The Oregon eviction process provides for the steps a residential landlord must follow before legally evicting a tenant. There are different Oregon eviction notice requirements based upon the reason for the eviction.
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Self-Eviction is Unlawful in Oregon
Under no circumstances may a landlord evict a tenant in a manner that is not mandated in the Oregon eviction process and which does not involve court action. A landlord who changes the locks, padlocks the door and windows, shuts off heat and electricity, threatens the tenant, removes the tenant’s personal property or takes any other action to expel the tenant may be liable in a civil action to the tenant.
Damages may include two month’s rent or twice the tenant’s damages, whichever is greater, plus a month’s rent if the landlord entered the premises and changed the locks or removed property, and damages for emotional distress. The tenant has one year to file suit.
“No-Cause” Notice for Periodic Tenancies
In a month-to-month tenancy, the landlord need only give 30-days notice without any cause for eviction. If the tenant has lived in the property for more than one year, the notice is 60-days. If the property is being sold to someone who plans to live there as a primary residence, it is 30-days.
“For-Cause” Notice Reasons
For evictions based on a violation of the lease other than nonpayment of rent, the Oregon eviction notice is 30-days, or 33-days if the notice is mailed. If the violation is an ongoing one, such as having unauthorized persons, the notice can provide that the violation be remedied within 14-days. If the tenant has been disturbing tenants, the landlord may advise the tenant to fix the problem immediately or an eviction suit will be filed.
Having an unauthorized pet only requires a 10-day notice to remove the pet. Should the pet commit an “outrageous” act such as seriously injuring someone or causes major damage to the unit on more than one occasion, the landlord may serve a 24-hour notice advising the tenant to remove the animal, leave the unit or face eviction. If the pet leaves but then returns, the notice must again be served but with no opportunity for the tenant to remain.
Nonpayment of Rent
For nonpayment of rent, the landlord should use a 72 Hour Oregon Eviction Notice, which can be served only after the rent is more than 7-days overdue. A lease agreement may allow the landlord to give 144 hours notice to pay rent or move if the rent is more than 4-days overdue. A partial payment of the rent may be accepted without waiver of the eviction action by the landlord if the landlord states in writing that partial acceptance does not waive eviction. Also, if the landlord returns the partial rent within 6-days of its receipt, it does not constitute acceptance or waiver of the eviction action.
Outrageous Acts and Others
For outrageous acts by a tenant or someone in the tenant’s control, the landlord may give 24-hour notice to cease the conduct. If it is repeated, the same notice must be given but the lease is considered terminated. An outrageous activity is threatening injury to someone, causing substantial damage or engaging in illegal drug activity. The 24-hour notice is also used for subleasing in violation of the lease.
If the act constituting the violation is not serious, the notice period is either 30-days or 10-days if the tenancy is not a month-to-month.
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Service of Notice
The rental agreement may permit notice to be given by posting and mailing. If so, the notice must allow 3 additional days to remedy the violation, pay the rent, move or face an eviction suit. This applies to 24-hour notices as well.
Otherwise, the notice may be personally served on the tenant and the notice period will begin immediately.
Summons and Complaint in Forcible Entry and Detainer
After notice has been given and the tenant has not paid the overdue rent, remedied the breach or vacated the premises, the landlord must file and serve a Summons and Complaint in Forcible Entry and Detainer.
The Summons contains the date, time and location for a First Appearance, which is typically 7 days from the date of service. The documents are served by a process server or the sheriff and may be posted on the tenant’s and mailed if personal service is not available.
If the tenant files an Answer to the complaint and requests a jury trial, one will be scheduled for a later time; otherwise a court trial can be requested when an Answer is filed. The tenant must file an Answer by the First Appearance or be in default.
If both parties appear, the judge may ask them to mediate any dispute. A tenant who is not contesting the eviction can also request time to vacate the premises. If a settlement is reached, the court will review and approve it and may issue a stipulated order that allows the landlord to have judgment if the tenant fails to abide by it.
If a trial is scheduled, it could be within a few days or within one week of the First Appearance.
Both parties present their arguments at court with the landlord having to prove the reasons for the eviction and the tenant must prove any defenses or counterclaims. Evidence such as the lease agreement, notice and proof of service, photographs, rent receipts, damage repair receipts, letters to the landlord and witness testimony may be offered.
Tenant Defenses to Oregon Eviction
A tenant may assert any of the following defenses:
- The breach of a lease provision is not substantial enough to warrant an eviction.
- The allegations are false.
- There was improper service.
- The residential eviction notice was improper.
- The landlord failed to repair a condition that was in violation of the housing code after having been given notice and an opportunity to repair it.
- The landlord waived eviction by accepting rent without a written statement not waiving eviction.
- The eviction is in retaliation for the tenant having filed a complaint regarding the condition of the property or for joining a tenant’s rights organization.
- The eviction is based on the tenant’s religion, race, sex, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, age, marital or family status, or disability.
If the landlord prevails, the tenant has 4-days to vacate the property after the sheriff posts a 4-Day Notice to vacate. If the tenant remains, the sheriff will return on the fourth day with the landlord to supervise the removal of the tenant’s belongings and allow the landlord to change the locks.
Removal of Tenant’s Personal Property
The tenant can be sued for the boxing and storage costs if the tenant leaves personal items behind. If the value of the items is under $500, the landlord must give the tenant written notice delivered to his or her last known address or forwarding address advising the tenants they have 5-days to respond, or 8-days of mailed, to respond regarding claiming the property within 15-days.