How to Report a Landlord in Oregon for Unsafe Living Conditions
June 28, 2023
When a renter in Oregon can’t obtain necessary repairs, before beginning a court case it’s usually possible to file a report with the proper government departments about the unsafe conditions on the property. Code inspectors have the power to order repairs or fine noncompliant landlords.
What Are Considered Unsafe Living Conditions in Oregon?
In Oregon, unsafe living conditions exist when a rental property doesn’t have safe and working:
Plumbing (including adequate sewage disposal).
Provided electrical lighting.
Floors, walls, ceilings, stairways and railings.
Locks and keys for entrance doors, and latches for accessible windows.
Garbage containers and removal (unless local ordinance or the specific lease terms say otherwise).
Required smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.
Features that affect health, safety, or habitability.
What Should Tenants Do Before Reporting a Violation in Oregon?
In most cases, before reporting a violation, a tenant in Oregon mustnotify the landlord in writingabout the issue and ask him to fix it within 30 days (seven days, for essential services like heating and electricity).
After receiving a complaint, an inspecting officer might contact the tenant for more information. Then the officer will usually inspect the property and cite the landlord for any code violations.
How Can a Tenant Report a Health or Safety Violation in Portland?
A tenant in Portland can report a health or safety violation by calling Property Compliance Services at (503) 823-2633 or using the providedonline form. The portal requires account creation. Provide a location, describe the issue in detail, attach supplemental documents (if available), and submit.
How Can a Tenant Report a Health or Safety Violation in Salem?
A tenant in Salem can report a health or safety violation by calling Code Compliance at (503) 588-6421 or using the providedonline form. The portal requires account creation. Anonymous complaints are not permitted. Provide a location, describe the issue in detail, attach supplemental documents (if available), and submit.
How Can a Tenant Report a Health or Safety Violation in Eugene?
A tenant in Eugene can report a health or safety violation by calling Code Compliance at (541) 682-5819 or using the providedonline form. Certify the correct process, provide personal information, landlord information, and an issue description issue, then submit. Optionally, enter an email address for a copy of the complaint.
What Could Happen to a Landlord After a Complaint Is Made in Oregon?
After a tenant files a complaint about unsafe living conditions in Oregon, an officer may inspect the property. The landlord must fix noted code violations. Otherwise, the landlord could be fined and the local government might file to condemn the property.
“A landlord shall at all times during the tenancy maintain the dwelling unit in a habitable condition. For purposes of this section, a dwelling unit shall be considered unhabitable if it substantially lacks: (a) Effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including windows and doors; (b) Plumbing facilities that conform to applicable law in effect at the time of installation, and maintained in good working order; (c) A water supply approved under applicable law that is: (A) Under the control of the tenant or landlord and is capable of producing hot and cold running water; (B) Furnished to appropriate fixtures; (C) Connected to a sewage disposal system approved under applicable law; and (D) Maintained so as to provide safe drinking water and to be in good working order to the extent that the system can be controlled by the landlord.”
“For purposes of this section, a dwelling unit shall be considered unhabitable if it substantially lacks: (d) Adequate heating facilities that conform to applicable law at the time of installation and maintained in good working order; (e) Electrical lighting with wiring and electrical equipment that conform to applicable law at the time of installation and maintained in good working order; (f) Buildings, grounds and appurtenances at the time of the commencement of the rental agreement in every part safe for normal and reasonably foreseeable uses, clean, sanitary and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents and vermin, and all areas under control of the landlord kept in every part safe for normal and reasonably foreseeable uses, clean, sanitary and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents and vermin.”
“For purposes of this section, a dwelling unit shall be considered unhabitable if it substantially lacks: (g) Except as otherwise provided by local ordinance or by written agreement between the landlord and the tenant, an adequate number of appropriate receptacles for garbage and rubbish in clean condition and good repair at the time of the commencement of the rental agreement, and the landlord shall provide and maintain appropriate serviceable receptacles thereafter and arrange for their removal; (h) Floors, walls, ceilings, stairways and railings maintained in good repair; (i) Ventilating, air conditioning and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, maintained in good repair if supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord.”
“For purposes of this section, a dwelling unit shall be considered unhabitable if it substantially lacks: (j) Safety from fire hazards, including a working smoke alarm or smoke detector, with working batteries if solely battery-operated, provided only at the beginning of any new tenancy when the tenant first takes possession of the premises, as provided in ORS 479.270 (Owner of rental dwelling unit to supply, install and maintain smoke alarm or smoke detector), but not to include the tenant’s testing of the smoke alarm or smoke detector as provided in ORS 90.325 (Tenant duties) (1); (k) A carbon monoxide alarm, and the dwelling unit: (A) Contains a carbon monoxide source; or (B) Is located within a structure that contains a carbon monoxide source and the dwelling unit is connected to the room in which the carbon monoxide source is located by a door, ductwork or a ventilation shaft.”
“For purposes of this section, a dwelling unit shall be considered unhabitable if it substantially lacks: (L) Working locks for all dwelling entrance doors, and, unless contrary to applicable law, latches for all windows, by which access may be had to that portion of the premises that the tenant is entitled under the rental agreement to occupy to the exclusion of others and keys for those locks that require keys.”
“In a city or the county within the urban growth boundary of a city that has implemented multifamily recycling service, a landlord who has five or more residential dwelling units on a single premises or five or more manufactured dwellings in a single facility shall at all times during tenancy provide to all tenants: (a) A separate location for containers or depots for materials designated for recycling collection on the uniform statewide collection list established under ORS 459A.914 (Uniform statewide collection list), adequate to hold the reasonably anticipated volume of each material; (b) Regular collection service of the source separated recyclable materials; and (c) Notice at least once a year of the opportunity to recycle with a description of the location of the containers or depots on the premises and information about how to recycle. New tenants shall be notified of the opportunity to recycle at the time of entering into a rental agreement.”
“Every dwelling unit regulated under ORS chapter 90 [Oregon’s Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant act, applicable to rental properties], every lodging house and every hotel guest room shall contain an approved and properly functioning smoke alarm or smoke detector, installed in accordance with the state building code and rules of the State Fire Marshal.”
“The landlord and tenant may agree in writing that the tenant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks and minor remodeling only if: (a) The agreement of the parties is entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord; (b) The agreement does not diminish the obligations of the landlord to other tenants in the premises; and (c) The terms and conditions of the agreement are clearly and fairly disclosed and adequate consideration for the agreement is specifically stated.”
“Except as provided in this chapter, if there is a material noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or a noncompliance with ORS 90.320 (Landlord to maintain premises in habitable condition) or 90.730 (Landlord duty to maintain rented space, vacant spaces and common areas in habitable condition), the tenant may deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than 30 days after delivery of the notice if the breach is not remedied in seven days in the case of an essential service or 30 days in all other cases, and the rental agreement shall terminate as provided in the notice subject to paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subsection. However, in the case of a week-to-week tenancy, the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than seven days after delivery of the notice if the breach is not remedied.”