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RENTING IN OREGON - When you rent a house or an apartment in Oregon, you enter into a legal contract with someone. The contract begins what is known as a landlord-tenant relationship. As a Oregoon tenant, you have certain rights and responsibilities. First, you have the right of exclusive possession, which means that even though the landlord owns the property, you generally have the right to your privacy. No one may invade your “home” without legal authority.

OREGON LANDLORD RIGHT OF ENTRY
Your landlord must give you at least 24 hours notice before entering the property unless there is an emergency, unless you have requested repairs or maintenance (without designating certain dates and times), or unless the contract permits the landlord to enter the grounds (but not the dwelling unit) for yard maintenance.
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Oregon Landlord Tenant

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1. Does 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.

2. Do 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

3. What are my rights if I rent space for a mobile home or houseboat?

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' Association,
3791-B River Road, North. Salem, Oregon 97303 Telephone: 393-7737

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.

Discrimination Against Tenants:

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.

ORS 90.390

City ordinances in Portland and Corvallis also prohibit discrimination because of a tenant's source of income, for example, welfare.

5. 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.

6. 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 lesbian?

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 legal services.

 

Federally Subsidized Housing:

8. What 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 office.

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 deadlines.

25. Does 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 be done.

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. 

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