It’s a beautiful summer day in July and I’m sitting at my desk pondering the hotline calls I have been fielding, currently 4 for the day. As I begin to dial the 4th caller, I’m betting to myself that it will be a question centered around the “90-day rule”. That’s the term I hear often from callers who are mostly private landlords trying to navigate increasingly turbulent waters in the rental industry.
It is quickly becoming evident that there is a lot of confusion around recent city ordinance’s and changes to the ORS statutes that govern Landlord Tenant law, and it’s no wonder as some Oregon cities take up action outside the legislative process.
What is the 90-day rule/notice? Is it rent, no-cause termination notices, or both? The answer is yes. Where does a 90-day requirement apply? Does it apply statewide or within city boundaries? That depends on which 90-day notice we are talking about. And, does it differ from area to area? Does it include rent control? Well it’s no wonder there is confusion as the answers vary from yes, maybe and it depends.
Caller number 3 had asked “How long of a notice do I need to give for a rent increase?” I answer “90 days if you have a month to month rental agreement, after the first year of occupancy”. His next question “and I am limited on the amount of rent increase due to rent control”? I ask him where his rental property is located. The answer will dictate my response. The next call centers around the no-cause notice timeline, is it 30-60-90 days? Again, the response is centered around how long the tenant has resided in the home and where the home is located.
While the 90-day notice timeline for a rent increase is statewide, cities such as Portland have adopted rules pertaining to rent increase amount and the timing, and other areas within the state that do not fall under city ordinances, such as properties residing in outlying county areas are not bound by such rules.
This holds true with notices of termination as well. While the State has not yet adopted rent control as most would know it, Portland has included a relocation assistance program which adds to the confusion that has spread across the state.
The city of Portland has adopted relocation assistance related to rent increases that exceed 10%. Portland, Milwaukie and Bend have all implemented an ordinance within their city limits. It is important to understand each as they vary slightly, one from the other. Additionally, cities that create their own ordinance’s may make changes or have sunset clauses. Now more than ever it would seem, a landlord, professional or private, needs to be up to date on the laws.
The Oregon Legislative Information System has a link which provides a detailed breakdown of no-cause terminations and rent increases in Oregon https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/131384.
While members of chapters that make up the Oregon Rental Housing Association have great resources, such as the hot line mentioned here in, it is not legal advice. If you find yourself in unknown territory and need advice, always seek competent legal counsel.
As I write this, what occurs to me most about answering hotline calls are the desires of landlords to meet their obligations, to understand impact and to be fully educated. I am proud of our rental association and I am proud of the individuals that own or manage rental properties statewide with integrity and knowledge.
With more potential law changes in our future, you can bet it will only get more interesting and potentially more confusing but without question, there has never been a more exciting time to be a landlord. Keep those calls coming and together we will all better navigate future changes.