Every property owner in Portland should be aware of the updated Oregon rental laws to understand which rules to implement and adhere to. A comprehensive knowledge of your state's landlord-tenant laws can help you operate your rental business optimally. It can play a significant role in determining the success of your rental business. It can matter if you are an owner in Portland, primarily because the state is tenant-friendly.
Here are a few Oregon rental laws and regulations that all Portland owners should know:
1. Landlord disclosure
Under Oregon law, every property owner has to disclose specific information to their renters. You can disclose the information in the lease or the rental agreement, and you must draw the tenant's attention toward the same. Not uncovering the essential topics can require you to pay hefty financial penalties.
The following disclosures are highly crucial:
a. The name of the owner and the Portland property manager, along with the person authorized to receive notices
b. Pending legal actions
c. The party responsible for paying utility bills
d. Recycling practices
e. Smoking policies of the rental
f. Installation of carbon monoxide alarms
g. Smoke alarms and detectors
h. Flood zones
i. Renters' insurance
j. Payments for homeowner assessments
The Federal law also dictates additional disclosures like asbestos, lead-based paints, or other hazards that may cause health problems for the occupants. In case of health problems caused to the tenants by lead poisoning, the owner may be held liable, as stated in the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, established in 1992.
2. Anti-discrimination laws
Before getting a tenant to occupy your Portland rental property, it is essential to understand the fair housing laws. Your tenant screening process should be free of discriminatory practices. Oregon law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, sexual orientation, religion, sex, marital status, national origin, financial status, source of income, or disability. The law also applies when advertising your rental, collecting rent, or implementing annual raises.
The Civil Rights Division (CRD) of The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) can investigate discrimination allegations against landlords. They examine such claims to verify if there is substantial evidence supporting them. However, you can reject tenancy applicants based on valid reasons like bad credit history, past behavior, negative references from previous householders or managers, history of late rent payments, or other reasons that make them bad tenants.
3. Habitable housing
Each one of the renters occupying your rental in Portland deserves a habitable house. In Oregon, landlords have a legal requirement to provide a habitable living space, governed by OR Rev Stat § 90.320 (2021). The requirement is known as the implied warranty of habitability, which outlines the owner’s and tenant's rights for habitable premises.
As the householder, you are responsible for repairing and installing windows, doors, roof, hot and cold water, gas, heat, electrical, plumbing, stairs, railings, floors, carbon monoxide detectors, and sanitation facilities.
4. Security deposits and deadlines
Oregon rental owners require tenants to pay a specific amount as a security deposit at the start of a tenancy. Under Oregon law, the security deposit can also include last month's rent deposit. The security deposit can be up to half of one month's rent, and you must write the security deposit requirement in the rental agreement along with the amount. In the state of Oregon, owners cannot increase the security deposit within the first year of the tenancy.
5. State rent rules
Oregon ranks among the top least landlord-friendly states, and with stringent laws regulating landlords in Portland, it is essential to follow all the rent-related rules. Portland bans no-cause evictions and restricts rent increases of 10% or more in 12 months.
Owners must provide at least 90 days of notice to the renters in case of rent increases, along with a detailed explanation of the renter’s rights. They are also required to outline a relocation assistance amount if applicable. According to the updated state rental rate law, landlords can increase the rent by 14.6% due to high inflation in 2023. The reason for establishing this rule is Oregon's ongoing housing crunch, which is the most challenging in the country.
According to Oregon law, you must also serve your renters with a notice in writing. You must also ensure that you meet any additional requirements set by local jurisdictions, like the City of Portland relocation ordinance.
6. Oregon rules on late fees
According to ORS 90.260, landlords can impose a certain late charge or fee on delayed rent payments. You can only impose a late fee if they do not receive the payment by the fourth day of the weekly or monthly period of rent. There also needs to be a written rental agreement specifying the tenant's obligation to pay the rent charge.
The amount of the late rate change that a Portland landlord charges are to be reasonable. As per the law, they can charge five percent of the periodic rent payment amount once for each succeeding five-day period, beginning on the fifth day of that rental period. They can continue implementing the late charge till the renter pays the rent in full.
7. Rental agreement with legal clauses
A strong, well-drafted lease forms the basis of every landlord-tenant relationship. Once you have researched the essential Portland and Oregon state rental laws, you can start adding different clauses and disclosures to the lease. Lease clauses serve as a guideline for owners and renters about their rules and responsibilities in legal jargon. Including detailed clauses can ensure that you can follow all the rules while taking action in different scenarios. It can dictate the duration for which the occupant can live in the rental, the amount they must pay, the rules they must follow, and other essential rules for easy governance of occupants.
Owners may find themselves in trouble if they include illegal clauses in the lease and do not fulfill their responsibilities. It can include not making the required disclosures, compromising the property's livability, or imposing unnecessary fees on the occupants. To avoid further troubles with the agreement, you can use a practical and legal lease and rental agreement that informs tenants of their rights and responsibilities.
8. Landlord's access to rental property
Privacy is of utmost importance when it comes to your rental business. No renter wants an owner who does not respect their privacy and exploits their access to the property. Whether you have taken the help of property management services in Portland or are looking after the rental, it is essential to adhere to the Oregon landlord access rules.
Oregon property owners are required to provide a 24 hours notice before entering the rental property. The notice also applies when you want to repair or show the unit to prospective tenants. You can include a clause in the rental agreement that lets the renter know your right of entry.
9. Tenant eviction laws
If your renter is a bad tenant, you may want to evict them. As the owner, the right way to proceed is by giving the renters a written notice and adhering to the duration stated as per Oregon tenant eviction laws. The legal requirement for eviction notices varies depending on the tenancy type. Oregon's laws specifically address week-to-week, month-to-month, and fixed-term tenancies. They also cover tenancies located within a landlord's primary residence.
If you have a month-to-month tenancy with the occupant, you must provide the renter with a written notice. In the city of Portland, landlords must provide a 90 days notice for a no-cause eviction. They can terminate a tenancy without cause for month-to-month tenants. However, this is only applicable during the first year of occupancy. After that, the landlord must have a fair reason to evict the occupant, such as potential demolition of the building, or lease agreement violation by the tenant.
10. Laws about retaliation
Most rental laws in Portland, Oregon, are tenant-friendly, meaning that a landlord cannot retaliate against occupants seeking legal action against them. According to ORS 90.385, Retaliatory Conduct by Landlord, the landlord cannot attempt to raise the rent or evict a tenant for complaining about unsafe living conditions. You cannot serve a notice to terminate the tenancy or threaten to bring an action for possession if your renter has complained in writing their intention to complain to the governmental agency. They may have complained about the condition of your property, violation of the housing code, or violation of laws or regulations concerning discrimination.
As the landlord, you need to be wary of false retaliation claims by the occupants and ensure that you document all repair procedures, rental conditions, and other essential components that demonstrate your efforts to maintain a safe home for the tenant.
It can be challenging to adhere to federal, state, and Portland local laws while running your rental business. You can minimize the hassle by opting for qualified property management services in Portland. As the owner, you can stay updated with the changing rental laws and regulations with the help of your Portland property manager.
PropM can provide assistance with managing your property and help you navigate Oregon laws and regulations. Whether you have a housing unit in Portland, West Linn, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, Wilsonville, Tigard, Happy Valley, Hillsboro, Sherwood, Oregon City, Milwaukie, Clackamas, Gladstone, or Tualatin, we can help you transform it into a profitable venture. We operate throughout the Portland Metropolitan Area, including Multnomah county.
Get in touch with us for assistance regarding Portland and Oregon rental laws and regulations.