Oregon Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • 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 & aren’t included.

Dwelling TypeLandlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single familyYes
Multi-familyYes
Fraternities/Sororities/ClubsNo
RV parksNot addressed
Mobile home parksNot addressed
CondosOnly if person in condo is renter, not owner
Hotels/MotelsNo

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

Landlord Responsibilities

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 IssueLandlord 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/cookingNot addressed
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 detectorsYes
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

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.

Making Repairs

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 then have least seven, but not more than 30, days to repair the issue.
  • 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.

  1. Withhold rent – In Oregon, tenants cannot withhold rent in order to get repairs made.
  2. Repair and deduct – Tenants have the right to pay for the repair themselves and deduct the cost of the repair from the monthly rent amount given that the total cost of repair is no more than $300. 
  3. Lawsuit – Tenants do have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
  4. 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, 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