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  • Tim O'Donnell

Will Oregon's New Landlord-Tenant Laws Impact My Ability to Sell My Rental Home?

Oregon is currently in the process of reforming landlord-tenant laws (SB 608) which will effectively abolish no-cause evictions and place limits on how much landlords can increase rent. SB 608 has a long way to go before it becomes a law, but it has garnered support from Gov. Kate Brown and other key legislators which means the law is virtually guaranteed to pass.

A landlord client of mine heard about the new laws and was concerned that they would interfere with his plans to sell a rental house of his later this year. While the text of SB 608 is still in its early stages and there are sure to be changes, it looks like the new laws will keep in place the current law (90.427(5)) regarding terminating a lease when you are selling a rental home - with some minor changes.

ORS 90.427(5) currently allows a landlord to give a tenant a 30-day termination of lease notice when they have accepted an offer from a buyer whom intends to occupy the unit as their residence. The law also requires you to provide written evidence of an accepted purchase offer to the tenant within 120 days of accepting the offer.

SB 608 changes this law by increasing the termination notice period from 30 days to 90 days. If the tenant is on a fixed term tenancy, the termination notice must be given 90 days prior to the termination of date of the lease. The rule regarding giving written evidence of an accepted purchase offer within 120 days remains the same.

On another note, SB 608 also adds some additional situations that would allow landlords to terminate a lease such as when the landlord plans a major remodel that would make the unit unfit for living or when the landlord intends to live in the unit.

When I first started practicing in San Francisco, the city also prohibited no-cause evictions and capped rent increases. During the tech boom, many landlords tried to get around these laws by abusing a similar owner-occupied law. They would give a tenant an eviction notice saying that they were going to live in the unit, live there for a few months, and then re-rent the unit at double or even triple the previous rent. Under SB 608, there is language that says a landlord can't use the owner-occupied exception if they own a comparable dwelling unit, but I wouldn't be surprised if the same abusive practices happens in Oregon once this law goes into effect.

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