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Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say

Melissa Lyken | July 21, 2022

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Summary: Are you late on rent payments? Worried about eviction? Whether you've already received your eviction notice or not, know how to respond. You have rights. Find out if your eviction notice is valid and how you can beat it.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented health and economic crisis, which caused Oregon to declare a state-wide moratorium on terminations of rental agreements and evictions. The Governor signed an executive order on April 1st, 2020, which has been in effect since. Later, Oregon's lawmakers extended the eviction moratorium to June 30th, 2021, as long as the tenant submitted a declaration of hardship. The moratorium ensures that no landlord can:

  • Issue a termination notice for nonpayment of fees, rent, utilities, and other charges
  • Charge penalties for nonpayment
  • Issue a termination notice without cause
  • Initiate an eviction case based on back-rent owed
  • Report tenants to credit bureaus for late rent or fee
  • Initiate an eviction case based on termination without cause
  • File a petition for non-compliance at an eviction court based on non-payment

Since the eviction moratorium only extends to June 30th, 2021, landlords may start evicting tenants at its expiry. Acquainting yourself with Oregon's eviction laws is critical to know your rights and defenses in the light of an eviction.

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Know the Requirements for Evicting a Tenant in Oregon

Generally, eviction proceedings are governed by the Residential Landlord and Tenant chapter of Oregon's Revised Statutes. The legal requirements vary based on the type of tenancy you have and notice the landlord issues. As such, the notice requirements for tenants on a lease agreement are different from tenants on a month-to-month rental agreement.

Also, the notice requirements for eviction based on nonpayment of rent are different from a no-cause eviction. A no-cause eviction occurs when the landlord doesn't give any reason for eviction. Let's take a closer look at the notice requirements for each situation.

Notice Requirements for Rent Arrears

Oregon state laws provide landlords with two options when giving a tenant an eviction notice for nonpayment of rent:

  • The landlord can give a three-day notice if the tenant falls behind on rent payment by eight days. The notice should inform the tenant of the need to pay rent in three days, or the landlord initiates eviction proceedings.
  • The landlord may give a notice on the fifth day after the rent is due and allow the tenant six days to pay the rent or the landlord starts eviction proceedings.

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Notice Requirements for Month-to-Month Tenants

A month-to-month tenancy means the tenant pays rent once a month, and this agreement continues until you or your landlord ends it as there is no lease. If the landlord decides to evict the tenant without cause, they must provide a 90-day notice before the eviction date. The eviction notice should be written stating when the tenancy ends. Note, a landlord can't issue an eviction without cause after the first year of occupancy unless it's an owner-occupied property or building.

In cases where the landlord gives a no-cause eviction notice after a year of tenancy, the notice requirement is 60-90 days. If the tenant has rented an apartment in private rental housing, the landlord doesn't have to provide a reason for ending the tenancy. However, this rule doesn't apply in government-subsidized housing programs.

Also, in a month-to-month rental agreement, a landlord can issue a 24-hour notice to end a tenancy under particular circumstances:

  • If the tenant has injured another person who isn't a member of their household
  • If the tenant damages property intentionally.
  • The tenant signed a written rental agreement that prevents subletting but has rented out space to another person. This rule is only enforceable if the landlord hadn't received rent from the person who isn't part of the rental agreement.
  • A tenant who lied about being convicted for criminal activities on their rental application
  • Committed an outrageous act in the extreme. Oregon's state law doesn't define what an outrageous act entails, but landlords deem it to involve prostitution, violence, promoting prostitution, delivery of drugs, burglary, and intimidation.

However, if the tenant is a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking, the landlord can't issue a 24-hour notice or attempt to evict them.

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Notice Requirements for Lease Violations

Properties are leased for specific periods, usually for six months to a year. The term period determines when the lease can be renewed or terminated. According to Oregon state law, neither the tenant nor the landlord can terminate the lease without cause unless the lease states otherwise. However, the landlord can end the term in case of:

  • Non-payment of the lease or,
  • Violation of the lease agreement
  • Engaging in dangerous behavior intentionally (as discussed above)

According to the law, written lease agreements can't shorten the number of days required for termination, but they can make the notice periods longer. For example, a landlord can give you a 96-hour notice for non-payment. However, if the tenant signed a fixed-term lease that doesn't mention anything about lease termination or renewal, this lease can end without notice from either party.

Tenants can also be evicted for violating rental or lease agreements. Such violations include failure to pay utility bills, late rent charges, or keeping pets when it's not allowed. For these types of breaches, the landlord gives an eviction notice of 30 days explaining the violation.

Once served, the tenant has 14 days to remedy the violation, causing the landlord to lift the eviction charge. If the tenant commits the same violation within six months, the landlord provides 10-day notice before filing an eviction lawsuit. And, this time, the tenant can't halt the eviction proceeding by fixing the violation. If the tenant doesn't fix the violation, the landlord will evict the tenant after 30 days.

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Make the Right Defenses When You're a Tenant Faced with an Eviction Charge

Tenants facing eviction in Oregon can use at least one legal defense to challenge the charge. They can argue the landlord did not follow the outlined eviction procedures in the Oregon Revised Statutes.

For example, if the landlord uses self-help procedures like changing locks on the door, they can't evict you legally. On the contrary, the tenant should sue the landlord for damages, stop the eviction lawsuit and force the landlord to start the process from the beginning. In Oregon, landlords can only evict a tenant by obtaining a judgment from the court.

If the landlord has filed a complaint without issuing a notice, the tenant can use the lack of notice as a defense during the lawsuit. Keep in mind; the defense doesn't stop the landlord from serving a justified eviction. If the landlord rectifies the mishaps, they can issue the eviction notice, which allows a limited time to vacate the rental unit.

Oregon eviction laws are pretty vast, but with this insight, you now know a thing or two about when and why you can be evicted from a rental unit.

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