Authored By: Legal Aid Services of Oregon
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Can my landlord force me to leave the rental unit?
What can I do if I am locked out or my utilities are shut off by my landlord?
What does a landlord have to do to evict me?
What kinds of eviction notices can a landlord give?
What notice do I get if my landlord converts my dwelling into a condo?
How does a landlord give an eviction notice?
Can I be evicted for nonpayment if I paid part of the rent this month?
Can I be evicted if I have paid my rent?
What can I do if I have children and I am facing eviction?
The landlord must go to court to force you to leave. The landlord cannot legally change the locks, shut off the utilities, remove your furniture, threaten these actions or take any other action to force you to move without first getting a court order.
There are only three ways that a landlord can get a rented place back legally:
1. The tenant can move and return the keys to the landlord;
2. The tenant can move away, abandoning the unit without telling anyone of plans to come back; or
3. The landlord can go to court and get an order, after a hearing, to have the sheriff force the tenant to move out. Only the sheriff, with a court order, has authority to physically remove you.
The only legal way to force you out of your home is for the landlord to go to court and get an order that requires you to leave. If the landlord locks you out, tell the landlord that it is illegal and ask to be let back into your home. If this doesn't work, and if you can get in through a window or another door, do so and contact a law office. If the landlord refuses to let you back into your home and you cannot get in on your own, you can call the police. They will sometimes help. They may say that it is a civil dispute and that they will not help you. If so, contact a law office (click here for a list of a organizations).
If your landlord unlawfully changes the locks, shuts off the power, makes serious threats or attempts to shut off your utilities, or takes other out-of-court action to force you to move, you may file a lawsuit to try to get an order so that you can return to your home. You can also sue for money damages--for an amount up to two months' rent or for twice your actual damages, whichever is more; and for another month's rent or actual damages if the landlord entered your home illegally (for example, to change the locks). This lawsuit can include damages for emotional distress causing loss of sleep, inability to eat, and other interference with your ability to use the rental unit. Note: When a tenant sues a landlord for violations of the Oregon Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, the lawsuit must be filed (started) within one year of the incident. Claims based on other laws might have different deadlines. [ORS 90.375]
The landlord must go to court and get a court order that says you must leave. A landlord must first give you an eviction notice, unless you had an agreement that expired on a certain date. If you do not move by the date listed in the notice, the landlord may take you to court. If your landlord takes you to court, you will be given legal papers, including a summons and complaint telling you when to go to court for first appearance. Click here for information on what happens in court.
Note: If you live in federally-subsidized housing you have additional rights to the ones included in the following rules. See Question 10.
For all notices that are mailed, tack on an additional 3 days to calculate when the notice will go into effect. ORS 90.150(3)
If you rent month-to-month, your landlord can give you a 30-day notice (33 days if mailed and not posted) to leave without giving a reason.
Landlords must give you a 60-day no-cause notice if you have lived in your home for one year or longer. This new 60-day notice period does not apply when your home is sold to a person who plans to live in it as their primary residence. Your landlord has to give you proof of the purchase when giving you a 30-day notice under these circumstances.
If you rent week-to-week, your landlord can give you a 10-day (13 days if mailed and not posted) notice to leave without giving a reason.
But, a landlord cannot retaliate or discriminate, as explained under Questions 5, 7, and 9. If you live in a mobile home park or some kinds of federally-subsidized housing, the landlord may not be able to use a no-cause notice. (See below.) ORS 90.427
Your landlord may also give you a 30-day notice (33 days if mailed and not posted) for cause with the opportunity to fix the problem. If the problem in the notice is "ongoing" (an unauthorized roommate, for example), you are entitled to at least 14 days to fix the problem. If the problem is "not ongoing" (a loud party, for example), the landlord may require you to immediately fix the problem.
If you cause the same problem within six months after receiving a 30-day notice for cause with an opportunity to fix the problem, the landlord may give a 10-day notice (13 days if mailed and not posted) without allowing you any time to fix the problem.
If you rent week-to-week, your landlord may give you a 7-day notice (10 days if mailed and not posted) for cause, with an opportunity to fix the problem in 4 days. If you cause the same problem within six months, the landlord may give you a 4-day notice without allowing you any time to fix the problem. ORS 90.392
If you are keeping a pet in violation of the rental agreement, the landlord may give you a 10-day notice to remove the pet or move (13 days if mailed and not posted). ORS 90.405
If your pet: 1) inflicts substantial personal injury on someone on the premises, other than you; 2) seriously threatens to inflict substantial personal injury upon someone on the premises, other than you; 3) causes major damage to the unit on more than one occasion, or 4) commits an act that is outrageous in the extreme on, or very near, the premises the landlord may give you a 24-hour notice (add 3 days if mailed and not posted). This notice must tell you that if you remove the pet from the premises before the end of the 24-hour notice period you can stay in the unit. If you do this but then return the pet to the unit at any later time, the landlord can give a 24-hour notice (add 3 days if mailed and not posted). This notice can require you to move, without giving you another chance to remove the pet. ORS 90.396
The landlord can give you a 72-hour notice to pay rent or move after your rent is more than 7 days overdue. If your written rental agreement allows, your landlord may also give you a 144-hour notice to pay rent or move after your rent is more than 4 days overdue. The 144-hour notice can be given sooner but must give you longer to pay, so the date you must pay or move works out to be the same as with a 72-hour notice. (If you rent week-to-week, a 72-hour notice can be given if your rent is more than 4 days late.)
The landlord must accept your full payment of rent during the notice period. The landlord does not have to accept any payments offered after the notice period. (If the landlord accepts partial payment of rent, the landlord cannot evict you for non-payment of rent unless the partial payment plan is in writing (ORS 90.415).)
If your written agreement permits, the landlord may post this notice on your door and then mail a copy. The service is then complete on the day it is put in the mail. The landlord must give three more days for you to pay or move if the notice is mailed. If you pay, your money is due by 11:59 p.m. of the third day for a 72-hour notice or 11:59 p.m. of the sixth day for a 144-hour notice.
Usually you can mail the late rent within the time periods. BUT if the nonpayment of rent notice was personally delivered to you (not posted on your door and then mailed) AND if your written rental agreement and the nonpayment of rent notice require this, you must bring (not mail) the rent to the place listed on the notice. (The place for paying rent must be either on the premises or where you always pay rent, and it must be available throughout the notice period.) ORS 90.394
Personal Injury, Threats, Substantial Damage
If you, your pet, or someone in your control: 1) inflicts substantial personal injury upon others on the premises; 2) seriously threatens to inflict personal injury or recklessly endangers a person on the premises; or 3) causes major damage to the unit, the landlord may give you a 24-hour notice (add 3 days if mailed and not posted). ORS 90.396
Extremely Outrageous Acts
The landlord may give you a 24-hour notice (add 3 days if mailed and not posted) if you, your pet, or someone in your control commits an act that is outrageous in the extreme on, or very near, the premises.
"Someone in your control" means a person that you permit to come to or stay in your place when you know or should know that he or she is committing (or is likely to commit) an "outrageous act," personal injury, substantial damage, or seriously threatening injury or damage."Outrageous acts" include (but aren't limited to) drug manufacturing or delivery, gambling, prostitution activity, burglary, or intimidation. The act must be extreme or serious. If not, the landlord must use a 30-day or a 10-day notice and not a 24-hour notice to evict a tenant. ORS 90.396
Drug- and Alcohol-Free Housing
If you live in "drug- and alcohol-free housing" (see below) and have lived there less than 2 years, your landlord may give you a 48-hour notice for consuming, possessing or sharing drugs or alcohol on or off the premises. The notice must tell you what you did wrong and give you 24 hours to fix the problem. If you correct the problem within 24 hours, then you may stay. ORS 90.398
If you possess or use drugs or alcohol again within 6 months after receiving a 48-hour notice with a 24-hour opportunity to fix the problem, the landlord may give you a 24-hour notice to move without any chance to fix the problem. ORS 90.398
"Drug- and alcohol-free housing"- for a rental complex to qualify as "drug- and alcohol-free housing" one tenant in each designated dwelling must be a recovering alcoholic or drug addict participating in an addiction recovery program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. The landlord must be a nonprofit corporation or a housing authority, must provide a drug- and alcohol-free environment, and must provide various forms of support for the tenants' recovery. There must also be a written rental agreement that states that the housing is alcohol- and drug-free, that the tenant must participate in a program of recovery and in urinalysis testing, and that the tenant may be evicted for not following these rules.
If a tenant living in a group recovery home (usually these are Oxford Houses) has used or possessed alcohol or drugs within the past week, the home may have a police officer remove you from your housing with 24-hours' notice if there is proof of relapse. The landlord is required to give you written notice explaining the reasons for removal, the deadline for move-out (which must be at least 24 hours after the notice is served). The home must allow you to follow any emergency departure plan previously agreed to at the time of your admission to the drug- and alcohol- free housing.
A tenant who has been removed in this way has a right to challenge the removal. If a court finds that the group recovery home misused the removal process, the tenant is entitled to at least 3 months' rent as damages and injunctive relief to regain possession.
The group recovery home's landlords are required to send copies of all notices of removal to the Oregon Department of Human Services in order to keep a file available to those who may wish to monitor the process. ORS 90.243
If the original tenant has moved and you are subleasing in violation of a written rental agreement that prohibits subleasing, and the landlord has not knowingly accepted rent from you, the landlord may give a 24-hour notice (add 3 days if mailed and not posted). ORS 90.403
Dwelling Posted for Code Violations
If a government inspector posts your dwelling as unsafe and unlawful to occupy, the landlord may give you a 24-hour notice unless the problems were caused by the landlord. ORS 90.380
If you live in a place because of your employment in or around the rental building (for example, a resident manager), you can be given a written notice of at least 24 hours terminating your employment. After the time in the notice has passed, the former employer can file an eviction but cannot lock you out or call the police for trespass. If you receive this kind of notice, you should contact a lawyer. ORS 91.120
Note: Farmworkers who work in fields, and not in and around the rental buildings, may not be evicted with this kind of 24-hour notice.
Before a landlord can convert your dwelling into a condominium, the landlord must provide you with a 120-day notice of eviction. This notice must tell you about rent increase restrictions, financial assistance that may be available to you in buying the unit, the prohibition on eviction without cause within the 120-day notice period, and must include an offer to sell the living space to you. During the 120-day notice period, the landlord is not allowed to evict you without cause or to enact unscheduled rent increases (over cost-of-living increases). Tenants may recover damages of up to six times the monthly rent if landlords violate these provisions. There are also new limits on the rehabilitation of common areas during the 120-day period.
The landlord must hand-deliver the eviction notice, mail it to your address, or put the notice on your door and mail you a copy. If the notice is handed to you, the notice period starts to run immediately. If it is only mailed to you, the landlord must add 3 days to length of notice time. If it is posted and mailed (where the written rental agreement requires this kind of service of both the tenant and the landlord), the notice starts to run either when the landlord mails the notice or, for 72-hour and 144-hour notices, at 11:59 p.m. on the day the landlord posts and mails the notice.
All eviction notices must be in writing.
ORS 90.155, 90.160
If the landlord accepts part of the rent, the landlord may not evict you during the same month for nonpayment of rent, unless you agreed to pay the balance on a certain day and then did not pay. If the landlord accepted part of the rent after serving a 72-hour or 144-hour eviction notice, it is harder for the landlord to evict you. Contact a lawyer if the landlord files for eviction. But the landlord has not "accepted" the partial rent payment if the landlord refunds the rent within 6 days of receiving it. The refund may be by personal delivery or first class mail (mailed within the 6 days). The refund may be in any form of check or money - the landlord doesn't have to return the tenant's check. If you are a Section 8 tenant, a landlord can accept the Section 8 rent assistance payment and still evict you if you don't pay your portion of the rent.
Even if you paid your rent, you can be evicted for other reasons. See Question 50 for the other types of evictions. If you have been given a 30-day no-cause eviction notice and the landlord accepts a rent payment that covers more than the 30 days, you can still be evicted after the 30 days. But, to be able to evict you, the landlord must return the extra rent to you within 6 days of receiving it. (Example: The landlord gives you a 30-day notice on July 15th and accepts a full month's rent payment from you on August 1st. On August 7th the landlord returns the rent that you paid that covers the time from August 16th to August 30th. You can be evicted after August 15th.)
It is illegal to discriminate against families because they have children (see the related question in this section). It is not illegal to evict a family for nonpayment of rent or other legal reasons. You can call the state welfare agency to see if you can get an emergency grant to help pay for moving.
Call a law office if you have trouble getting a grant. You can also call local organizations and churches to find out whether they have emergency money or housing.