Oregon Habitability Laws

Last Updated: June 27, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

In Oregon, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by OR Rev. Stat § 90-320. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability”, also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.

Quick Facts Answer
Landlord Responsibilities Windows/Doors, Roof/Doors, Hot/Cold Water, Heat, Gas, Electrical/Plumbing, Sanitation Facilities, Stairs/Railings. Floors, Carbon Monoxide Detector
Time Limit for Repairs 7 Days or 30 Days
Tenant Recourse Options
  • Withhold Rent: No
  • Repair & Deduct: Yes, Minor Repairs Only and Cost Less Than $300

Applicable Dwelling Types in Oregon

The implied warranty of habitability in Oregon does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.

Dwelling Type Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single family Yes
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs No
RV parks Not addressed
Mobile home parks Not addressed
Condos Only if person in condo is renter, not owner
Hotels/Motels No

Additionally, rental agreements are not allowed to include any provisions that waive the tenant’s right to live in a habitable residence.

Questions? To chat with an Oregon landlord tenant attorney, Click here

Landlord Responsibilities in Oregon

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Oregon, as indicated below.

Note: Some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability Issue Landlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair. Yes
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks. Yes
Provide hot and cold running water. Yes
Provide working HVAC equipment. Heat only
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting. Yes
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking Yes, if required
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet). Yes
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services). Only required in certain municipalities
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe. Yes
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe. Yes
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean. Not addressed
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials. Not addressed
Provide working smoke detectors Yes
Provide a mailbox. Not addressed
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack. Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances. No
Provide working carbon monoxide detector. Yes
Provide a working washer/dryer. No

Trees

If trees are not trimmed or pruned to decrease the chance of becoming hazardous in the future, the rental property will be considered as unhabitable. A landlord is responsible for the maintenance of trees unless the current tenant has planted the tree.

Pests

Landlords are required to ensure rental units are free from rodents and insects when a new rental agreement begins.

Security

All exterior doors on rental units are required to have locks, and windows must “latch” or have a locking mechanism.

Flooding

Landlords are required to disclose whether a rental unit is in a 100-year flood plain.

Lead-Based Paint

Landlords are also required to disclose the existence of (or potential for) lead-based paint in any rental unit built prior to 1978. However, landlords are not always required to mitigate lead-based paint.

Tenant’s Right to Repairs in Oregon

Landlords are required to make and pay for any repairs to make the unit livable that are not caused by the tenant.

  • Sending Notice – If a tenant request repairs, they must put their request in writing to the landlord. The landlord will have seven days to repair essential services and 30 days to repair all other issues.
  • Landlord Access – Tenants are required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs. However, a landlord must give tenants 24 hours’ notice unless it’s an emergency.
Questions? To chat with an Oregon landlord tenant attorney, Click here

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

If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.

  1. Withhold Rent – In Oregon, tenants cannot withhold rent to get repairs made.
  2. Repair and Deduct – Tenants have the right to pay for a minor habitability defect and repair the issue themselves. Minor habitability defects can include issues such as leaky plumbing or faulty light switches, it does not include issues with mold, asbestos, lead-based paint, or radon. If the landlord fails to make the repair after seven days of notice was given, another notice must be delivered to the landlord stating that the tenant intends to make the repairs. The tenant may deduct the cost of the repair from the monthly rent amount given that the total cost of repair is no more than $300.  To collect the repair cost, the tenant must present a written statement to the landlord with information on who made the repair and the actual cost of the repair. If the landlord fails to provide essential services, the tenant may obtain those essential services and deduct the actual and reasonable cost from the rent.
  3. Substitute Housing – If the landlord fails to provide essential services (i.e., hot water, heat, electricity, etc.) after a reasonable amount of time and the dwelling unit is deemed unsafe or unfit to occupy, a tenant may seek substitute housing during the period of the landlord’s noncompliance. The substitute housing must be comparable to the current dwelling unit in regard to basic elements such as cooking and refrigeration services.
  4. Lawsuit – Tenants do have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
  5. Reporting to Public Officials – Landlords can be reported on a city or county level to housing inspectors if they are found to be in violation of any local housing codes.

Landlord Retaliation in Oregon

In Oregon, it is illegal for a landlord retaliate by increasing rent or decreasing services, terminating the tenancy or threatening to bring an action for possession after the tenant has:

  • Expressed an intention to complain to agencies.
  • Complained to the landlord in good faith.
  • Invoked the protection of any right secured to tenants under any federal, state or local law.

Sources