A landlord must carefully follow all the rules and procedures set forth by Oregon law when evicting a tenant in Oregon. Otherwise, the eviction may not be valid. This article will explain the basic rules and procedures landlords and property managers must follow when evicting a tenant in Oregon.
If a landlord wishes to evict a tenant before the tenant’s lease or rental agreement has expired, the landlord must have legal cause. Legal cause is defined by Oregon law, and the landlord can only evict the tenant for one of the reasons allowed under Oregon law. The most common legal cause for eviction is the tenant's failure to pay rent. However, under Oregon law, the landlord can also evict the tenant for violating the lease or rental agreement or committing an illegal act on the premises of the rental unit (among other things). The first step in evicting the tenant for one of these reasons is to terminate the tenancy. This is done by giving the tenant notice. The type of notice will depend on the reason for the eviction.
See Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.396 for a more complete list.
If a landlord does not have legal cause to evict a tenant, then the landlord must wait until the tenancy has expired before expecting the tenant to move out of the rental unit. In some cases, the landlord may still need to give the tenant written notice to move, such as with a month-to-month tenancy.
If the landlord wishes to end a month-to-month tenancy but does not have legal cause to evict the tenant, then the landlord can give the tenant a 30-day notice. This notice will inform the tenant that the month-to-month tenancy will end in 30 days from the date of the notice and that the tenant must move out of the rental unit by that time. If the tenant does not move out in time, then the landlord can file an eviction notice against the tenant (see Ore. Rev. Stat. § § 90.427 and 91.070). Oregon Notice Requirements to Terminate a Month-to-Month Tenancy has more information.
If the landlord wishes to end a fixed-term tenancy (such as when the tenant has a lease or other written rental agreement for one year) but the landlord does not have cause to evict the tenant, then the landlord must wait until the tenancy has expired. Unless the lease specifically requires it, the landlord is not required to give the tenant written notice to move by the end of the tenancy. The landlord can expect that the tenant will move by the end of the tenancy, unless the tenant has indicated otherwise.
A landlord may have a valid legal reason to evict a tenant. However, despite that, the tenant may decide to fight the eviction in court. The tenant could also have a valid legal defense, such as the landlord retaliating against the tenant or failing to maintain the premises of the rental unit. The tenant’s decision to fight the eviction could lead to increased costs of the lawsuit for both the landlord and the tenant and allow the tenant more time to remain living in the rental unit. Tenant Defenses to Evictions in Oregon has more information.
Even after a landlord wins an eviction lawsuit against a tenant, the landlord is not authorized to remove the tenant from the rental unit. Only a law enforcement officer with a court order can do that. It is illegal in Oregon for the landlord to ever try to force the tenant to move out of the rental unit. Illegal Eviction Procedures in Oregon has more information on this topic.
The tenant may leave personal property behind at the rental unit after an eviction has occurred. If this happens, Oregon law requires the landlord to store the property in a safe location and then send a written notice to the tenant. This notice must inform the tenant of the property the tenant left behind and that the tenant has 30 days to claim the property. If the tenant does not claim the property within 30 days, then the landlord can dispose of it. The landlord can also charge the tenant for the costs of storing the property (see Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.425).
Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by Oregon law when evicting a tenant; otherwise, the eviction may not be valid. Although these rules and procedures may seem burdensome to the landlord, they are there for a reason. Evictions often occur very quickly, and the end result is serious: the tenant has lost a place to live. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that the tenant has enough time to find a new home.