Changes to the Landlord Tenant Act Update (SB 293)-Signed into Law May 16, 2011

09 June, 2011

New Landlord/Tenant laws were passed by the 2011 Oregon Legislature and will go into effect January 1, 2012.  These changes to the relationship between Landlords and Tenants were designed to be “tweaks” of the system. Landlords and Tenants worked hard before the session began to draft “repairs” to the act to update and clarify issues that both sides were facing. Legislators agreed and we now have the new law.

The changes were focused on four major sections of the law: landlord-tenant operations, domestic violence, carbon monoxide detectors, and foreclosures of rental properties.    I have tried to keep this as simple as possible and organize this so you can track the changes made to the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS).  I have only addressed changes to landlord-tenant relations that were included in SB 293.

Landlord-Tenant operations:

ORS 90.230 (1)(a) (clarification for Mobile Home or RV park) allows the landlord to serve either a 30 or 60 day notice. (Note: 60 day notices must be served after 1 year of occupancy)

ORS 90.295(3)(d)  Written notice is to be given to an applicant, prior to application being filled out, that details the  rent and  security deposits a landlord will charge a tenant, (subject to change i.e. given credit history) for the rental of a unit.  These terms may be changed by mutual agreement of the landlord and the tenant before entering into the rental agreement.

ORS 90.295(8) Regarding application fees:  If a landlord rents a rental property to another applicant, the landlord must return the application fees to the non-selected tenants in a reasonable time.  Should the landlord not return the application fees within a reasonable time, the tenant may recover from the landlord, twice the amount of the screening fee charge and $150.

ORS 90.297(2)(a)  A landlord must give every tenant (prior to preparing an application) a written statement that defines the amount of the rent, the fees the landlord will charge and the deposits a landlord will require of a tenant as part of the move-in if the application is approved.

ORS 90.300(3) A written rental agreement must list a security deposit paid by a tenant or required by a landlord.

ORS 90.425 (10)(B)(VI)(iv)(b)(B) Increases threshold from $500 to $1,000 by which landlord may choose to destroy or dispose of personal property left behind by a tenant.

Domestic Violence:

These changes expand the prohibition to prevent a landlord from serving notice of termination, bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession, increasing rent, or decreasing services to victims of domestic violence and their immediate family members. (Note: The most recent changes are in bold in this section.)

ORS 90.449 Domestic Violence. A landlord may not “serve a notice of termination of a tenancy, bring or threaten to bring an action for possession, increase rent or decrease services” to a tenant who is or has been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

ORS 90.453 Definitions as used in the section include:

90.453. (1) As used in this section:

(a) “Immediate family member” means, with regard to a tenant who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, any of the following who is not a perpetrator of the domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking against the tenant:

(A) An adult person related by blood, adoption, marriage or domestic partnership, as defined in ORS 106.310, or as defined or described in similar law in another jurisdiction;

(B) A cohabitant in an intimate relationship;

(C) An unmarried parent of a joint child; or

(D) A child, grandchild, foster child, ward or guardian of the victim or of anyone listed in subparagraph (A), (B) or (C) of this paragraph.

 90.453(2)(a) If a tenant (victim of Domestic Violence) gives a landlord at least 14 days’ written notice, and the notice so requests,  the landlord shall release the tenant and any immediate family member of the tenant from the rental agreement.

(b) The notice given by the tenant must specify the release date and must list the names of any immediate family members to be released in addition to the tenant.

(4) The tenant and any immediate family member who is released from the rental agreement pursuant to subsection (2) of this section is not liable for any rent or damages to the dwelling unit, incurred after the release date.

(5) Other tenants that remain are responsible for rent and damages that might occur in a unit after the DV victim and the immediate family members have vacated the unit.

Clarification wording regarding employees that are temporary occupants (for example: caretakers):

ORS 90.453 Section 9c. ORS 105.117 is added to ORS Chapter 91 ORS 107.117 refers to occupancy by an employee of a resident (such as a health aid or a caretaker).

Carbon Monoxide:

ORS 90.316 – 317 (1) Carbon monoxide detectors are required in rental units where a room, door, ductwork or ventilation shaft is located next to an area where carbon monoxide is produced (such as a garage or a furnace room (for example).

Foreclosures:

ORS 90.367 (1 -5) Should a tenant live in a rental that is foreclosed upon, they may apply prepaid rent or their security deposit to the rent for that month.  Should the foreclosure be remedied and the landlord provides written evidence from a lender or trustee that the property is no longer in foreclosure, the landlord may require that the tenant restore the security deposit or prepaid rent.  The tenant has up to two months to restore the deposit of the prepaid rent.

OS90.417(5)  Application of a tenant’s security deposit or prepaid rent to an obligation owed to a landlord in a foreclosure action under 90.367 does not constitute a partial payment of rent.

Read the above carefully and don’t forget to make adjustments to your policies and paperwork so you are ready to go at the beginning of 2012.