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).
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.
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.
What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in Oregon?
Oregon tenants are responsible for repairingany damage they cause to the propertywhich 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 repairsby 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 daysto 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 landlordscannot 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 aresometimes required to pay for alternative accommodationwhile 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 cancancel the rental agreementif the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs, in many situations. They might alsosue for damagesorget an injunctionto force repairs.
Can the Tenant Withhold Rent in Oregon?
Oregon tenants cansometimes 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 tenantscan arrange for repairs and deductfrom 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 tenantscan break their lease30 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 lease48 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 tenantscan sueto 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 tenantscan report landlords for code violationsthat 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.
It’s illegal for Oregon landlords to retaliate withraised rent,reduced services,orthreatened evictionagainst 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.
“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.”
“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.”
“The tenant may not terminate or recover damages under this section for a condition caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant or other person on the premises with the tenant’s permission or consent.”
“Except as provided in this chapter, the tenant may recover damages and obtain injunctive relief for any noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or 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 shall not be entitled to recover damages for a landlord 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) if the landlord neither knew nor reasonably should have known of the condition that constituted the noncompliance and: (a) The tenant knew or reasonably should have known of the condition and failed to give actual notice to the landlord in a reasonable time prior to the occurrence of the personal injury, damage to personal property, diminution in rental value or other tenant loss resulting from the noncompliance; or (b) The condition was caused after the tenancy began by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of someone other than the landlord or a person acting on behalf of the landlord.”
“If the failure to supply an essential service makes the dwelling unit unsafe or unfit to occupy, [the tenant may] procure substitute housing during the period of the landlord’s noncompliance, in which case the tenant is excused from paying rent for the period of the landlord’s noncompliance. In addition, the tenant may recover as damages from the landlord the actual and reasonable cost or fair and reasonable value of comparable substitute housing in excess of the rent for the dwelling unit. For purposes of this paragraph, substitute housing is comparable if it is of a quality that is similar to or less than the quality of the dwelling unit with regard to basic elements including cooking and refrigeration services and, if warranted, upon consideration of factors such as location in the same area as the dwelling unit, the availability of substitute housing in the area and the expense relative to the range of choices for substitute housing in the area. A tenant may choose substitute housing of relatively greater quality, but the tenant’s damages shall be limited to the cost or value of comparable substitute housing.”
“If contrary to the rental agreement or 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 landlord intentionally or negligently fails to supply any essential service, the tenant may give written notice to the landlord specifying the breach and that the tenant may seek substitute services, diminution in rent damages or substitute housing. After allowing the landlord a reasonable time and reasonable access under the circumstances to supply the essential service, the tenant may procure reasonable amounts of the essential service during the period of the landlord’s noncompliance and deduct their actual and reasonable cost from the rent.”
“(1) As used in this section, “minor habitability defect”: (a) Means a defect that may reasonably be repaired for not more than $300, such as the repair of leaky plumbing, stopped up toilets or faulty light switches. (b) Does not mean the presence of mold, radon, asbestos or lead-based paint. (2) If, contrary to ORS 90.320 (Landlord to maintain premises in habitable condition), the landlord fails to repair a minor habitability defect, the tenant may cause the repair of the defect and deduct from the tenant’s subsequent rent obligation the actual and reasonable cost of the repair work, not to exceed $300.”
“Prior to causing a repair under subsection (2) of this section, the tenant shall give the landlord written notice: (A) Describing the minor habitability defect; and (B) Stating the tenant’s intention to cause the repair of the defect and deduct the cost of the repair from a subsequent rent obligation if the landlord fails to make the repair by a specified date. (b) The specified date for repair contained in a written notice given to a landlord under this subsection must be at least seven days after the date the notice is given to the landlord. (c) If the landlord fails to make the repair by the specified date, the tenant may use the remedy provided by subsection (2) of this section. (d) Service or delivery of the required written notice shall be made as provided under ORS 90.155 (Service or delivery of written notice).”
“Any repair work performed under this section must be performed in a workmanlike manner and be in compliance with state statutes, local ordinances and the state building code. (b) The landlord may specify the people to perform the repair work if the landlord’s specifications are reasonable and do not diminish the tenant’s rights under this section. (c) The tenant may not perform work to repair the defect. (d) To deduct the repair cost from the rent, the tenant must provide to the landlord a written statement, prepared by the person who made the repair, showing the actual cost of the repair.”
“A tenant may not cause the repair of a defect under this section if: (a) Within the time specified in the notice, the landlord substantially repairs the defect; (b) After the time specified in the notice, but before the tenant causes the repair to be made, the landlord substantially repairs the defect; (c) The tenant has prevented the landlord from making the repair; (d) The defect was caused by a deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant or of a person on the premises with the tenant’s consent; (e) The tenant knew of the defect for more than six months before giving notice under this section; or (f) The tenant has previously used the remedy provided by this section for the same occurrence of the defect.”
“If the tenant proceeds under this section, the tenant may not proceed under ORS 90.360 (Effect of landlord noncompliance with rental agreement or obligation to maintain premises) (1) as to that breach, but may use any other available remedy in addition to the remedy provided by this section.”
“If contrary to the rental agreement or 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 landlord fails to supply any essential service, the lack of which poses an imminent and serious threat to the tenant’s health, safety or property, the tenant may give written notice to the landlord specifying the breach and that the rental agreement shall terminate in not less than 48 hours unless the breach is remedied within that period. If the landlord adequately remedies the breach before the end of the notice period, the rental agreement shall not terminate by reason of the breach. As used in this subsection, ‘imminent and serious threat to the tenant’s health, safety or property’ shall not include the presence of radon, asbestos or lead-based paint or the future risk of flooding or seismic hazard, as defined by ORS 455.447 (Regulation of certain structures vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis).”
“Except as provided in this section, a landlord may not retaliate by increasing rent or decreasing services, by serving a notice to terminate the tenancy or by bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession after: (a) The tenant has complained to, or expressed to the landlord in writing an intention to complain to, a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of any of the following concerning a violation applicable to the tenancy: (A) A building, health or housing code materially affecting health or safety; (B) Laws or regulations concerning the delivery of mail; or (C) Laws or regulations prohibiting discrimination in rental housing; (b) The tenant has made any complaint to the landlord that is in good faith and related to the tenancy; (c) The tenant has organized or become a member of a tenants’ union or similar organization.”
“Except as provided in this section, a landlord may not retaliate by increasing rent or decreasing services, by serving a notice to terminate the tenancy or by bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession after: (d) The tenant has testified against the landlord in any judicial, administrative or legislative proceeding; (e) The tenant successfully defended an action for possession brought by the landlord within the previous six months except if the tenant was successful in defending the action only because: (A) The termination notice by the landlord was not served or delivered in the manner required by ORS 90.155 (Service or delivery of written notice); or (B) The period provided by the termination notice was less than that required by the statute upon which the notice relied to terminate the tenancy; or (f) The tenant has performed or expressed intent to perform any other act for the purpose of asserting, protecting or invoking the protection of any right secured to tenants under any federal, state or local law.”
“As used in subsection (1) of this section, “decreasing services” includes: (a) Unreasonably restricting the availability of or placing unreasonable burdens on the use of common areas or facilities by tenant associations or tenants meeting to establish a tenant organization; and (b) Intentionally and unreasonably interfering with and substantially impairing the enjoyment or use of the premises by the tenant.”
“Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (3) of this section, a landlord may bring an action for possession if: (a) The complaint by the tenant was made to the landlord or an agent of the landlord in an unreasonable manner or at an unreasonable time or was repeated in a manner having the effect of unreasonably harassing the landlord. A determination whether the manner, time or effect of a complaint was unreasonable shall include consideration of all related circumstances preceding or contemporaneous to the complaint; (b) The violation of the applicable building or housing code was caused primarily by lack of reasonable care by the tenant or other person in the household of the tenant or upon the premises with the consent of the tenant; (c) The tenant was in default in rent at the time of the service of the notice upon which the action is based; or (d) Compliance with the applicable building or housing code requires alteration, remodeling or demolition which would effectively deprive the tenant of use of the dwelling unit.”