What was changed/added to the Oregon Landlord/Tenant Act at the start of the new year? Well not much, but nonetheless its very important to always make note of new law updates.
First, Changes to Non-Compliance fees. Tenants with service/ assistance animals (previously not considered pets) can be charged a fee for failure to clean up waste on the premises (other than inside the rental unit). Also tenants with unauthorized pets can be charged a non compliance fee of up to $250, upon failure to cure the issue 48 hours after the first notice has been served.
Next, Changes to Renters Insurance. Landlords can now require the tenants to list them as an “interested party” on the tenants renter’s insurance policy. That status authorizes the insurer to notify the landlord if the policy is cancelled, non-renewed, has a reduction of coverage or interested party status revoked.
Third, Pass Through of Public Service Charges and HOA Fees. Now service charges that a local government may impose on a property or include in a utility bill (such as street maintenance, transportation improvements, public transit, and public safety and park fees) can be charged to the tenant residing at the address upon which the public service charge are imposed. The bill clarifies that the public service charge cannot include property taxes, income taxes, business license fees or dwelling inspection fees. Landlord must bill tenant within 30 days of receipt of the provider’s bill. A 60-day written notice is required to amend an existing month to month rental agreement to add this provision. Landlord cannot hold tenant liable for public service charge billed to previous tenant. The non-compliance fee for failure to pay utility or public service charges cannot be imposed unless the payment is more than 30 days past due. Landlord will also now be able to bill the tenant for applied HOA move-in and move-out charges when imposed on the owner.
Also, Fire Sprinklers in Rental Housing. Language was added that forbids the tenant from removing, obstructing, or tampering with a sprinkler head.
Fifth, Tenant Damage Liability. Language was added that specified that the tenant is not responsible for damage that results from acts of God, or conduct by a perpetrator relating to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Landlord may require tenant to provide verification that the tenant or member of the tenant’s household is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking as provided by ORS 90.453
Sixth, Application of Payments and Avoiding Waiver. If a rental agreement includes an application of payments provision, notwithstanding that provision, the statutes provide the following order will be applied: Outstanding rents from prior rental periods, Rent from current rental period, utility or service charges and late rent payment charges and fees.In connection with the change to the application of payments, new provisions were added to avoid waiver when a tenant has failed to pay amounts owed to the owner for damage to the premises, utility charges, fees or deposits. To avoid waiver, prior to accepting three rental payments, the owner must issue a written notice to the tenant which specifies the description for the basis of the claim, the amount of money owed that constitute the violation, that the tenant is required to correct the violation by paying the money owed and that the continued nonpayment of the money owed that constitutes a violation may result in a termination of the tenancy pursuant to ORS 90.392. Such notice and avoidance of waiver remains effective for 12 months.
Lastly, Bedroom Emergency Access. The landlord has to provide at all times during the tenancy a route of exit from a bedroom, other than the main entrance to the bedroom, for use during an emergency. Failure to comply allows a tenant to recover actual damages and terminate the tenancy by providing a 72-hour notice to the landlord. If a legal, secondary route is provided with 72 hours the tenancy doesn’t terminate, however the tenant can still recover damages. If the landlord doesn’t cure by providing the alternative exit route within 72 hours the tenancy will terminate and the tenant may recover twice the actual damages or twice the periodic rent, whichever is greater. The landlord must then return all security deposits and prepaid rent owed to the tenant within four days after termination.
Thats it! I know this was a very long, unexciting post but its something to be aware of. Even if you have or are looking to hire a property manager its still a good idea as the home owner to be up to date on all of the current law updates and rules that your manager SHOULD be following. Its always better to address and resolve mistakes or misunderstandings before they get out of hand and become a major headache!