A client recently asked me “Bjorn – We can’t get rid of a tenant anymore in Oregon, can we?”
This is a great question. One that the media has led many landlords in Oregon to assume is the truth. Although the recent overhaul of ORS 90 significantly impacted a landlord’s ability to terminate a tenancy there are still some circumstances where a landlord can terminate a tenancy. I found a recent publication by the Oregon State Bar – which indicates the opinion letter is intended to be legal advice! Why re-invent the wheel when we can look at the letter of the law explained by another lawyer. The Oregon State Bar response is below:
Can a landlord terminate a month-to-month tenancy under SB 608?
In most jurisdictions, a landlord can issue a written 30-day “no cause” eviction to month-to-month tenants during the first year of occupancy.
In other jurisdictions, including Portland and Milwaukie, 90 days are required instead of 30. “First year of occupancy” means the first year of any tenant’s residency at a rental property with a month-to-month rental agreement.
After the first year of occupancy, a landlord with month-to-month tenants can issue a 90-day termination notice if the landlord has a “qualifying landlord reason.” (See below for a discussion of qualifying landlord reasons.)
If a landlord has a qualifying landlord reason justifying a 90-day termination notice, the landlord must:
1. Issue a termination notice that states the reason for the termination and supporting facts allowing termination;
2. State the rental agreement will terminate on a specified date at least 90 days later; and
3. Pay the tenant one month’s rent when the written termination notice is issued UNLESS the landlord has an ownership interest in four or fewer residential dwelling units anywhere (not just Oregon).
Ownership interest includes being sole owner of a premises, a co-owner of a premises, or an owner of an LLC that owns real property.
A landlord can also issue a “no cause” termination notice after the first year of occupancy if the landlord’s primary residence is in the same building or on the same premises as the tenant, and the building or premises only has one or two dwelling units.
This could occur if a tenant lives in an ADU on the premises. In most jurisdictions this is a 60-day notice; in others, including Portland, Bend and Milwaukie, a 90-day notice is required. The timeline can be different when a property sale is involved, if:
1. The landlord has accepted an offer to sell a dwelling unit separately from any other unit;
2. The buyer is a person who intends in good faith to occupy the unit as the buyer’s primary residence; and
3. Within 120 days after accepting the purchase offer, the landlord provides the tenant with written notice of termination with a specific termination date and written evidence of the offer to purchase the dwelling unit.
The time period for this type of notice is 30 days in most jurisdictions; it is 90 days in Milwaukie or Portland. Finally, a landlord can issue a written “for cause” termination notice at any time during the tenancy. Reasons for terminating a tenancy “for cause” include, but are not limited to: material breach of the rental agreement (ORS 90.392), failure to pay rent (ORS 90.394) and outrageous conduct.
Isn’t it great to find resources out there that answer client’s question succinctly and eloquently!? Way to go Oregon State Bar. We appreciate your spot-on intel for us and help answering a straight forward question with a tricky answer!
Bjorn Hess, General Counsel