Landlords’ Guide to Rental Laws in Oregon

Oregon is known for its beautiful lakes and scenic hiking trails. Investing in real estate here can be extremely lucrative, but you must first understand what Oregon state law expects from you as a landlord. Below are some important laws that you should consider before investing in Oregon rental properties. 

Tenant Screening

Every state is prohibited from discriminating against tenants on a basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, or disability. In Oregon, tenants are also protected from being discriminated against based on sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, and source of income. When creating a tenant policy or checklist to refer to during your tenant screening procedures, it’s important to maintain equitable and non-discriminatory practices. 

A recent addition to Oregon landlord tenant laws is a 2021 statute limiting the rights of Oregon landlords to use criminal background checks in tenant screening practices. If a tenant’s prior arrest is still pending or if the arrest resulted in a conviction, the landlord can consider that previous arrest in their determination of eligibility to rent the property. Otherwise, the landlord is not allowed to use prior criminal history as a metric for tenant screening.


Aside from evicting tenants with outstanding rent, evicting squatters is also another thing that landlords have to deal with as believe it or not, squatters have rights as well. You may be wondering what are squatters rights, well squatters’ rights were created a while back in an attempt to protect urban residents seeking affordable housing. These rights allowed individuals to settle in abandoned homes that were not being used or build their homes upon unclaimed land.

Eviction laws in any state can get tricky, since evicting a tenant from their home is usually an extreme, complicated process that should only be conducted when absolutely necessary. Because of this, eviction laws in Oregon specify the amount of notice required before filing for eviction in three different scenarios. 

If the tenant is late to pay rent by at least five days, the landlord can issue a 144-hour pay-or quit notice. When rent gets to be over eight days late, the landlord can then send a 72-hour pay-or-quit notice. In both situations, the notice issued must have the date that rent was originally due along with the amount that needs to be paid. 

In the case that your tenant breaks a rule in your lease agreement, they have 30 days to either cure their violation or vacate the premises. You have to let the tenant know what part of the lease they violated and the day that their lease will terminate if the issue isn’t addressed. 

Finally, if the tenant is a threat to other people on the premises or to the property, the landlord can issue an unconditional notice to quit in which the tenant has 24 hours to leave the unit before the landlord can file for eviction. A landlord can also issue an unconditional notice to quit if the tenant falsified information on their rental application or does something “outrageous in the extreme” like manufacturing or distributing drugs.

Security Deposits

Oregon security deposit laws are in place to ensure that landlords are careful with their tenant’s security deposits since they are, until proven otherwise, property of that tenant. Landlords should always assume that they will return their tenant’s deposit in full upon the termination of their lease.

There is no limit on security deposit amounts in Oregon, and landlords are not required to keep these deposits in a separate bank account nor are they required to pay interest on them. However, they must return tenants’ deposits within 31 days and may not withhold funds unless deductions are documented and given to the tenant along with the remainder of their security deposit. Examples of reasons to withhold funds could be lease breaches, unpaid rent, or damages that are more extensive than normal wear and tear.


It’s important that you maintain your tenants’ privacy the best you can so you can have a trusting relationship with them. Entry laws are in place in each state to allow both landlords and tenants to have boundaries on when and in what circumstance landlords can enter an occupied unit.

If a tenant submits a request for maintenance, the landlord does not have to issue advanced notice. If they do not submit a written request, the landlord must give at least 24 hours’ advanced notice to the tenant. Entry must be at a “reasonable time”, typically interpreted as during daylight hours. 

In the case of an emergency, landlords are allowed to enter the unit without prior notice or tenant consent. If the tenant is not home at the time of entry, the landlord should let the tenant know within 24 hours when they entered, why they entered, and the name of the person who entered the property. 


The information above is just a starting point to the laws and regulations you should know as a landlord. Understanding state law is crucial when dealing with real estate, and if you don’t pay attention to it, you could land yourself in legal trouble. When in doubt, consult a lawyer who specializes in this type of law. However, being aware of which laws affect you and your business is one of the primary responsibilities of a good landlord, so don’t take it lightly and use what you learned from this post to guide your further research