- Landlord Responsibilities. Maintain functioning plumbing system, Heating, electrical lighting, and wiring, sanitation facilities and smoke detectors (read more).
- Making Repairs. Landlords are required to make and pay for repairs for items under their responsibility. They must do so within 30 days (read more).
- Tenant Options. If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, tenants cannot withhold rent, but are permitted to repair and deduct, report the issue to a public official, or file a lawsuit (read more).
- Retaliation. Retaliation against tenants for requesting repairs that affect habitability is illegal under Oregon law (read more).
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?|
|RV parks||Not addressed|
|Mobile home parks||Not addressed|
|Condos||Only if person in condo is renter, not owner|
Additionally, rental agreements are not allowed to include any provisions that waive the tenant’s right to live in a habitable residence.
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|
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.
Landlords are required to ensure rental units are free from rodents and insects when a new rental agreement begins.
All exterior doors on rental units are required to have locks, and windows must “latch” or have a locking mechanism.
Landlords are required to disclose whether a rental unit is in a 100-year flood plain.
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.
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.
Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made
If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.
- Withhold Rent – In Oregon, tenants cannot withhold rent to get repairs made.
- 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.
- 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.
- Lawsuit – Tenants do have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
- 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.
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.