Evictions Guidance

Terminating Tenancies: What is Allowed?

December 13 Special Session Update (SB 891): 

  • Extends safe harbor period for non-payment of current rent (rent that came due after June 30, 2021) through September 30, 2022, for tenants who have a pending application for emergency rental assistance and have provided documentation of their application to their landlord prior to June 30, 2022.
  • The extended safe harbor period applies to termination notices and actions that were initiated prior to the act taking effect on December 13, 2021.

(December 14, 2021)

This is not legal advice.  This is summary information for educational purposes only.  Details on the precise methods for terminating tenancies is not included here.  Landlords should consult with their own legal counsel before taking any action to terminate a tenancy.          

Termination Type Occupancy < 1 Year Occupancy > 1 Year
No Cause Termination Yes No
Qualifying Landlord Reason Termination No Yes
Nonpayment of Emergency Period Rent, Fees, Charges No No
Nonpayment of Current Rent, Fees, Charges Depends* Depends*
Tenant Cause (other than nonpayment) Yes Yes

*Termination prohibited through September 30, 2022 if tenant has provided notification to landlord of application for emergency rental assistance by June 30, 2022.  Additional details below.  

No Cause Terminations

Within the first year of occupancy, landlords can terminate a month-to-month tenancy or terminate a fixed term tenancy at the end of the fixed term, with at least 30 days notice.   No cause terminations are prohibited after the first year of occupancy.  See ORS 90.427 for additional details.  Local jurisdictions may have additional requirements regarding length, content and delivery of notices.

Qualifying Landlord Reason (QLR) Terminations

These are terminations after the first year of occupancy for (1) demolition/conversion of the unit to nonresidential use, (2) remodeling when the unit is or will be unfit/unsafe for occupancy, (3) landlord or landlord’s immediate family member moving in to the dwelling unit or (4) landlord accepting an offer to purchase the dwelling unit, separately from any other dwelling unit, from a buyer who intends in good faith to occupy the dwelling unit as a primary residence.  These terminations are allowed with a 90-day notice.  Notices must state the reason for the notice and supporting facts.  Landlords who have an ownership interest in 5 or more dwelling units must also pay a relocation fee of one month’s rent along with the notice.  Landlords terminating under (4) above, must also provide evidence of the accepted offer to purchase.  For more information on QLR terminations, see ORS 90.427(5) and (6).  The City of Portland has additional notice and relocation fee requirements.

Nonpayment of Emergency Period (April 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021) Rent, Fees, Charges

Terminations for nonpayment of rent, charges or fees that came due between April 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 are prohibited through February 28, 2022.  In addition, landlords must include a statement that eviction for nonpayment of rent, charges and fees accrued from April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 is not allowed before February 28, 2022 any time they communicate with a tenant about the tenant’s nonpayment balance from this period.  For more information, see SB 282, watch our webinar or review this summary from Oregon REALTORS® or this summary from Warren Allen, LLP.

Nonpayment of Current Rent

Through September 30, 2022, terminations for nonpayment of current rent (rent that came due after June 30, 2021) are not allowed if the following conditions are met:

  • Tenant provides landlord with notification that tenant has applied for emergency rental assistance, and the application is still pending.
  • The notification occurs at or prior to first appearance in eviction court.
  • The notification occurs on or before June 30, 2022

If a landlord has sent a termination notice but has not filed an eviction claim, and subsequently receives notice from the tenant that the tenant has applied for emergency rental assistance, the landlord must stop pursuing the termination.  Once the emergency rental assistance application is no longer pending, the landlord can issue a new termination notice, if the tenant is still behind on current rent.  If a landlord has already filed for an eviction and the tenant provides notice that the tenant has applied for emergency rental assistance at or prior to first appearance in court, the proceeding will be stayed by the court during the pendency of the emergency rental assistance application.  After either party notifies the court that the emergency rental assistance application is no longer pending, the court will schedule the first appearance.

Landlords who receive notification that their tenant has applied for rental assistance after they have filed an eviction action but at or prior to first appearance may be benefited by promptly dismissing the action:  those who do so will not be liable to the tenant for prevailing party fees, costs or attorney fees in the event the court dismisses the action.

Along with any termination notice for nonpayment of rent, the landlord must include a notice that eviction for nonpayment of rent, charges and fees accrued from April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 is not allowed before February 28, 2022 and that if the tenant has applied for emergency rental assistance, the tenant is temporarily protected from eviction for nonpayment during the pendency of their emergency rental assistance application, along with other information.  The content of these notices is detailed in statute (SB 282 and SB 891) and landlords should not deviate from the statutory language.  Updated sample notices should be available soon from landlord-tenant forms providers such as Multifamily NW, Oregon Rental Housing Association and on the Oregon Courts landlord-tenant forms center (as of December 15, 2021 the notice on the Oregon Courts forms center had not been updated to reflect SB 891).

In addition to the safe harbor period and notice requirements described above, there are other modifications to the typical termination process for nonpayment of current rent, charges or fees (ORS 90.394). The 72/144 notice period described in ORS 90.394 is now a 10/13 day notice period.  Another deviation is that landlords must apply dollars they receive from their tenant first to current rent, fees and charges before applying it to back rent.

For more information see ORS 90.394HB 4401SB 278, SB 282 and SB 891.

For Cause Terminations

For cause terminations (other than nonpayment) are allowed.  For more information see ORS 90.392 (Termination of tenancy for cause; tenant right to cure violation); 90.396 (acts or omissions justifying termination 24 hours after notice); 90.398 (Termination of tenancy for drug or alcohol violations); 90.405 (effect of tenant keeping unpermitted pet); 90.445 (Termination of tenant committing criminal act of physical violence).

Additional Rules in Local Jurisdictions

Local jurisdictions may have additional requirements regarding length, content and delivery of notices.  The City of Portland requires 90 day notices for no cause terminations, a notification of tenant’s rights and responsibilities to be included with all terminations, and additional rental relocation assistance for all no cause and qualifying landlord reason terminations, unless exempted.   The City of Milwaukie requires 90 day notice for all no cause terminations.  Other jurisdictions have their own rules.  Always consult local jurisdictions and talk with an attorney before terminating a tenancy.

Penalties

Penalties for unlawfully pursuing a termination or eviction can be steep.  Penalties under Oregon law can be as much as 3x rent plus actual damages, attorney’s fees and costs, and tenants can recover possession of the unit.

Court Timelines

Timelines for eviction proceedings in Oregon courts may be delayed due to COVID-19.  The latest order of the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court extends timelines for F.E.D. (eviction) proceedings.  Contact your county court for more information on timelines.     

This is not legal advice.  This is summary information for educational purposes only.  Details on the precise methods for terminating tenancies is not included here.  Landlords should consult with their own legal counsel before taking any action to terminate a tenancy.