The Eviction Process in Oregon: Rules for Landlords and Property Managers

An overview of Oregon eviction rules, forms, and procedures.

Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures set forth by Oregon law when terminating a tenancy and evicting a tenant in Oregon. This article will explain the basic rules and procedures landlords and property managers must follow when evicting a tenant in Oregon. Landlords and tenants in Portland should also check Portland-specific landlord-tenant laws. Note that Oregon has a statewide rent control and tenant protection law. (Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 90.323, 90.427, 90.600 (2019).)

Notice for Termination With Cause

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. 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.

  • Notice for Failure to Pay Rent: If the tenancy is week-to-week, the landlord must give the tenant notice (in writing) that the rent has not been paid, and, if it is not paid within 72 hours of the notice, the landlord will terminate the tenancy. The landlord can’t give the tenant this notice any sooner than the fifth day of the rental period, including the first day the rent is due. (Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.394(1).)

For all tenancies other than week-to-week:

    • 72 Hours’ Notice to Pay Rent: On the eighth day after rent is due and owing, the landlord can give the tenant 72 hours’ written notice to pay rent. This notice must inform the tenant that the landlord will terminate the tenancy unless the tenant pays rent within the 72-hour period. (Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.394(2)(a).) The notice must specify the amount of rent that must be paid and the date and time by which the tenant must pay the rent. (Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.394(3).) If the tenant does not pay rent, then the landlord can go to court and file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant.
    • 144 Hours’ Notice to Pay Rent: On the fifth day after rent is due and owing, the landlord can instead give the tenant 144 hours’ written notice to pay rent. This notice must inform the tenant that the landlord will terminate the tenancy unless the tenant pays rent within 144 hours of receiving the notice. (Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.394(2)(b).) The notice must specify the amount of rent that must be paid and the date and time by which the tenant must pay the rent. (Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.394(3).) If the tenant doesn’t pay, then the landlord can go to court and file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant.
  • Notice to Cure for Lease Violations: If the tenant violates the lease or rental agreement, then the landlord can give the tenant a 30-day notice to cure. This notice must: specify the violations, state that the tenancy will terminate in no less than 30 days, and, if the violation can be cured, describe at least one possible remedy to cure the violation and designate the date by which the tenant must cure. (Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.392(3).) The designated date for the cure must be at least 14 days after delivery of the notice. If the tenant doesn’t cure, then the rental agreement will terminate as provided in the notice. (Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.392(4).) If the violation is one that’s substantially the same as a previous violation the landlord has sent a notice to the tenant about within the previous six months, the tenant does not have the right to cure. The landlord may give 10 days’ written notice (but the second notice can’t give a termination date that’s earlier than the one stated in the first notice). (Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.392(5).) If the tenancy is week-to-week, different notification periods apply. (See Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.392(6).) If the tenant does not fix the violation (or doesn’t have the right to cure because it’s a second violation) then the landlord can go to court and file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant.
  • Unconditional Quit Notice: In certain situations, the landlord can give the tenant a 24-hour unconditional quit notice. Using this notice, the landlord will inform the tenant that because of the tenant’s behavior, the landlord will be terminating the tenancy in 24 hours and filing an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. The tenant will have no opportunity to correct the bad behavior. Oregon’s Revised Statutes section 90.396 lists specific behaviors and situations under which a landlord can serve an unconditional quit notice.

Notice for Termination Without Cause

Oregon law allows landlords to terminate tenancies without cause under only limited circumstances.

Month-to-Month Tenancy

Landlords may terminate a month-to-month tenancy without cause only during the first year of occupancy. During the first year, the landlord can give the tenant a 30-day notice to terminate. (Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.427(3)(b).)

After the first year, landlords must have cause as described by Oregon law (such as the tenant’s violation of a lease term or the landlord’s desire to demolish the building). (Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.427(3)(c).)

Fixed-Term Tenancy

A landlord may terminate the tenancy during a fixed term (such as when the tenant has a lease or other written rental agreement for one year) only with cause and proper notice. (Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.427(4)(a).) If the tenancy expires within the first year of occupancy, the landlord may terminate without cause by giving 30 days’ written notice. (Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.427(4)(b).) If the tenancy terminates on a date after the first year of occupancy, the fixed-term tenancy becomes a month-to-month tenancy upon the expiration of the fixed term, unless the landlord and tenant agree to a new fixed-term tenancy, the tenant gives 30 days’ notice, or the landlord has cause to terminate and gives proper notice. (Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.427(4)(c).)

Tenant Eviction Defenses

Even when a landlord has a valid reason to evict a tenant, the tenant might decide to challenge 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. If a court finds that a landlord unlawfully removes or excludes a tenant from a rental, the tenant might be able to recover possession or recover the greater of up to two month’s rent or twice the tenant’s actual damages. (Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.375.)

Removal of the Tenant

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.

Tenants sometimes 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. (Ore. Rev. Stat. § 90.425.)

Rationale for the Rules

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.

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