NOTE: The following information is for reference only and does not constitute the provision of legal advice. Please contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss the specifics of your situation.
THE NEW LAWS DO TWO IMPORTANT THINGS:
1. Limit no-cause evictions. Tenants who have been in their current rental home for at least a year can no longer be evicted without a reason. There are, however, a few exceptions to the limit on no-cause evictions discussed below.
2. Limit how much landlords can increase the rent each year. The new laws limit rent increases to 7%, plus the average amount of inflation for the past twelve months. The rent increase limit only applies to buildings that are 15 years old or older.
WHAT THE NEW LAWS MEAN FOR EVICTIONS:
Under the new laws, the only times a landlord can end a tenancy with a no-cause notice is:
1. During the first year that the tenant has lived in the home; or
2. If the landlord lives on the property and the property has only two units (e.g., a duplex or a house with an ADU where the landlord lives in one of the units). If this exception applies, the landlord can use a no-cause notice no matter how long the tenant has lived in the home and the information below about evictions does not apply. A landlord is still able to issue a 30-day no-cause notice if the tenant has lived in the home less than a year or a 60-day no-cause notice if the tenant has lived in the home for a year or longer. If a landlord accepted an offer to buy the unit from a buyer who will move in, the landlord only has to give 30 days' notice, even if it is after the first year, if the landlord provides proof within 120 days of the offer. Tenants who live in Portland, Milwaukie or Bend may be entitled to a 90-day notice and, in Portland, relocation assistance.
HOW CAN A LANDLORD TERMINATE A TENANCY AFTER THE FIRST YEAR OF OCCUPANCY?
1. If the tenant violated the lease and the landlord issues a "for-cause" notice; or
2. For one of the four specific "landlord-based" reasons listed below.
"LANDLORD-BASED" REASONS FOR AN EVICTION AFTER THE FIRST YEAR OF OCCUPANCY:
1. The landlord intends to either demolish the unit or use the unit for something other than a residence;
2. The landlord intends to make repairs or renovations and the property will be unsafe to live in;
3. The landlord or the landlord's immediate family member plans to move in;
4. The landlord has sold the unit to someone who plans to move in.
HOW MUCH NOTICE MUST A LANDLORD PROVIDE FOR THE ABOVE "LANDLORD-BASED" REASONS?
A landlord must give 90-days’ notice for any of the above four “landlord-based” reasons.
IS RELOCATION ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO TENANTS?
Yes. If the landlord uses any of the above four "landlord-based" reasons to evict a tenant, the landlord must pay the tenant one month’s rent as relocation assistance. There is an exception if the landlord has an ownership interest in four or fewer units. Tenants who live in the City of Portland may qualify for additional relocation assistance under the Mandatory Renter Relocation Assistance Ordinance.
WHAT HAPPENS IF A TENANT VIOLATES THE LEASE?
The new laws do not change how a landlord can end a tenancy if a tenant violates the lease. If a tenant misses a rent payment or violates the lease, the tenant can still be evicted with a "for-cause" notice.
WHAT PROTECTIONS ARE AVAILABLE FOR TENANTS WHO HAVE LIVED IN THEIR HOME FOR LESS THAN ONE YEAR?
A landlord can still issue a no-cause notice if the tenant has lived in the home for less than a year. The landlord may end the tenancy (or refuse to renew a fixed-term lease) with a 30-day notice. There is no relocation assistance with these notices under the state law. Tenants who live in the City of Portland may qualify for additional relocation assistance under the Mandatory Renter Relocation Assistance Ordinance.
AFTER THE FIRST YEAR, DOES IT MATTER IF A TENANT HAS A FIXED-TERM OR MONTH-TO-MOTH LEASE?
Yes. Under a fixed-term tenancy, if the tenant violated the lease three times during the past 12 months, the landlord can refuse to renew the lease if the tenant has lived there longer than a year and if the landlord gave the tenant a written warning following each of the three violations. Each warning must explain the lease violation; and tell the tenant that the landlord may terminate the tenancy at the end of the lease if there are three violations within 12 months of the lease ending. If the landlord uses this type of termination, the landlord must give the tenant a 90-day notice of the termination, and no relocation assistance is required. This type of termination notice may not be used if the tenant has a month-to-month lease.
HOW FREQUENTLY AND BY HOW MUCH CAN A LANDLORD RAISE THE RENT?
A landlord may not increase the rent during the first year of tenancy. After the first year, landlords may not increase the rent above 7% plus the average amount of inflation over the past twelve months. Landlords must give the tenant 90-day notice of any rent increase. All tenants living in buildings at least 15 years old or in mobile home parks (including tenants who own their home and rent a space in a park) are protected. Renters living in subsidized affordable housing properties are not covered by the limits on rent increases, but they have other protections that limit their rent amount.
WHEN DO THE NEW LAWS TAKE EFFECT?
These laws are in effect now. Fixed-term tenancies entered into before February 28, 2019, no matter when they expire, do not need to comply with the new law until after they are renewed. This means that a landlord can choose to not renew the fixed-term lease a tenant was in on February 28, 2019 for no cause, regardless of how long the tenant has lived there. All rent increase notices issued on or after February 28, 2019 must follow the new rent increase law. Rent increase notices that were issued before February 28, 2019 (even if they go into effect after that date) do not need to follow the new rent increase law.