The Oregon Residential Landlord-Tenant Act clarifies and defines the legal relationship between landlords and tenants. Many common areas of contention between landlords and their renters are addressed in the Act, including security deposits, evictions and tenant privacy. The Oregon law also addresses the rights of mobile home owners, houseboat owners and those who are living in a motel or hotel.
Landlords Rights & Responsibilities
Landlords have the right to receive their rent on time and to evict tenants who fail to pay rent as agreed. Landlords also have the right to access a rental unit in order to show it to a potential buyer, conduct an inspection or make necessary repairs. However, unless there is an emergency, or the tenant has submitted a written request for repairs within the past seven days, the landlord must give a tenant 24 hours notice that she plans to enter the rental home.
There is no limit on security deposit amounts in Oregon, but landlords are obligated to return the security deposit to a tenant no later than 31 days after both the rental agreement has ended and the tenant has moved out. Landlords have the right to deduct the costs of cleaning or repairing a rental unit that has been damaged, but must itemize these costs in writing and must submit this list to the tenant.
Tenant Rights & Responsibilities
Tenants have the right to enjoy "peaceful possession" of their rental unit. Landlords cannot routinely bother or disrupt tenants by coming into the rental home without legitimate reason and without giving the tenant advance warning. At the same time, tenants have the responsibility to allow the landlord reasonable access to the rental unit when the landlord actually needs to be there.
Tenants also have the responsibility to pay their rent on time, to not damage the rental unit (or permit guests to cause damage to the unit), and to not violate the terms of their rental agreement. Tenants who attempt to break their rental agreement by moving out early are subject to a lawsuit from their landlord to claim any rent due under the lease or rental agreement.
Motels and Hotels
The rights given to tenants under the Oregon Residential Landlord and Tenant Act can, in some cases, be extended to those who live in motels and hotels. If a resident is not a "transient," she has the same protections as other tenants under the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. A resident of a hotel or motel can only be designated a "transient" if all of the following criteria apply: room rates are charged on a daily basis; payments are due every two weeks or less; the room is cleaned by a maid and linen is changed at least once in a two-day period; the resident has lived there for less than 30 days; and a resident who has been a guest of the hotel for less than five days has a business address or home elsewhere.
Mobile Home Parks and Houseboats
Owners of houseboats (also known as "floating homes") or mobile homes, who rent space in a moorage or mobile home park, are entitled to some special protections under the Oregon law. Moorage or park owners must give houseboat or mobile home owners 30-day notice if they plan to evict them for late rent or a violation. If the problem is corrected within that 30-day period, the tenant can remain in the moorage or park. If the same problem comes up again within a 12-month period, the owner can give the tenant 30 days notice to leave, and does not have to give the tenant the opportunity to correct the issue. If the owner of a mobile home park or moorage intends to close the property, she must give residents 365 days notice, give 180 days notice and both find a new place for the tenants to live and pay for their relocation.
An eviction in Oregon can only be ordered by a judge. Prior to filing for an eviction, a landlord must give or mail written notice to the tenant asking the tenant to move out or else face eviction proceedings. Depending on the reason for the eviction, the amount of notice needed can vary between 24 hours (for very serious problems such as criminal behavior or threats) to 30 days (to terminate a month-to-month tenancy or because of lease agreement violation). Landlords are not at liberty to lock tenants out of their units nor can they shut off a tenant's utilities to get him to leave. A tenant has the right to attend a court hearing to explain his side of the story to a judge. If the judge orders an eviction, only the sheriff can physically remove a tenant from the premises.