NEW FOR 6-23-10
Oregon Landlord Tenant law has changed concerning the requirement for carbon monoxide alarms. You can check out what the Oregon Fire Marshall has to say about this requirement at http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/SFM/docs/Comm_Ed/CO_Q-A.pdf
NEW FOR 4-8-2010
HUD has updated their guidance on electrical outlets in units assisted through the Housing Choice Voucher program. Housing Quality Standards has always required that outlets be in proper operating condition. The new guidance identifies what “proper operating condition” means.
Two-pronged outlets, typically in older construction, are acceptable providing they work properly. Three-pronged outlets in newer construction are also acceptable, providing the outlets are properly grounded and work properly.
HUD is most concerned with “upgraded” outlets, that is three-pronged outlets that were used to replace the traditional two-pronged outlets but were not grounded and therefore not in “proper operating condition.” Three-pronged, grounded type outlets should not be substituted for ungrounded outlets unless: (1) a ground wire is connected to the outlet, or (2) a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protects the outlet.
The Housing Council has always tested outlets to make sure they are in working order. Now we will be testing outlets to ensure they are properly grounded. If they do not test correctly, this will constitute a fail item and you will be given time to correct the problem. In addition, we will be testing any GFCIs in the unit to make sure they are properly grounded and working properly.
Changes affecting landlords adopted by the 2009 Legislature
By J. Norton Cabell
SB 771 (enacted: effective Jan. 1. 2010)
General landlord tenant coalition omnibus bill
• A landlord’s no-cause notice during the first year of occupancy must be a minimum of 30 days, but after the first year of the occupancy must be at least 60 days. “First year of occupancy” means that all of the current tenants have been there for at least a year.
• For a fixed-term tenancy of at least one year that by its terms converts to a month-to-month tenancy, the landlord may use a 30-day notice during the 30 days prior to the conversion date, but must a 60-day notice after that date.
• A no-cause notice may give an explanation of the reason for the termination without making it a for-cause notice as long as the notice contains certain wording.
• All one-time fees, such as cleaning fees, pet fees, carpet cleaning fees, and move-in fees, are prohibited. Fees for service or companion animals are prohibited.
• A landlord must provide a written disclosure of rent, deposits, and fees when entering into a rental agreement or, if accepting a deposit under an agreement to rent the property at a future date, when accepting a deposit under that agreement. The parties can agree to amend that list before entering into a rental agreement.
• Only certain noncompliance fees are allowed. They are:
 late charges;
 for a bounced check, plus any amount the landlord was charged by the bank;
 in a manufactured home, for pet violations;
 unless the landlord chooses to charge for damages, breaking a lease, though limited to one and a half times rent;
 late payment of utilities paid to the landlord (not to exceed $50);
 failure to clean up pet waste (not to exceed $50);
 failure to clean up garbage from outside the dwelling unit (not to exceed $50);
 parking violations (not to exceed $50); and
 improper use of vehicles, such as speeding, on the premises (not to exceed $50).
• Charges for services requested by the tenant and not required by lease or law, such as key replacement and lock-out fees, are not prohibited.
• Landlords may not charge a security or pet deposit for a companion or service animal.
• Landlords can charge for their own labor when making repairs or cleaning.
• Rent for the time a rental unit is unavailable for renting because of cleaning or repairs caused by the tenant can be charged to a security deposit.
• If agreed to in the rental agreement and if the carpet was cleaned before the tenant moved in, the landlord can charge from the deposit carpet cleaning regardless of the condition of the carpet and even if the tenant had the carpet cleaned.
• If a tenant terminates a fixed-term tenancy prior to its expiration, a landlord may charge actual damages, including rent and cost of re-renting.
SB 875 (enacted; effective immediately)
Fees for companion animals
• Clarifies a landlord may not charge a fee or deposit for a companion animal.
SB 952 (enacted; for most purposes, effective immediately)
• Tenant must receive 30 days (60 days if fixed-term lease) notice to vacate after foreclosure sale.
• Tenant must be notified of pending foreclosure.
• After receipt of notice of sale, tenant can apply security deposit to rent.
HB 2135 (enacted; effective Jan. 1, 2010)
• A landlord must disclose smoking policies in a rental agreement: no restrictions on smoking, smoking allowed only in certain areas, smoking is prohibited.
• This statute does not apply to parks.
HB 2614 (enacted; effective Jan. 1, 2010)
Flood zone disclosure
• If a dwelling unit (including a space in a park) is located in a “100-year flood plain,” as defined by FEMA, a landlord must so disclose.
• If a tenant suffers loss from a flood and a landlord failed to make the proper disclosure, the penalty is the lesser of actual damages or two month’s rent.
HB 3450 (enacted; complicated, but mostly effective July 1, 2010)
Requiring carbon monoxide detectors
• A landlord must install carbon monoxide detectors in dwelling units where there is a carbon monoxide source or an attached garage.
• State fire marshal shall adopt rules regarding installation, placement, testing, etc., of alarms.
• A landlord must provide a tenant written instructions for testing the alarm.
• A tenant may not tamper with or remove a detector.