Legal FAQs for Renters in Oregon

This page has local legal information on residential (not commercial) renters’ issues. It is not legal advice, and you should check with your local legal aid and courts for current information.

This page was last updated on Sep 8th, 2022. It was reviewed by our volunteer attorney experts.

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Emergency Protections during COVID

Emergency Protections during COVID


Are there any special protections for Oregon renters during the emergency?

Yes. If your landlord gives you a termination notice for nonpayment of rent, or files an eviction against you for nonpayment of rent, you can get a 60-day pause on the eviction while you wait for rent assistance. (The pause lasts for 90 days in Multnomah County.)

To get the pause, you need to show your landlord proof that you have applied for rent assistance.

Renters in Portland and Multnomah County should check for extra protections here.

Earlier Protections

The statewide Oregon eviction moratorium expired on June 30, 2021. It protected renters if they gave their landlords a written declaration of their financial hardships. Earlier the Oregon Governor suspended of all terminations and evictions, for nonpayment of rent, fees, or utilities. It lasted from April 1, 2020 and the Oregon legislature extended it to December 31, 2020.

What do the eviction protections mean for Oregon renters?

If you do not qualify for local Portland protections, then for most Oregon renters:

  1. Your landlord can give you a notice of termination for nonpayment of rent, fees, or utilities, or a notice of termination without cause.
  2. Your landlord can file an eviction case in court against you that is based on nonpayment or a termination without cause.
  3. Hearings on eviction may happen in the Oregon courts.
  4. The court can issue an order, judgment, or writ of eviction against you (unless the eviction is based on violent or outrageous conduct).
  5. An existing eviction order may be enforced against you.

Renters in Portland and Multnomah County may have additional protections. Check for them here.

Do I still have to pay rent during the emergency in Oregon?

Yes, Oregon renters still need to pay rent during the emergency.

In Oregon, your landlord can’t evict you for nonpayment of rent from April 2020 - June 2021. This protection lasts until March 1, 2022.

If you live in Multnomah County and the City of Portland, you may have additional protections if they are struggling to pay rent during the emergency. Go here for more information.

If you cannot pay rent, take steps to protect yourself:

  • Apply for rental assistance. Go to OregonRentalAssistance.org, 211info.org, or call 2-1-1
  • Communicate with your landlord: Send a written letter or email to your landlord as soon as possible. Explain why you cannot pay the rent because of COVID-19 impact. You can also try to negotiate with your landlord to make a payment plan or get a temporary rent reduction. Get help here for drafting and mailing a letter to your landlord. You can also use this letter-writing tool here.
  • Get written records of all communication: Keep copies of any letter or email you send, and any responses from the landlord. Keep receipts for any payments you make. If you make a payment plan or rent agreement, make sure to get it in writing.
  • Keep proof of COVID-19's impact on you: Collect documents about your COVID-19-related employment problems, health care issues, or other issues that affect your ability to pay rent. This includes letters from your employer, doctor, insurance provider, child care provider, schools, etc.
  • Check for help: If you need financial assistance for housing costs, you may be able to get help.
Can my landlord evict me during the COVID-19 emergency in Oregon?

Oregon renters can be evicted, after the emergency protections ended on June 30, 2021.

If you receive a notice to quit from your landlord, or an eviction lawsuit, reach out for legal help.

Can my utilities be shut off during the emergency in Oregon?

Some Oregon utility companies have suspended shutoffs for nonpayment. Check with your local providers if you have any protections.

Renters must still pay their utility bills. If you need financial assistance for utility costs, you may be able to get help.

Landlords are never allowed to shut off a renter's utilities in an attempt to force the renter out. This is illegal. Reach out to a lawyer for help if this happens to you.

What if I need repairs?

Tell your landlord in writing about any repairs needed, particularly if they affect your health and safety.

The emergency may delay your landlord's ability to make repairs, but if they are urgent you should call your landlord to make the repairs as soon as possible.

Emergency repairs could be for problems with:

  • Running water or hot water
  • Heat or air conditioning
  • Stove, refrigerator, or oven
  • Electricity
  • Bathroom use
  • Missing doors, locks, or windows
  • Pests

If your landlord doesn't make the repairs promptly, send them a written letter or email about the need for emergency repairs (and keep a copy of this communication).

Reach out for legal help for additional guidance.

Can I break my lease?

You may be able to break your lease if you can come to an agreement with your landlord.

Your lease is still valid despite the COVID-19 emergency.

However, you can talk to your landlord to see if they will agree to let you leave early. If they agree, be sure to get the agreement in writing.

Also, you can review your lease. It may have a part that lets you end the lease early in times of financial difficulty. If your lease has this kind of part, you might be able to break the lease (in some cases penalty-free).

Find legal help to get advice for your situation.

What do I do if my landlord tries to evict me?

Contact a legal help organization to help defend yourself.

It is illegal for your landlord to evict you without first going to court and getting an eviction order. To remove you from your home, a landlord must take you to court by filing an eviction lawsuit, win the case, and getting an eviction order from the court.

Legal aid groups might be able to provide you with full representation, or other legal organizations can give you information or brief advice.

Find legal help to protect your rights.

Are eviction cases still proceeding through Oregon courts?

Oregon courts may hear eviction cases, including for evictions for reasons other than nonpayment of rent. Check regularly for more information.

In Oregon, can my landlord evict me for reasons other than nonpayment?

Yes, your landlord may be able to evict you for other reasons besides nonpayment of rent.

There are no remaining COVID related restrictions on landlord’s ability to terminate or evict. But a landlord still has to follow the law. Your landlord can’t evict you without giving you a notice and taking you to court.

Find legal help to get advice for your situation.

Did I have eviction protections under the CARES Act?

Renters in 3 categories have special national protections against being evicted during the Emergency Period of March 27, 2020 to July 24 or 25, 2020. These national protections add onto any state and local protections you have.

Do you fit in any of these 3 categories?

Your home’s owner has a federally backed mortgage loan or other guarantee (like through Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae). Search if your home is covered.
You pay rent through a federal assistance program like the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, Rural Development Voucher, or other 'covered housing' program.
You live in Public Housing, where the government is your landlord.

If you are a renter in one of these 3 categories, the federal CARES Act section 4024 gives you these protections. (Remember, these protections add onto any state and local protections you have)

  • Your landlord cannot file a new eviction lawsuit against you for not paying your rent during the Emergency Period. They can still evict you for other behavior, like drug abuse, other criminal activities, or other lease violations.
  • Your landlord cannot charge you new fees or penalties for not paying your rent during the Emergency Period.
  • After the Emergency Period ends, your landlord may not be able to evict you immediately.(Different states interpret the protections ending on July 24 or 25. Check with local lawyers to see about your state). If you have not paid your rent in full during the Emergency Period, your landlord must wait until the period ends before giving you a notice to vacate. For example, they may give you a notice on July 26, and you must be allowed until at least August 25 to leave the property.

For more help on these national protections, reach out for legal and financial help here. Also, use this tool to write a letter to your landlord if you are having issues with rent or eviction.

Received a Warning Notice about Eviction?

Received a Warning Notice about Eviction?


My landlord gave me a notice to "pay or quit" my rental home in Oregon. What should I do?

You do not have to leave your home yet.

In Oregon, your landlord must give you a written notice before they may bring you to court to evict you for not paying your rent (or other reasons). The notice should give you time to either pay your rent or prepare defenses against eviction.

This official notice must follow some rules to be valid. If it doesn't follow these rules, then you can challenge it and stop an eviction.

These are the Oregon requirements for a termination notice:

  1. The notice must be written down on paper. It cannot be an email or a text message.
  2. It must explain why you may be evicted -- whether it is for non-payment of rent, a lease violation, or other reason.
  3. The notice must be personally served to you, mailed to you by first-class mail, or the rental agreement must permit the notice to be posted on your door and mailed to you.
  4. If the notice is for nonpayment, it has to say exactly how much rent you owe.
  5. If the notice is for nonpayment, it has to say that the rent must be fully paid on a specific date that’s no earlier than three days from the date the landlord gave you the notice. The notice can’t require you to pay any late fees or other charges to avoid eviction.
  6. If the notice is for something other than nonpayment, it has to say what the reason is for the termination, or that the termination is for no reason. If you’ve lived in your home for more than a year, the landlord may not give a notice for no reason, unless you and the landlord live in the same house or apartment, or the landlord lives on the same property and there are only two dwellings on the property.

Reach out for legal help if you think the notice isn't correct, or if you need assistance in defending yourself against the eviction.

Find local legal help in Oregon here.

What if the landlord has just told me, face-to-face or over the phone, that I need to leave my home in Oregon?

A verbal conversation doesn't count as a "termination notice" in Oregon. To be legal, the notice must be written down and given to you in the correct way.

Reach out for legal help if your landlord is trying to make you leave without going through the court process. This is illegal and a lawyer may be able to help you protect yourself.

Find local legal help in Oregon here.

Do I have to leave my home in Oregon by the time of the eviction notice's expiration date?

No, you do not have to leave (or 'quit') your home by the date listed on the termination notice. You can choose to move out, and if you do there will be no eviction case filed against you if you move out before the date on the termination notice.

But you do not have to leave your home until you have been brought to court, and a judge has ordered that your landlord can make you leave.

After the date on the termination notice passes, then your landlord may file an eviction lawsuit in court against you. You will be able to go to court and present defenses to protect yourself.

Find local legal help in Oregon here.

My eviction notice says that I will be evicted unless I pay back-rent I owe in Oregon. What if I can't afford to pay it?

You still have time to reach out for rental assistance, and stop the eviction from moving forward.

Be sure to let the local group know that you have received a termination notice and what its deadline is. They may be able to help you pay the rent you owe, work with your landlord to reduce the amount, or put you on a payment plan. Be aware that if the payment deadline on your termination notice has passed, the landlord is not required to accept your payment.

Find local financial help in Oregon here.

How long do I have after I receive an eviction notice to pay back the rent to stop the eviction in Oregon?

In Oregon, you have a minimum of 3 days between your landlord giving you a notice and them filing a lawsuit against you in court to evict you. Depending on what your lease agreement says, your landlord can give you a 3 day notice if your rent is more than 7 days overdue, or a 6 day notice if the rent is more than 4 days overdue.

The notice should tell you how many days the landlord is giving you. If they are giving you less than 3 days to pay your rent, then you may be able to challenge it as illegal.

Reach out for legal help if you think the notice isn't giving you the required time to make your payment.

Find local legal help in Oregon here.

Facing an Eviction Lawsuit?

Facing an Eviction Lawsuit?


My landlord has filed an eviction lawsuit against me in court in Oregon. What should I do?

If your landlord has filed an eviction case against you, reach out for help. You can call the Oregon Eviction Defense Project at (888) 585-9638 or email evictiondefense@oregonlawcenter.org

You should make sure that the landlord properly 'served' you with the lawsuit. If they didn't give it to you in the correct way, you can challenge the eviction lawsuit. In Oregon, a landlord must follow certain rules to let you know about the lawsuit:

  1. Only certain people can give you the lawsuit's Summons and Complaint. The landlord cannot give you these papers — it has to be a person not involved in the case, like the sheriff, a deputy, or any competent person over 18.
  2. If you can’t be reached in person, the summons and complaint can also be posted on your door and mailed to you.
  3. The notice must have the date, time, and location for a First Appearance in a court.

You should also reach out to local lawyers who can help you prepare for your court hearing so you can protect yourself against the eviction.

Find local legal help in Oregon here.

Do I have to do anything after I get an eviction Summons and Complaint in Oregon?

In Oregon, you are required to respond to the eviction lawsuit, if you want to avoid the eviction.

You must come to court in person on the date of the first appearance, or contact the court to make other arrangements. If you don’t respond to the eviction or show up in court, you will lose your case automatically, and the landlord can get an order to force you to leave your home.

Reach out to legal help to learn what your rights and defenses are in your eviction case. These organizations can help you deal with this lawsuit.

Find local legal help in Oregon here.

Can I settle my eviction case without going to court in Oregon?

You can come to an agreement with your landlord, but you should still go to court to make sure your case is closed.

You can work with your landlord to work out an agreement before the date of the court hearing. This might be a payment plan or other agreement on what needs to happen for you to stay in your home.

Be sure to get this agreement in writing, so that you can prove it exists and that your landlord follows through on it.

Even if you make an agreement with your landlord, you should still go to court for your hearing date, to make sure the court knows about the agreement and closes the lawsuit. If you do not go to court, the lawsuit might still continue and the judge might rule that the landlord can remove you. Go to court yourself to make sure this doesn't happen.

You can reach out for legal help to get assistance in negotiating an agreement with your landlord, and making sure this agreement is being followed.

Find local legal help in Oregon here.

Behind on Rent?

Behind on Rent?


How do I apply for rental assistance in Oregon?

If you are behind on rent, you can get help from your local Rental Assistance program. This is a government service to help people who owe rent or utility bills.

In Oregon, go to OregonRentalAssistance.org, 211info.org, or call 2-1-1

Especially if you are behind on rent because of COVID-19 hardships, your local Rental Assistance (or Rent Relief) program can help you.

Find your local Rental Assistance program at your Get Help page here.

Am I eligible for rent relief?

Local governments set the rules about who is eligible for rent relief. Most programs focus on people who have suffered COVID-19 hardships.

You can talk to your local Rental Assistance program to learn their eligibility rules.

You may have to show your household income, or if you are on other benefits programs like SNAP.

You may also have to show that you are at risk of homelessness or eviction if you don't get rental assistance.

Check with your local Rental Assistance program to see if you are eligible.

Does immigration status matter for rent relief?

Many local Rental Assistance programs are open to everyone, regardless of immigration status. Many programs do not even ask about immigration status.

Check with your local Rental Assistance program to make sure about eligibility rules and immigration.

Can a landlord apply for their renter, to get rental assistance?

Most Rental Assistance programs let landlords apply.

Either a renter or a landlord can start the application.

The landlord will have to fill in as much information they have about the amount of money needed, and the eligibility for the program. The tenant may have to fill in the rest of the information.

Check with your local Rental Assistance program about the steps to follow to apply for rent relief.

I owe rent from the time between April 2020 and June 2021. Do I have to pay back that rent? Can my landlord evict me if I don’t?

In Oregon, your landlord can’t evict you for nonpayment of rent from April 2020-June 2021. This protection lasts until March 1, 2022.

You should apply for rent assistance to help pay your back rent. Go to OregonRentalAssistance.org, 211info.org, or call 2-1-1.

Get Help From Local Groups

State information is taken from these sources:Princeton Eviction Lab's COVID Policy ScorecardsColumbia Law School COVID-19 Eviction Moratoria analysisEnergy and Policy Institute Utility Disconnect TrackerOregon Governor executive orderEWEB utility shutoffOregon CourtsPortland and Multnomah County local rulesHillsboro local rulesBeaverton local rulesOregon legislature eviction extension

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