ORHA News

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  • Wednesday, September 07, 2022 8:30 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Tia Politi, ORHA President
    Date: 09/07/2022

    The new Forms Manual is out this month
    It’s been a wild ride over the past two-and-a-half years, with ever-changing regulations, but we have finally finished the new Forms Manual! Local chapters can begin placing orders through Wild Apricot. Thank you all for your patience, it’s been a grueling project, made more challenging by our new numbering system, but we’re finally ready. Read ORHA Technology Chair, Cloud Miller’s outline of the new system later in this newsletter. 

    Welcome back – What’s new?
    Hope everyone had a chance to get some R & R in during August, because now it’s time to get back to work. I continue to be amazed at the progress being made by our ORHA Office Manager Ben Seamans with the help of Technology Chair Cloud Miller. At our last Executive Committee meeting, Ben unveiled another technological advance for our chapters regarding the monthly membership reports. What has been a challenging process for all of our chapters but especially the smaller groups is now streamlined and incorporated into Microsoft Teams. The new system allows members to easily and quickly prepare their reports which automatically get saved into the correct folder. Ben will be presenting the new system this month at our Bend meeting.

    Cloud and Ben have been working tirelessly to drag us into the new age and I got choked up when Ben presented the new system because it was so great. When I look back over the past several months since Ben took over as ORHA Office Manager, his impact on ORHA has been astounding. In less than a year, he has taken us to a new level of efficiency and professionalism. And now Cloud has an office partner that can implement all the great ideas that have been swirling in his giant tech brain all these years. Go Team ORHA!

    September Board Meeting & Leadership Dinner
    One of our most fun meetings of the year is this month and marks our annual meeting in Bend. Always a great time! Continuing the tradition started by former ORHA President Terry Flora Turner, our Leadership Dinner at McMenamins is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Friday, September 16th after Committee Meetings earlier in the day. This is a great opportunity to share a lovely meal, hear updates on our committees, and the direction we are heading for the next year. Attendance is open to officers of our local chapters, along with committee chairs and/or delegates, up to two per association, and each guest can bring a plus one.

    Hope to see you there!

  • Wednesday, September 07, 2022 8:25 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Benjamyn Seamans
    Date: 09/07/2022

    Hello all, I look forward to seeing the group for our September meetings in Bend! On Friday September 16, 2022, ORHA will be having their committee meetings – If you are a delegate and would like to join a committee meeting, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com for the schedule and virtual links (this notice was emailed out last month). Friday evening, ORHA will be hosting their Leadership Dinner and this invite was emailed out last month.

    Additionally, on Saturday September 17, 2022, ORHA will be having their September board meeting – If you are a delegate and would like to join the board meeting, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com for the meeting link and required NDA. Board Members, please keep an eye out in your email during the week of 09/12/2022 for the board packet – Presenters, please have your board packet reports submitted to Office@OregonRentalHousing.com NO LATER THAN 09/11/2022.

    Lastly, on Sunday September 18, 2022, ORHA will be having an ORHA Education Inc. Meeting from 09:00 am – 10:00 am in Tia’s Hotel Suite.

    If you plan on attending the Bend meetings, an online RSVP is required for both virtual and in-person attendance. We will have a private meeting room all day Friday and Saturday; however, due to lodging contract terms/restrictions and budgetary restrictions – ORHA was not able to secure a room block for lodging. Members will be responsible for securing their own lodging and this is explained in further details on the Board Meeting Notice. The Board Meeting Notice and Reservation details were emailed out last month – If you have any questions, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com.

    With our new professional emails in place, ORHA has drafted a Microsoft Email User Policy that was presented during the July meeting in Silverton. This policy will be executed by all ORHA email users and will help ORHA maintain quality of control, emphasizing an importance on cyber security, and association cyber safety – email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com to receive a copy of this user policy. Moving forward, please be sure to email by position (i.e. President, Vice President or Secretary) or topic (i.e. Forms, Technology, or Social Media) – not by person.

    Please be vigilant of email scams and always double check that the email address ends in @OregonRentalHousing.com. Remember, email display names can be masked and it’s extremely important that you click on the name to verify the email address is legitimate. No ORHA members will ever request money or wire transfers via email, we’ll never offer any kind of legal advice, and our email addresses will always end with our website, @OregonRentalHousing.com. Please be vigilant in verifying the source before opening attachments.

    All invoices are to be submitted to Office@OregonRentalHousing.com, they are then taken out of email for an approval process that’s tracked with the Executive Committee and more secure from Email Scams. Please do not email invoices directly to Bookkeeper or Treasurer; for cyber-security reasons, neither officials will approve or pay an invoice outside of the official approval process (starting with submitting the initial invoice to office).

    Our office is periodically checking emails and voicemails Monday through Thursday should you have any questions or concerns; however, please be advised that ORHA will not be returning calls or emails regarding landlord helpline questions or tenant questions. If you are a current member looking to contact your local association or are new member looking to join a local association, please visit www.oregonrentalhousing.com/about.

    To submit your ideas for an upcoming newsletter, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com by the 1st of the month.

    ** Reminder that the ORHA Monthly Membership Dues Form must be submitted by the 15th of each month **

    Benjamyn Seamans
    office@oregonrentalhousing.com | Voicemail: (541) 515-7723

  • Wednesday, September 07, 2022 7:58 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Cloud Miller, ORHA Technology Chair
    Date: 09/07/2022

    For years, the ORHA Forms Committee has numbered our forms sequentially and just kept adding new numbers to new forms, regardless of what the form was used for. This year marks a big change for us; we are implementing a system that will group the forms in a logical order that we hope will help our members keep track of what forms serve which purpose during the tenancy. 

    The new form numbers will always start with a letter indicating group they belong to:
    Screening Forms = S
    Move-in Forms = M
    Operational Forms = O
    Violation Forms = V
    Termination Forms = T

    There are, however, some forms that belong to more than one group, for example, the Reasonable Accommodation and Verification Form. Because it can be used both at move-in and operationally during the tenancy, it is numbered MO1 (Move-in / Operational #1).

    For forms that overlap categories, we have combined letters to indicate that:
    MO – for Move-in and Operational
    MT - for Move-in and Termination
    VT – for Violation and Termination

    Portland-specific forms are designated with a PD suffix as well as the group code and number. For example, Portland has its own screening forms so the form Application Screening Guidelines – Landlord Choice, is labeled S6PD (Screening, #6, Portland-specific). Also, for Portland Landlords the Forms Store has a button you can click to show only the Portland forms and other state forms that are okay to use in the City of Portland. 

    In addition, the ORHA Forms Store (https://store.oregonrentalhousing.com) will automatically direct you to the Portland-specific version of a form as needed by detecting the City entered as “Portland” for the Property Address portion of the web-form. For Portland-specific forms, if another city is entered and you will be re-directed back to the appropriate form.

    As cities pile on law overlays, it becomes much more difficult to keep our members up to date, so if other cities come up with their own distinct rules, we will use a two-letter code to identify the special form for use in that city.

    By grouping forms that belong together in the Forms Manual and in the Forms Store, we continue our mission to help our members across the state build financial stability and generational wealth through rental property ownership. Our next Forms Store project will allow our users to fill out one form and then have any other selected forms auto populated with the same information.

    There are great things ahead – thank you for your support!

    Cloud Miller, ORHA Technology Chair

  • Wednesday, September 07, 2022 6:15 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Tia Politi, ORHA President
    Date: 09/07/2022

    Many things can happen to make a rental property partially or fully uninhabitable, either short- or long-term, and landlord-tenant law doesn’t provide much specific guidance for landlords on how to manage truly disastrous problems. Depending on the severity of the damage, the landlord may need to initiate a claim on their rental property policy, require the tenants to do the same, or even initiate a claim under a tenant’s renter’s insurance policy, if they have one and refuse to initiate a claim themselves for damage they caused. Factors that can play into that decision include the amount of each party’s insurance deductibles compared to the extent of the damage, the cooperation or lack thereof of the tenant’s household, the anticipated timeliness of repairs, and the ability to assess fault for the damage. The nature of the problem and its severity, along with attribution of fault, will help determine the landlord’s responsibilities.

    If the condition was caused by the deliberate or negligent actions of the tenant or a guest, there are different liability concerns than if the damage was caused by the negligence of the landlord, a failure of one or more components of the unit, an accident not the tenant’s fault, or an Act of God.

    Statutes require a landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable condition, but when that duty becomes impossible, the landlord may still have some duty to act. As the provider of shelter in a business relationship, it is the landlord’s duty to ensure that the tenants have secure shelter either in the property or elsewhere, even if that means paying for a hotel room for a couple of nights while the details get sorted out. With residents whose insurance covers substitute housing and replacement of personal property, the landlord’s obligations will be easier to manage. If tenants are displaced by a disaster, and have no renter’s insurance, the Red Cross will usually step in to help those who lack available resources to help themselves, but for a very short time.

    If the fault is that of a random third party, say a drunk driver crashes into the rental unit, rendering the property unsecure and partially uninhabitable, both parties can make claims on their insurance policies to cover their areas of responsibility and the insurance companies can subrogate against the responsible third party. Landlords should still act immediately to secure the property and ensure the tenant’s safety.

    If the fault is an Act of God, do what is reasonable and act in good faith. During the ice storm of 2016, many residents were without water and power for almost a week. Trees and limbs fell onto houses, causing substantial damage for many. In cases like this, landlords were not willfully withholding essential services and may not have been able to safely get to the property to secure it, remove hazards and repair the property. For months afterward, tree service operators were behind on storm clean-up, and contractors were behind on repairs. It seems reasonable to think that if tenants cannot be held liable for Acts of God, neither can landlords, as long as they are making every reasonable effort to comply with their responsibilities.

    If the fault is that of the tenant or a tenant’s guest and the tenant has renter’s insurance, the policy will cover the costs of substitute housing and replacement of personal property, as well as providing up to $100,000 in liability coverage to repair the damage to the property. If the level of damage exceeds this limit, then the landlord’s policy should kick in and their insurance company can subrogate to the tenant on the landlord’s behalf. In cases where tenants or their guests cause the damage, landlords have far less responsibility, and ORS 90.360 specifically exempts damage awards to tenants when, “The tenant knew or reasonably should have known of the condition and failed to give actual notice to the landlord in a reasonable time prior to the occurrence of the personal injury, damage to personal property, diminution in rental value or other tenant loss resulting from the noncompliance; or…The condition was caused after the tenancy began by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the of someone other than the landlord or a person acting on behalf of the landlord…The tenant may not terminate or recover damages under this section for a condition caused  by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant or other person on the premises with the tenant’s permission or consent.”

    What if the damage was not accidental or careless, but caused by the tenant with malicious intent? Does this rise to the level of allowing the landlord to reasonably issue a 24-Hour Notice to Vacate for Harm or Substantial Damage? For purposeful actions like arson, intentional flooding or extreme vandalism, it’s possible that a landlord could terminate a tenancy this quickly. The standard of proof for an act that is outrageous in the extreme is very high, but if it is appropriate, landlords may need to consider this option, and evict if the notice expires and the tenants don’t move out.

    If the fault is caused by the landlord’s neglect or failure to act, then they bear at least some liability for damages incurred by the tenant (a good reason to always have a personal liability umbrella). An example of that might be mold from a condition they knew or should have known about that they didn’t address, a faulty repair that fails, or a condition that the tenant warned about that they didn’t address. It’s always a good idea to look at the rental unit with a critical eye toward prevention of liability claims. (Re-read my article, Risk Management for Risky Times on my website for a rundown of landlord liability concerns: www.tiapoliti.com)

    Substitute Housing
    When substitute housing is required to be provided by the landlord, it should be, “…of a quality that is similar to or less than the quality of the dwelling unit with regard to basic elements including cooking and refrigeration services, and, if warranted, upon consideration of factors such as location in the same area as the dwelling unit, the availability of substitute housing in the area and the expense relative to the range of choices for substitute housing in the area.” 90.365(1) (c)

    If the rental unit is very basic and older, then the tenant can’t get reimbursed (at least not fully) for staying at the Hilton. They can stay at the Hilton, but their comp would be Motel 6 (no offense to Motel 6), so the landlord would be responsible for the Motel 6 daily rate, not the Hilton daily rate, as compensation to the tenant. There’s a lot of range in price and quality between those two options, so be reasonable and fair, and take into consideration the needs of the household, and the length of the displacement.

    For example, I had a tenant report a large crack in her living room ceiling that suddenly appeared along with a dramatic drop in a large portion of sheetrock. It was pretty serious, so we arranged substitute housing for her while the problem was addressed. She needed lodging that would accommodate her two dogs and wanted a kitchenette to do her own cooking, so we found her a weekly rate hotel that had an efficiency kitchen and would accept her dogs. Even though the rental was very basic, the owner had to pony up for a more expensive housing situation to accommodate her two dogs and her reasonable request for a kitchen. Since the extent of the repair was going to be quite lengthy, the owner agreed to release her without the required 30-day notice, and she chose to find another rental.

    That was in a very different housing market; rentals were much easier to come by than they are today. Currently, landlords may find that residents are not unwilling, but unable to find another property. If she had been unwilling or unable to find another suitable property, we would have needed to protect her personal property during the remediation, and provide substitute housing for the necessary length of time. In the instance above, the daily cost of the substitute housing would have been much more than the daily cost of rent, which would likely have been covered by insurance, but in this case, the landlord made the choice to absorb the costs instead of file an insurance claim. We were fortunate to have a cooperative resident who figured things out and moved quickly. We refunded her rent and security deposit from the date of displacement, paid for the substitute housing, and once she removed her property, fixed up the house and re-rented it.

    Another time, I had a tenant who dragged his feet after a substantial roof leak rendered his one-bedroom apartment uninhabitable. The tenant was displaced and I worked with him to get a hotel room for what I thought would be a few nights, but he refused to move back in because he said he didn’t trust the owner’s repair. Since the owner was willing to release him, I found a comparable unit we had in another building and offered that to him, but he balked at that option too. Turns out he had been thinking of moving anyway, and the timing had been nearly perfect, but not quite. We refunded his rent from the date of displacement as well as his security deposit and I negotiated a total of about eight days in the motel. He wanted more, but because his old unit was ready, I had a comparable unit available, and he chose neither I felt like I was on pretty firm ground.

    How long must a landlord provide substitute housing? I guess that depends partly on how long the tenants will be displaced. If the loss is total, then the tenants have a duty to work towards finding another home. If the tenancy will continue after repairs, and the landlord provides substitute housing then the tenants should continue to pay rent during that time. If the tenant’s renter’s insurance covers that, then the landlord may need to refund the days of rent during which the tenants are displaced, and seek compensation for their loss from their insurance company.

    Diminution in Value
    How does a landlord calculate diminution in value for a partial loss? The formula is estimating the price a comparable rental property would command on the open market, minus the unusable portions of the property. I once had a tenant who was renting a three-bedroom, two-bath home and a sudden roof leak rendered one bathroom and one bedroom uninhabitable. The tenant chose to stay through the restoration, paying rent as usual until the work was complete. I then calculated the difference in monthly rent between his unit and the rent for a comparable two-bedroom, one-bath unit, multiplying by the number of days of loss. With the tenant’s agreement, he received a credit for that amount. Some tenants may not want to agree to paying in full and waiting for a credit, and I can see the reasoning there as well. Some may think they are entitled to some cash for their pain and suffering, and if the fault is that of the landlord, that may be reasonable. Negotiation is a subtle art, and without much clarity landlords are on their own negotiating with tenants for what is reasonable that they can agree on. With hostile, combative or mentally ill residents this can be a challenge.   

    Regaining possession from unwilling residents
    Even when the dwelling is a total loss and 100 percent their fault, some tenants don’t want to leave. Either denial kicks in or they don’t have any resources, or maybe not even the capacity to make drastic decisions and carry them out. We are blessed to live in a community where there are abundant social services that may be able to assist. In addition to the Red Cross, landlords may seek help from Senior & Disabled Services, the Department of Human Services, Catholic Community Services, ShelterCare, or St. Vincent de Paul. Tenants can also call 211 to received information about social services available in their area. But in some cases, it may require service of notice to terminate the tenancy.

    If the tenants are month-to-month and in place for less than one year, landlords may still issue a 30-day notice of termination without cause (No-cause tenancy termination timeframes may be different in different jurisdictions or in subsidized housing.), but if the tenants have been in place for more than one year, or are in a fixed-term lease, the problem can be much more complicated. With the complexities of SB 608 changing the way tenancies can be terminated, and the very high penalties for landlord error, it may be prudent to consult with an attorney prior to initiating any kind of termination notice; however, nothing in the law prohibits both parties from agreeing to a mutual termination of the tenancy. You would still be well-advised to seek legal counsel to ensure that any agreement you make is solid.

    A property management friend had tenants who caused a house fire resulting in a total loss of the home, but they didn’t have renter’s insurance, so after a couple of days in a motel paid for by the Red Cross, they came back and started camping in the backyard. The restoration company refused to work on the house with them living in the yard and continuing to access portions of the ruined residence. We started brainstorming ideas and finally hit upon asking the city of Cottage Grove for their help, and because the tenants were camping illegally, they assisted in removing them from the property. City and county codes can be helpful in tenant removal, especially when the property suffers such extreme damage that it is red-tagged by government officials. It is also an exception under the tenant defense of retaliation when issuing a no-cause notice of termination.

    Insurance considerations
    Insurance policies can be very different, so be aware of what is covered and what isn’t. What the property policy doesn’t cover, may be covered by a personal liability umbrella. Sometimes the cost of the deductible and the increase in premium from making a claim can be comparable, or higher, than just absorbing all of the costs of repair and substitute housing, making it the better choice. Certain kinds of damage to a unit may not be covered at all, such as mold damage or damage caused by the manufacturing of drugs, such as distillation of marijuana oils. Even without knowledge of the tenant’s activities, insurance agents say some policies won’t cover damage in these instances, so landlords should review their coverage and inspect their properties regularly.

    Who’s responsible for the other party’s insurance deductible? I have no idea, but it seems reasonable to think that if one party is clearly at fault then they should compensate the other for that expense, but if it’s a third-party accident or Act of God, then each absorbs their own deductible. What if the other party’s insurance rates go up due to the claim? Another thorny question. I suppose if the insurance company made it clear that a rate increase was directly tied to the incident, and fault has clearly been attributed to their reckless indifference, carelessness or neglect, then it seems reasonable to think that could be calculated and passed on as well.

    Even when tenants are liable for damage, it can be best to leave the problem to the insurance company’s discretion. I once had some college students renting a large house who went home for the holidays, leaving behind frozen water pipes due to a failure to follow our winterization instructions. They made the interesting decision to leave the spigot on in the kitchen sink in case things thawed out. And thaw out they did! Once the water started flowing into their sink (piled high with food scraps and dirty dishes) it hit the food- and ice-clogged drain and for four days, the kitchen water ran and ran, running into the basement, flooding the main floor and eventually pouring out the side door where the gardener noticed. I received a panicked call asking if he should go in and turn off the water. He had found the tenants’ hidden key under a rock, so I instructed him to go in and do that. (Remember, when you perform an emergency entry such as this, you must provide actual notice to the tenant within 24 hours of entry. The notice shall include the date and time of entry, the reason for entry and the names of the persons who entered.)

    When the tenants returned, they wanted to try to continue living there, but the contractors working on the house said it wasn’t safe and they refused to continue the work until they were gone. There was a standoff for a few days while some of the tenants balked, but they eventually retrieved the property they could and found temporary lodging. The landlord’s policy covered the loss of rent during the restoration. The question was, will this tenancy continue? Since it took much longer to restore than anyone thought, they never did move back in and found permanent housing elsewhere at their own expense, but we did not release them from lease until much later by agreement of the parties. The landlord’s insurance company tried to subrogate against the tenants’ parents, but eventually dropped the case when the parents hired an attorney and threatened litigation. Even though they could presumably have been held responsible for the flood, it wasn’t worth a costly fight.

    Fortunately, disasters are rare, and being prepared with adequate insurance and some idea of the responsibilities will help. But if the tenant is uncooperative, or the landlord does their best and gets sued anyway, best to be prepared. Everyone wishes for the path to be straight and the solutions clear, but in situations like this it is rarely the case. There are times when landlords need competent legal advice, especially because a judge may be the final arbiter of whether they acted reasonably and in good faith.

    This column offers general suggestions only and is no substitute for professional legal counsel. Please consult an attorney for advice related to your specific situation.

    Rev. 9/2022

  • Friday, August 05, 2022 2:34 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Tia Politi, ORHA President
    Date: 08/01/2022

    July meeting report

    The board had a fun and productive meeting in July at the beautiful Oregon Gardens Resort. Comfortable beds in affordable rooms, excellent on-site restaurant (best hotel breakfast ever), lovely gardens to tour, and right in the darling town of Silverton. I hadn’t been there in years and was just reminded of what a charming place this is in our beautiful state. Makes me want to live there!

    September Board Meeting & Leadership Dinner

    September marks our annual meeting in Bend. Always a great time! Our Leadership Dinner at McMenamins Old St. Francis is scheduled for Friday, September 16th after Committee Meetings earlier in the day. This is a great opportunity to share a yummy dinner, hear updates on our committees, and the direction we are heading for the next year. Attendance is open to officers of our local chapters, along with committee chairs and/or delegates, up to two per association, and each guest can bring a plus one. Hope to see you there!

    Bylaws change, Finance Committee

    At the July meeting, we voted in a minor change in our bylaws regarding who may chair the Finance Committee. We removed the Treasurer from that position and now require that the chair be someone on the committee other than them. Thanks much to Lance Leseuer, President of the Klamath Falls ROA, for stepping up to fill that role. Other committee members include Treasurer Dennis Chappa of Lane ROA, Chuck DeSeranno, Vice President of Salem RHA, and Jason Brush, Vice President of Klamath ROA.

    With sloppy practices by our former employee, there’s been a lot of work to do cleaning up the books. We are so pleased to have hired Lori Black to be our bookkeeper. At every meeting she shows us her progress cleaning things up, and it’s better every time. Thanks for your hard work, Lori!

    ORHA Bylaws

    Even though we implemented a lot of changes to our bylaws last year, the work continues. The Bylaws Committee is meeting again beginning in September to address issues we missed last time. Please feel free to send any suggestions to Bylaws Committee Chair and ORHA Vice President, Ben Seamans at VicePresident@oregonrentalhousing.com. We hope to have updates to vote on at our January or March meeting.

    Switch to Microsoft Teams and new Email Policy for Officers and Committee Chairs

    Thanks to the hard work by Ben Seamans and Cloud Miller, ORHA has switched to Microsoft Teams and Outlook email for all Officers and Committee Chairs. The board voted in favor of a new email policy as well. Read about the changes and check out the link to the new policy in Ben’s August Office Update elsewhere in the newsletter!

    New rules in Eugene

    Following the radical tenant agenda in Portland, the city of Eugene has implemented Phase One of their planned three-phase “tenant protection” ordinances. The new rules take effect August 13, 2022. Read my article later in the newsletter that spells out the new requirements as well as the plans to implement additional phases down the road.

    What’s coming?

    Will these types of restrictions be in place statewide? Yes, and more, if we don’t change the makeup of our state government. We need to continue educating lawmakers about our business and why enhanced restrictions only serve to decrease the supply of housing.

    Remember, there’s still time to donate to the ORH Key PAC. The Committee is in the process of distributing the donations we’ve received so far and will work on a second round as funding permits. Our ability to influence the direction of legislation is partly dependent upon your generosity – money talks!

    Thank you for your support! :)

  • Thursday, August 04, 2022 2:23 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Benjamyn Seamans
    Date: 08/04/2022

    Hello all, I look forward to seeing the group for our September meetings in Bend! On Friday September 16, 2022, ORHA will be having their committee meetings – If you are a delegate and would like to join a committee meeting, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com for the schedule and links (this notice was recently emailed out). Friday evening, ORHA will be hosting their Leadership Dinner and this invite has recently been emailed out as well.

    Additionally, on Saturday September 17, 2022, ORHA will be having their September board meeting – If you are a delegate and would like to join the board meeting, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com for the meeting link and required NDA. Board Members, please keep an eye out in your email during the week of 09/12/2022 for the board packet – Presenters, please have your board packet reports submitted to Office@OregonRentalHousing.com NO LATER THAN 09/05/2022.

    Lastly, on Sunday September 18, 2022, ORHA will be having an ORHA Education Inc. Meeting from 09:00 am – 10:00 am in Tia’s Hotel Suite.

    If you plan on attending the Bend meetings, an online RSVP is required for both virtual and in-person attendance. We will have a private meeting room all day Friday and Saturday; however, due to lodging contract terms/restrictions and budgetary restrictions – ORHA was not able to secure a room block for lodging. Members will be responsible for securing their own lodging and this is explained in further details on the Board Meeting Notice. The Board Meeting Notice and Reservation details were recently emailed out – If you have any questions, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com.

    We have recently completed setting up our new ORHA emails for Executive Committee Members and ORHA Committee Chairs. Please see the following updates:

    Executive Committee (Email All) | ORHAExecutiveCommittee@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Tia Politi, President | President@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Benjamyn Seamans, Vice President | VicePresident@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Cloud Miller, Admin | Admin@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Violet Wilson, Secretary | Secretary@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Dennis Chappa, Treasurer | Treasurer@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Sage Coleman, Past President | PastPresident@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Jason Miller, Advisor 1 | Advisor1@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Maria Menguita, Advisor 2 | Advisor2@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Jill Maricich, Director at Large 1 | Director1@OregonRentalHousing.com

    Lori Black, Bookkeeper | Bookkeeper@OregonRentalHousing.com

    Tia Politi, ORHA Forms Committee Chair| Forms@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Cloud Miller, Technology Committee Chair | Technology@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Maria Menguita, Social Media Committee Chair | SocialMedia@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Alex Wilkens, Survey Committee Chair | Survey@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Violet Wilson, Education Committee Chair | (Coming Soon) Education@OregonRentalHousing.com

    With our new professional emails in place, ORHA has drafted a Microsoft Email User Policy that was presented during the July meeting in Silverton. This policy will be executed by all ORHA email users and will help ORHA maintain quality of control, emphasizing an importance on cyber security, and association cyber safety – email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com to receive a copy of this user policy. Moving forward, please be sure to email by position (i.e. President, Vice President or Secretary) or topic (i.e. Forms, Technology, or Social Media) – not by person.

    Please be vigilant of email scams and always double check that the email address ends in @OregonRentalHousing.com. Remember, email display names can be masked and it’s extremely important that you click on the name to verify the email address is legitimate. No ORHA members will ever request money or wire transfers via email, we’ll never offer any kind of legal advice, and our email addresses will always end with our website, @OregonRentalHousing.com.

    All invoices are to be submitted to Office@OregonRentalHousing.com, they are then taken out of email for an approval process that’s tracked with the Executive Committee and secure from Email Scams. Please do not email invoices directly to Bookkeeper or Treasurer; for cyber-security reasons, neither officials will approve or pay an invoice outside of the official approval process (starting with submitting the initial invoice to office).

    Our office is periodically checking emails and voicemails Monday through Thursday should you have any questions or concerns; however, please be advised that ORHA will not be returning calls or emails regarding landlord helpline questions or tenant questions. If you are a current member looking to contact your local association or are new member looking to join a local association, please visit www.oregonrentalhousing.com/about.

    To submit your ideas for an upcoming newsletter, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com by the 1st of the month.

    ** Reminder that the ORHA Monthly Membership Dues Form must be submitted by the 15th of each month **

    Benjamyn Seamans
    office@oregonrentalhousing.com | Voicemail: (541) 515-7723
  • Monday, August 01, 2022 2:05 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    Eugene Rental Code UPDATE on when the Tenants Rights handout and the Rental History forms will be available.


    Please read the message below from:

    Genevieve MiddletonCommunity Development Grants Manager
    City of Eugene | Planning & Development

    "On July 11, 2022, City Council adopted Ordinance 20670, which will go into effect on August 13, 2022. Since City Council adopted the ordinance, staff have been updating associated Administrative Rules to comply with the new ordinance. These rules will provide additional information, such as how to photo document dwellings. All associated documents will be finalized once the administrative rules are updated. Staff anticipates this will happen in September 2022. Until that time, City of Eugene staff will not be enforcing the new policies outlined in the ordinance."

    Please scroll down to view the article written by Tia Politi on the Updated Rental Code.

    Mind Your Business: Tia's tips for better rental management -- Updated City Code Regulations for Eugene Landlords

    By: Tia Politi, ORHA President
    Date: 08/01/2022


    Beginning August 13, 2022, the Ordinance enacts the following restrictions:

    Security deposits and deposit accounting

    • Prior to a new tenancy beginning, the owner/agent must provide the tenant with documentation of the condition of the rental home and receive written confirmation that the tenant has received and reviewed the documentation.
      • The documentation must include photos and a written report. The Unit Condition Report (formerly the Check-In/Check-Out Report) should satisfy the written report requirements.

    (No word on what will happen if the tenant refuses to sign, so Eugene landlords are advised to document any refusals in writing.)

    • At the time of deposit accounting the owner/agent must provide not only the written accounting of charges against the deposit, but also provide documentation on the condition of the rental home and a written statement describing the condition or damage the landlord believes justifies the charges. This documentation must include:
      • Photo documentation showing the condition of the rental home, including any appliances provided for use by the tenant.
      • A written statement describing the condition of the rental home, including appliances, and noting any damage.
    Rental references
    • Up to twice per calendar year and within five (5) business days of receiving a written request by the tenant, the owner/agent shall provide a rental reference utilizing a form approved by the city manager (in development).
    Lease up
    • At the time of lease-up, the owner/agent must provide to the tenant a Tenant’s Rights Notification. This form will include information regarding the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants regarding tenancy termination as well as information about the requirements of the Eugene Rental Housing Code utilizing a form approved by the city manager which is in development. (We’ll send another eblast when the forms are complete.)
    Screening fees
    • A landlord may not charge more than $10 per applicant for tenant screening. The ordinance reads, “The amount of any applicant screening charge may not exceed the amount of an applicant screening charge allowed by ORS 90.295 or $10, whichever is less.” Because there is no way any screening would cost less than $10, that’s all owners or agents can charge.
    Tenant complaint process and qualifications
    • The city is amending their Complaint process to allow a tenant to file a complaint for violations regarding these changes as well as maintenance issues. A person who files a complaint must be:
    • A party to the current rental agreement, or an agent of the party, and if the violation is related to payment of a screening charge higher than $10, the tenant must have paid the screening charge, or their agent must have paid the charge.
    • To file a complaint, the tenant must first send a written notice of the alleged violation to the owner/agent and provide a copy of that written notice at the time the complaint is filed. (The description of ‘written notice’ does mention ‘mailing’ in 8.430(d)(2) but does not address whether this timeline will correspond to the timelines for service of notice in ORS 90.155, requiring the addition of 3 days to account for mailing time, or whether the tenant may post-and-mail if allowed by the written rental agreement.) The city manager is then authorized to investigate the complaint.
    1. For complaints related to lack of essential services, the complaint may be filed no sooner than 48 hours after providing the written notice to the owner/agent.
    2. For complaints not related to the lack of essential services, the complaint may be filed no sooner than 10 days after providing the written notice to the landlord.
    City process for substantiated complaints
    • If the city manager determines that a complaint is valid, they will issue a notice to the owner/agent providing a timeline for compliance:
    • For non-habitability-related maintenance issues, not including lack of essential services, 10 days to remedy the violation, including any needed repairs, unless the repairs cannot be completed with 10 days. If that is the case, the landlord must submit a compliance schedule acceptable to the city within 10 days.
    • For habitability complaints regarding a lack of essential services, 48 hours, unless the repairs cannot be completed within 48 hours. If that is the case, the landlord must submit a compliance schedule acceptable to the city within 48 hours.

    Complaint process outline requires that the city confirm the following

    1. Confirm that the complainant has standing to file a complaint.
    2. Confirm that the subject of the complaint could be a violation of the code.
    3. Except for complaints related to screening overcharge or lack of essential services, confirm that the owner/agent has had 10 days since mailing of the written notice by the tenant to respond to the complaint.
    4. For complaints regarding violations of the screening charge limit or lack of essential services, confirm that the owner/agent has had 48 hours from the time the tenant provided written notice to respond to the complaint, and
    5. Provide notice to the owner/agent of the complaint per written procedures.
    Landlord noncompliance with city order to correct
    • If the city manager finds that a complaint was valid and the landlord did not respond timely as required, the manager may issue an administrative civil penalty, initiate a prosecution in municipal court, and initiate action to recover all city costs associated with the processing of the complaint, investigation, and resolution of the issue.
    • This information will be sent to the owner/agent along with deadline for repair and re-inspection of the dwelling unit, and a statement that they may appeal the notice and order.
    Funding to provide tenant support services
    • To fund enforcement of these new requirements, as well as the new city allowance of Tenant Support Services, the city manager has been empowered by the Ordinance to increase the city’s door tax.
      • Tenant Support Services includes but is not limited to supporting a tenant hotline, eviction diversion, support for ex-offenders and other individuals with similar challenges who are struggling to qualify for rental housing, and support for tenants seeking rental housing that is accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.
      • Additionally, Eugene Code 8.440(2) is amended to allow the increased funding to pay for a Rental Housing Navigator position within city government and fund data collection about rental housing in Eugene.

    This outlines the basic parameters of Phase One. Additional phases to follow. There are still rules to be developed by the city manager to render interpretations of the ordinance and address procedures more specifically for processing complaints.

    Phase Two Recommendations include
    • Limiting deposits (including security deposit, last month’s rent deposit, or other designated deposits, but not pet deposits) to a maximum of twice the monthly rent.
    • Require that applications be processed in the order received
    • Landlord payment of relocation expenses for issuing no-cause or qualifying landlord reason termination notices.
     Phase Three Recommendations include:
    • Prohibit screening out applicants for credit defaults related to medical or education debt, and limit screening for minimum credit score.
    • Loosen minimum monthly gross income screening standards to no greater than twice the monthly rent.
    • Enact moratorium on no-cause terminations of tenancy unless landlord pays relocation fee.

    This column offers general suggestions only and is no substitute for professional legal counsel. Please consult an attorney for advice related to your specific situation.

    Rev 7/2022

  • Thursday, July 07, 2022 2:26 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Tia Politi, ORHA President
    Date: 07/01/2022

    Hooray! We’re finally through what we hope will be the last of the pandemic-related restrictions on landlords. For more than two years, we have been pummeled with an ever-changing overlay of extreme provisions that were designed to keep renters in their homes but created an expensive nightmare for many landlords. Remember, though, that while tenants cannot stop a nonpayment of rent eviction by showing application for rent assistance, you must still include the IMPORTANT NOTICE in any termination notice for nonpayment through September 30, 2022. Landlords are also still required to use 10- or 13-day notices for nonpayment through September 30, 2022.

    The silver lining of the pandemic for housing providers was the inability of radical tenant advocates to enact their over-the-top agenda for exacerbating the housing crisis. Of course, they don’t see it that way. From their perspective the reason for the housing crisis lies at the feet of ‘bad’ landlords (the minority of landlords); therefore, all their ideas involve ‘solutions’ that make it harder for us (the largest group of small business owners in the state) to remove ‘bad’ tenants (the minority of tenants) who violate their agreements.

    And what is next in store? Great news for attorneys - let’s provide free legal representation to tenants in eviction court. Members of the Eviction Representation for All campaign began collecting signatures this week and hope to get the measure on November’s ballot. It would impose a 0.75% capital gains tax on residents and is estimated to generate an average of $15 million a year. The measure would guarantee tenants a right to a lawyer if they’re evicted, as well as impose stronger protections for tenants throughout the courts process. It would allow tenants to apply for grants to get smaller amounts of rent paid while they wait for rent assistance to kick in, or to get landlord fees paid off if they get evicted.

    And these supposedly smart people wonder why there’s less and less housing…because many folks are getting out of the business or selling their rentals in Oregon and buying in more reasonable states like Arizona, Idaho, Florida, and Texas. The Office of Economic Analysis put out a statistic that 23 of Oregon's 36 counties are in the 300 worst counties for affordability in the entire country – not surprising.

    But instead of acknowledging that increasing restrictions contribute to fewer housing options and higher rental rates in Oregon, they intend to double down and increase taxes at the same time, during the worst inflationary period since the 1970’s. We will require landlords to accept many types of criminals, reduce the amount of security deposits they can charge, require them to allow for-profit daycare in our rentals, take away the no-cause options, tighten the rent cap, and enact localized layers of restrictions that make it harder to keep track of what we can and cannot do, and then tenant advocates and legislators will scratch their heads wondering why there’s still a crisis. It reminds me of one of my dad’s favorite sayings, “Don’t bother me with the facts, my mind’s made up!”

    That’s exactly what’s happening in Eugene, even though an Econ Northwest study showed that since these types of radical restrictions were implemented in Portland, the city has seen a 25% reduction in single-family rental housing stock, driving up prices more and more. Where will it end? It won’t until we achieve balance in our legislature. Fingers crossed that we’ll achieve that goal in November…

  • Thursday, July 07, 2022 2:18 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Benjamyn Seamans
    Date: 07/06/2022

    Hello all, I look forward to seeing the group for our July meetings in Silverton! On Friday July 15, 2022, ORHA will be having their committee meetings – If you are a delegate and would like to join a committee meeting, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com for the schedule and links (these were previously emailed out on 06/04/2022). Additionally, on Saturday July 16, 2022, ORHA will be having their July board meeting – If you are a delegate and would like to join the board meeting, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com for the meeting link and required NDA. Lastly, Board Members, please keep an eye out in your email for the finalized board packet early this week.

    If you plan on attending the meetings, the in-person attendance RSVP deadline has already passed; however, online attendance can still be accommodated. Reservation details were previously presented in the May board packet and were emailed out on 06/04/2022. If you have any questions, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com.

    We have recently completed setting up our new ORHA emails for Executive Committee Members and ORHA Committee Chairs. Please see the following updates:

    Executive Committee (Email All) | ORHAExecutiveCommittee@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Tia Politi, President
    | President@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Benjamyn Seamans, Vice President | VicePresident@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Cloud Miller, Admin | Admin@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Violet Wilson, Secretary | Secretary@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Dennis Chappa, Treasurer | Treasurer@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Sage Coleman, Past President | PastPresident@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Jason Miller, Advisor 1 | Advisor1@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Maria Menguita, Advisor 2 | Advisor2@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Jill Maricich, Director at Large 1 | Director1@OregonRentalHousing.com

    Lori Black, Bookkeeper | Bookkeeper@OregonRentalHousing.com

    Cloud Miller, Technology Committee Chair | Technology@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Maria Menguita, Social Media Committee Chair | SocialMedia@OregonRentalHousing.com
    Alex Wilkens, Survey Committee Chair | Survey@OregonRentalHousing.com

    Coming Soon: Education Committee Chair Email & Forms Committee Chair Email

    Our office is periodically checking emails and voicemails Monday through Thursday should you have any questions or concerns; however, please be advised that ORHA will not be returning calls or emails regarding landlord helpline questions or tenant questions. If you are a current member looking to contact your local association or are new member looking to join a local association, please visit www.oregonrentalhousing.com/about.

    Thank you to Tia, Lance, and Rick for being regular contributors to the newsletter! To submit your ideas for an upcoming newsletter, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com by the 1st of the month.

    ** Reminder that the ORHA Monthly Membership Dues Form must be submitted by the 15th of each month before late fees are assessed**

    Benjamyn Seamans
    office@oregonrentalhousing.com | Voicemail: (541) 515-7723

  • Thursday, July 07, 2022 1:46 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Tia Politi, ORHA President
    Date: 07/01/2022

    In a perfect world, residents give notice to vacate, move out at the exact date and time agreed, and leave the property in great condition. It’s fantastic when that happens. But while many move-outs go something like that, many do not. Perhaps the most difficult scenario for the end of a tenancy is when a tenant just stops communicating, you have no idea what’s going on or where they are, and no idea whether they are still living in or claiming a right of possession to your rental unit. 

    Landlord-tenant law does provide for the re-taking of a rental unit upon tenant abandonment. According to ORS 90.147(2)(b)(c) a landlord may infer abandonment based on a tenant’s actions that imply relinquishment:

    After the expiration of an outstanding termination of tenancy notice or the end of a term tenancy, the landlord reasonably believes, under all the circumstances, that the tenant has relinquished or no longer claims the right to occupy the dwelling unit to the exclusion of others; or the landlord reasonably knows of the tenant’s abandonment of the dwelling unit. 

    But how can you really know whether your rental property has been legally abandoned, and, if necessary, how do you prove it in a court of law? First, what are the circumstances? Has a notice to terminate been issued by one party or the other? Have the residents been gone for more than seven days without notice? Have the utilities been taken out of their name? Do neighbors report seeing activity consistent with moving away? If so, that can be some indication of abandonment. 

    The other information you need is inside the dwelling unit, but because your tenant still has legal possession, you need to provide a 24-hour notice to enter before you can go check it out. Once inside, what do you see? Are there items present that might indicate residency such as food in the kitchen, a bed or bedding, and toiletries in the bathroom? If so, it’s likely they have not abandoned the property. If those things are absent, it’s likely that the tenant has left; however, just because you don’t find food, bedding or toiletries in the unit doesn’t mean they don’t intend to return, or have willfully surrendered their right to possession. Maybe the tenant was almost done moving, but suffered an accident or injury, or maybe they intend to come back to retrieve some final items or clean up. How can you know? 

    It’s hard to be certain, and it’s risky to re-take possession by claiming legal abandonment – mainly being sued for unlawful ouster, with the associated financial penalties.

    90.375 Effect of unlawful ouster or exclusion; willful diminution of services. If a landlord unlawfully removes or excludes the tenant from the premises, seriously attempts or seriously threatens unlawfully to remove or exclude the tenant from the premises or willfully diminishes or seriously attempts or seriously threatens unlawfully to diminish services to the tenant by interrupting or causing the interruption of heat, running water, hot water, electric or other essential service, the tenant may obtain injunctive relief to recover possession or may terminate the rental agreement and recover an amount up to two months’ periodic rent or twice the actual damages sustained by the tenant, whichever is greater. If the rental agreement is terminated the landlord shall return all security deposits and prepaid rent recoverable under ORS 90.300. The tenant need not terminate the rental agreement, obtain injunctive relief or recover possession to recover damages under this section. 

    Operate in bad faith and the penalties could rise from there. A forcible entry and unlawful detainer (FED) action provides a tenant with due process, and a chance to present their side of a case. When you just take the property back without notice they are deprived of that right, and that’s not something to be taken lightly.

    If you serve your notice to enter and find that all the tenant’s belongings are there, there’s no sign of moving, and no sign of them, before you assume abandonment, there’s a few places to check, starting with the local jail. If you do confirm that the tenant is incarcerated, to my mind they have not willfully abandoned the property. You may serve whatever termination notice is appropriate to the situation, and proceed to court on that, or move forward on a previously issued notice of termination by you or them, once it expires.

    If you check the jail and your tenant isn’t there, another possibility is that your tenant may have suffered a medical emergency. Reach out to their emergency contacts to alert friends or family to the fact that you haven’t had contact and are concerned about their welfare. They may know something or not, but it’s a place to start. You can call the local hospitals, but likely won’t get any information based on the HIPPA privacy laws. You may also call the police to alert them to the potentially missing person and ask about recent accidents. 

    It’s also possible that your tenant is deceased (what attorney Brian Cox describes as, The Ultimate Act of Abandonment !), and you may enter only to find their body. You may see their obituary in the paper, or be notified of the passing by a friend or relative. One of my residents died in her unit just after rent had been paid for the month, so I had no idea there was a problem, but after a couple of weeks of not seeing her the other tenants in the complex gathered together to talk about it, and took it upon themselves to call the police to do a welfare check, where she was found deceased inside. They then advised me of the situation. Calling the police to perform a welfare check is the correct way to handle this type of entry in these types of circumstances. 

    Even after confirming the passing of your tenant, there could still be obstacles to re-taking possession by asserting legal abandonment. For example, a lawful caregiver, a temporary occupant, or a guest and their dependents may still be occupying the unit. Or there could be family members who are in the unit going through and disposing of personal property. In the case of a caregiver or temporary occupant, once the lawful tenant has passed away, their right of possession terminates, and this person becomes a squatter in the eyes of the law. Any other unauthorized occupants, even family members or guests, are also considered squatters under the law. 

    ORS 90.100
    (44) “Squatter” means a person occupying a dwelling unit who is not so entitled under a rental agreement or who is not authorized by the tenant to occupy that dwelling unit. “Squatter” does not include a tenant who holds over as described in ORS 90.427 (11).
    (48) “Tenant”:
    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection:
    (A) Means a person, including a roomer, entitled under a rental agreement to occupy a dwelling unit to the exclusion of others, including a dwelling unit owned, operated or controlled by a public housing authority.
    (B) Means a minor, as defined and provided for in ORS 109.697.
    (b) For purposes of ORS 90.505 to 90.850, means only a person who owns and occupies as a residence a manufactured dwelling or a floating home in a facility and persons residing with that tenant under the terms of the rental agreement.
    (c) Does not mean a guest or temporary occupant. 

    I once had two tenants pass away. The first was a very long-term Section 8 tenant, who had raised her two now-adult daughters in the unit and they were still residing there. We worked with them and HACSA (now Homes for Good) to continue the tenancy. In the other case, we had a single-person tenancy for a man who had given his notice to vacate effective January 31st, but he passed away in early January. After he gave his notice, but before he died, he had tried to get other family members to take over the tenancy, but they didn’t qualify and their applications were denied, so once I read of his passing in the paper, I was concerned that we would have unauthorized occupants to deal with. 

    I contacted his son and emergency contact, who said they were staying there temporarily to pack and move his father’s things and would turn in keys as scheduled. Because rent had been paid for the period, I agreed, and they did turn in keys as promised. If they hadn’t, we would have served a 24-hour Notice for an Unlawful Occupant – ORHA form #39 and proceeded to eviction court because they had no right of possession. (If you find yourself in this situation, don’t accept rent and take timely legal action or you could create a tenancy by waiver – read ORS 90.412.) 

    Another sticky wicket is when you show up to inspect, and find the locks have been changed, all the window blinds are drawn, you can’t see anything, and you can’t get in. A reasonable person might assert that you could take a chance and drill out a lock to gain entry, or would they? I don’t know, but see how quickly things get problematic from a legal standpoint? If you are risk-averse as I am, you might instead serve a Notice of Termination with Cause – ORHA form #38, for changing the locks without permission and evict if there’s no response. You could wait and see if rent gets paid, and evict for non-payment of rent. Sometimes, there’s just no risk-free option, but if you want to take your chances and take the property back without an eviction, be sure to consider the Reasonable Person Standard in your decision-making process and document every step you take along the way. 

    The reasonable person standard denotes a hypothetical person in society who exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct and who serves as a comparative standard for determining liability. So it’s essential to consider how a theoretically objective, rational, uninvolved person would view your reasoning and the objective evidence that led you to make that decision. More importantly, it’s essential to consider how a judge in court would view it. If you are trying to decide whether or not to take a property by legal abandonment, you should carefully review your actions in that light, and make sure you can back up your decisions with evidence or witness testimony in the event you are challenged. If you can’t be sure the property has been legally abandoned, and want to play it safe, then the FED process is the only way to be certain that you have the legal right to regain possession of your rental unit. It will be somewhat costly in time and money, but potentially far less costly than the alternative. 

    This column offers general suggestions only and is no substitute for professional legal counsel. Please consult an attorney for advice related to your specific situation. 
    Rev 6/2022

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Email: office@OregonRentalHousing.com 

The Oregon Rental Housing Association (ORHA) is a non-profit educational landlord association -- ORHA Board Members, Mentors, Staff, and/or other related ORHA affiliates do not give legal advice. Please be advised that any information provided  is no substitute for professional legal counsel and any advice or guidance given does not constitute legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for legal advice related to your specific situation.

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