the law protect tenants?
Yes. A state law,
called the "Residential Landlord and Tenant
Act", sets rules that landlords should follow.
These rules apply if you rent a home, apartment, or
room to sleep in, with only a few exceptions.
The rules listed in
this booklet do not apply to the following exceptions:
transient occupancy in a hotel or motel; living in a
place as part of your employment in or around the
rental building, such as a resident manager or
janitor; living in a place you are buying; living on
land rented primarily for the purpose of farming; and
living in certain institutions.
the landlord and tenant laws protect people who are
living in a hotel or motel?
Yes, unless the
renter has a "transient occupancy" in the
hotel or motel. A "transient occupancy" is
where: 1) rent is charged per day and is paid no later
than every two weeks; 2) maid and linen service is
provided at least once every two days; 3) the person
has not lived there more than 30 days; and 4) the
person who has lived there more than 5 days has a
business address or a residence someplace else. All
other people living in a hotel or motel are covered by
the Landlord and Tenant Act
are my rights if I rent space for a mobile home or
Tenants who are
renting space in a manufactured dwelling park or
floating home moorage but who own (or are buying) a
mobile or floating home have more rights than other
tenants. For example, prior to eviction, the landlord
must give you a 30-day written notice listing the
problems. If you correct the problems listed in the
notice during the 30 days, you may stay. If you
violate the same section within 6 months the landlord
can give you a 30-day notice without giving you a
chance to correct the problems. If your landlord is
closing the mobile home park, the landlord must give
365 days' notice in writing or locate another
reasonable space for the same rent, pay for moving
your home and give 180
Tenants who own (or
are buying) a mobile home or floating home but who
rent space that is not part of a manufactured dwelling
park or floating home moorage may be evicted with a
180-day notice without cause.
The Oregon State
Tenants Association (OSTA) works for mobile home
tenants and may be able to help you with information:
Oregon State Tenants'
3791-B River Road, North. Salem, Oregon 97303
There are different
rules for RVs (recreational vehicles). Contact a
lawyer if you have questions.
Note: In some of the
answer sections of this booklet you will see
references to ORS, which stands for Oregon Revised
Statutes. For example, ORS 90.110. These references
are to some of Oregon's landlord-tenant laws. These
statutes can be found in most libraries as a part of a
sixteen-volume set. You do not need to read these laws
to use this booklet.
4. Can a
landlord evict me or refuse to rent to me because of
my sex, race, color, marital status, national origin,
physical handicap, mental handicap, because I have a
guide dog, or because of my source of income?
Not legally. If you
think that the landlord is treating you differently
because you fit into one of these categories, contact
legal services. You can also call the Oregon Bureau of
Labor, Civil Rights Division. In Portland, the number
is 229-5900. In Eugene, 686-7623. In Salem, 378-3296.
It is not legal to
refuse to rent to a blind or deaf person because the
person has an animal needed to help this person.
Landlords cannot charge an additional nonrefundable
fee for a hearing or guide dog.
City ordinances in
Portland and Corvallis also prohibit discrimination
because of a tenant's source of income, for example,
Can a landlord refuse to rent to me or treat me
differently because I have children?
A landlord may not
refuse to rent to you, evict you or treat you
differently because you have children. There is an
exception for certain federally subsidized projects,
projects where all of the tenants are over 62, and
projects where 80% of the the tenants are over 55 and
are given significant services. In all other cases, if
your landlord is discriminating against you because
you have children, you should call legal services or
the Fair Housing Council of Oregon at 1-800-424-3247.
Can a landlord rent to me if I am younger than 18?
Yes. A state statute
says that, if you are at least 16 years old or if you
are pregnant with a child who will live with you, you
can enter into rental agreements and be held
responsible for paying rent and utilities. Minors who
are younger than 16 or who are not pregnant can also
sign a binding rental agreement under some
circumstances. Under common law, all minors are
responsible for the reasonable value of debts related
to necessities, like housing.
7. Can a
landlord refuse to rent to me because I am gay or a
City ordinances in
Portland, Corvallis and Ashland prohibit
discrimination based on sexual orientation. State law
does not. No landlord may refuse to rent to you,
increase your rent, evict you or otherwise treat you
differently because you have HIV disease or because
they think you carry the virus or are likely to
acquire it. This would be discrimination based on
handicap. Some courts may find that private landlords
cannot discriminate against two men or two women
because this would be sex-based discrimination.
Landlords who get federal subsidies should not
discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. If
you feel you have been discriminated against, contact
rights do I have if I live in a Housing Authority
project or other federally subsidized housing?
The rules listed in
this booklet protect you. You have additional rights
set out in your rental agreement, federal law, federal
regulations and court orders. If you have a problem in
federal housing, call the nearest legal services
office as soon as possible.
Tenants in federally
subsidized housing generally pay 30% of their income
as rent or pay the amount set aside in the welfare
grant to pay for housing.
Tenants have a right
to use their federal housing just like they would use
a private home. Tenants may have guests.
9. How do
I get into federally subsidized housing?
You should call both
the housing authority and the resident manager living
in the buildings owned by private landlords to get on
the waiting list. Low-income families and individuals
can be eligible. Eligibility varies from project to
project. Individuals who are homeless, about to be
evicted, living in substandard housing, paying more
than 50% of their income for housing, or involuntarily
displaced, get priority on the waiting list.
If the housing
authority or landlord refuses to put your name on the
waiting list, you may ask for a hearing. If you think
that the landlord does not have a waiting list, that
the landlord does not want to rent to you for any
reason, or if you have questions about federally
subsidized housing, call your local legal services
There are also loans
from the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) or the
United States Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD) that enable low-income and
handicapped people to buy homes without a large down
payment and with low monthly payments. Call FmHA.
Note: When a tenant
sues a landlord for violations of the Oregon
Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, the lawsuit must be
filed (started) within one year of the incident.
Claims based on other laws might have different
my landlord have a right to enter the rented space?
Yes, at reasonable
times. But the landlord must give a 24 hour verbal or
written notice before entering, unless there is a very
good reason for not giving you notice, such as an
emergency or where you have agreed to let the landlord
in without notice. The landlord may give the notice to
you or, if it says so in your written rental
agreement, the landlord can mail the notice and
securely fasten a copy of the notice to your door.
(The date on the postmark of the mailed notice is the
date that you are officially "served.")
The landlord must
also give you notice before entering the yard of a
single-family residence, or any other space rented to
one tenant. (The landlord is allowed to come on the
property to put a notice on the door.)
A repair person hired
by the landlord may also enter, but the landlord must
first give you a 24-hour written notice which tells
you the names of the workers and the work that is to
The landlord and
tenant may agree in writing that if the property is for
sale, the landlord may enter at reasonable times,
without giving notice, to show the premises to
prospective buyers. Both the landlord and tenant must
sign the agreement.
If a landlord enters
the property without following these rules, a tenant
can sue and ask for damages caused by the entry or one
month's rent, whichever is more.