Most residential leases and rental agreements in Oregon require a security deposit. This is a dollar amount, usually one month's rent, that's intended to cover damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear, and to cushion the financial blow if a tenant skips out early on the lease without paying. Here’s a summary of Oregon landlord-tenant laws that cover the use and return of security deposits.
Does Oregon law limit how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit?
No. In Oregon, there's no statutory limit on security deposits at the state level. But landlords may not impose or increase a deposit within the first year of a tenancy unless both landlord and tenant agree to modify the rental agreement to allow for a pet or other cause, and the deposit imposition or incresae relates to that modification.
Also, check your city and county laws to see if your municipality has set a cap on security deposits for residential rentals.
To learn more about steps that tenants can take to protect their security deposit after they've paid it, check out Nolo's article Protect Your Security Deposit When You Move In.
What about when a tenant moves out? What is the deadline in Oregon for returning a security deposit?
Under Oregon law, a landlord must return the tenant's security deposit within 31 days after the tenant has moved out.
Learn more about tenants' rights and landlords' obligations when it comes to the return of the security deposit in Nolo's chart Cleaning and Repairs a Landlord Can Deduct from a Security Deposit and Nolo's article Get Your Security Deposit Back.
Is there additional information that Oregon landlords must provide to tenants when it comes to security deposits in Oregon?
Not at the state level in Oregon. But you might want to check your local (county, city, or town) laws to see if your municipality requires landlords to take additional steps when it comes to tenants' security deposits.
Are nonrefundable fees permitted in Oregon?
No, under Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.302.
Where can I look up Oregon law on security deposits?
If you want to look up Oregon law on security deposits -- perhaps if you're writing a letter to your landlord or tenant and want to cite the applicable law -- the relevant statute(s) can be found at Oregon Revised Statutes §§ 90.300, 90.302. Your city or county might have different landlord-tenant and security deposit laws than those at the state level in Oregon. For tips on looking up Oregon state and local laws, check out Nolo's State Laws & Legal Research section.
You may also find useful information in the tenant guide available at http://www.osbar.org/public/legalinfo/1246_RightsDutiesTenants.htm.