Oregon Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Oregon Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Last Updated: June 28, 2023

In general, a landlord in Oregon has to repair any issues at a rental property that could affect a tenant’s health or safety. The landlord must repair issues within 30 days of getting written notice from the tenant about the needed repairs (seven days, for essential services like heating and electricity).

Oregon Landlord Responsibilities for Repairs

Oregon landlords are responsible for keeping all of the following in good working condition, if the landlord and tenant haven’t made a specific special agreement otherwise:

  • Plumbing (including adequate sewage disposal).
  • Weatherproofing.
  • Required utilities.
  • Provided electrical lighting.
  • Heating.
  • Hot water.
  • Drinkable water.
  • 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.
  • Provided appliances.
  • Common areas.
  • Features that affect health, safety, or habitability.

If any of the above stops working properly, and the tenant isn’t at fault for the damage, the landlord is the one responsible for making the repairs necessary to fix it.

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What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in Oregon?

Oregon tenants are responsible for repairing any damage they cause to the property which affects health and safety.

On a case by case basis, the landlord and tenant can agree in writing for the tenant to handle specific maintenance. This has to be separate from the lease, and the tenant must receive specific compensation in exchange for agreeing to do repairs that would otherwise be the landlord’s responsibility.

Requesting Repairs in Oregon

Oregon tenants must request repairs by providing the landlord written notice about the issue that needs repair. If the tenant wants to be able to cancel the lease if the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs, the request must state the specific date (usually at least 30 days away) for cancellation.

An example of language a tenant might use to state these intentions is: “If the issue isn’t fixed within 30 days, the renter will exercise his right to cancel the rental agreement as of [DATE], which is over 30 days from delivery of this notice.

How Long Does a Landlord Have To Make Repairs in Oregon?

Oregon landlords have 30 days to make most repairs after getting proper written notice about an issue from the tenant. For essential services like heating and electricity, this time is reduced to seven days.

Can the Landlord Refuse To Make Repairs in Oregon?

Oregon landlords cannot refuse to make necessary repairs. However, if the tenant doesn’t report issues within a reasonable time, or if issues are caused by someone else’s deliberate or negligent actions, the landlord can’t be sued for refusing to repair. The tenant can only cancel the lease in response.

Do Landlords Have To Pay for Alternative Accommodation During Repairs in Oregon?

Oregon landlords are sometimes required to pay for alternative accommodation while they conduct repairs. When a rental property becomes uninhabitable because the landlord fails to supply an essential service like heating or electricity, the tenant may move to equivalent alternative accommodation. The landlord is responsible for the cost.

Tenant’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Oregon

Oregon tenants can cancel the rental agreement if the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs, in many situations. They might also sue for damages or get an injunction to force repairs.

Can the Tenant Withhold Rent in Oregon?

Oregon tenants can sometimes withhold rent. If the landlord fails to provide an essential service like heating or electricity, the tenant can withhold rent after written notice as appropriate to pay for the services out of pocket, up to the total amount of rent (and sometimes more, with substitute housing).

Can the Tenant Repair and Deduct in Oregon?

Oregon tenants can arrange for repairs and deduct from the rent. This remedy is available seven days after written notice of an intention to repair and deduct, for minor repairs under $300 value.

The law is detailed, with many requirements and exceptions. For example, the landlord can usually make the tenant use a specific person or company for repairs. As another example, the tenant can’t repair and deduct for mold issues.

Can the Tenant Break Their Lease in Oregon?

Oregon tenants can break their lease 30 days after written notice, for failure to repair issues that weren’t the tenant’s responsibility or other uncorrected breaches of the rental agreement.

Tenants can break their lease 48 hours after written notice, when the landlord fails to supply an essential service like heating or electricity in a way that causes an immediate and serious threat to the health and safety of the tenant.

Can the Tenant Sue in Oregon?

Oregon tenants can sue to force repairs or recover monetary damages, when the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs after proper notice.

Can the Tenant Report the Landlord in Oregon?

Oregon tenants can report landlords for code violations that affect health or safety. Tenants should usually report to the local inspections or code enforcement department. If an inspecting officer finds a violation, the tenant could cancel the rental agreement, or sue to force repairs.

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Landlord Retaliation in Oregon

It’s illegal for Oregon landlords to retaliate with raised rent, reduced services, or threatened eviction against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions:

  • Complaining to the landlord or the government about legal violations related to the rental property.
  • Complaining to the landlord in good faith about issues related to the tenancy.
  • Participating in a tenant organization.
  • Testifying in a court case against the landlord.
  • Winning a court case against the landlord (except on technicalities related to notice requirements), within the last six months.
  • Pursuing rights or remedies given by the law or lease.

The law allows an exception when the landlord can prove a non-retaliatory, good-faith reason for the alleged retaliatory action. For example, a landlord who raises rent proportionately in response to a large increase in property tax can still evict if a tenant refuses to pay the rent.

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