. If the landlord fails to remedy the condition within a reasonable time, the tenant may arrange for the repair and deduct the cost from rent (for “minor habitability defects” that cost less than $300), recover damages based on the diminution in the fair rental value of the unit, or, if the unit is rendered unsafe, may find comparable substitute housing and cease rent payments (ORS § 90.365, 90.368).
- Deposit Limit: There is no limit on security deposit amounts in Oregon.
- Interest: Landlords in Oregon are not required to pay interest on security deposits.
- Return Within: 31 days (ORS § 90.300(12)).
- Deposit Location: Oregon security deposit laws do not require landlords to keep security deposits in a separate bank account.
- Withholding: Landlords may withhold funds from the security deposit for unpaid rent, other lease breaches, and damages unrelated to ordinary wear and tear. These deductions must be itemized and delivered to the tenant with the remainder of the security deposit (ORS § 90.300(7, 14)).
Tenant Screening and Fair Housing Protections
- Federal law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability (Title 24 USC § 3601-3607). Oregon state law adds sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, and source of income (ORS § 659A.421).
- Oregon landlords are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (15 USC § 1681), which outlines the responsibilities of landlords to protect tenant credit information. According to the Act, landlords may not share tenant credit information with anyone without a legal reason to view it. They must also investigate disputed information, dispose of credit reports after use in tenant screening, and notify applicants when their credit score or history was the reason for their denial.
- A new law signed in 2021 limits the rights of Oregon landlords to use criminal background checks during tenant screening. Landlords may only consider previous arrest records if the arrest resulted in a conviction or if the charges are pending and presently illegal in Oregon (Senate Bill 291).
- Oregon landlords should follow HUD recommendations for using criminal background checks fairly. This includes avoiding blanket policies for denying applicants with criminal convictions, assessing applicants and their criminal histories on a case-by-case basis, and only denying an applicant when they demonstrate a risk to the safety of other residents or the property.
- Advanced Notice: 24 hours’ (ORS § 90.322(1)(f)).
- Permitted Times: If the tenant submits a written request for maintenance, the landlord may enter without advanced notice or consent. Otherwise, entry must be at a reasonable time. Landlords may enter for inspections, repairs, decorations, alterations, improvements, maintenance, or showings (ORS § 90.322(c)).
- Emergency Entry: In case of an emergency, landlords may enter without prior notice or consent. If the emergency entry is made in the tenant’s absence, the landlord should inform the tenant within 24 hours afterward. This notice should include the date and time of the entry, the nature of the emergency, and the name of the person who entered (ORS § 90.322(1)(b)).
Evictions are complex legal processes often poorly understood by both parties. Before pursuing eviction in Oregon, consider hiring an experienced real estate attorney and be sure to review the Oregon eviction process in more detail.
- Rent Demand Notices:
- Notice for Lease Violation: 30 days to cure or quit. According to eviction laws in Oregon, this notice must specify the violation and state when the lease will terminate. If the violation can be cured, the landlord must give the tenant at least 14 days to do so (ORS § 90.392).
- Unconditional Notice to Quit: 24 hours to quit. This notice applies when the tenant threatens personal injury to someone on the premises, recklessly endangers another person, inflicts substantial damage to the premises more than once, is shown to have provided false information on their rental application within the past year, or commits an act considered “outrageous in the extreme” (such as illegal drug use/manufacturing) (ORS § 90.396).
- Pet Violations: 24 hours to cure to quit. If the reason for the issuance of an unconditional notice to quit is because of the actions of a tenant’s pet, the tenant may cure the violation by removing the pet from the premises within 24 hours (ORS § 90.396(2)).
- Drug-/Alcohol-Free Housing Violations: 24 hours to cure; 48 hours to quit. In a drug- or alcohol-free housing unit, if a tenant residing there for less than two years possesses or shares a substance that is prohibited in the housing unit, the landlord may deliver a 48-hour notice to quit with 24 hours to cure (ORS § 90.398).
Other Laws and Facts About Oregon
- The median rent rate in Oregon is $1,854.
- The median rent rate in Portland is $1,895.
- In Oregon, tenants can sue their landlords for up to $10,000 in small claims court for the return of their security deposit and other damages (ORS § 46.405(3)).