Renting is a complicated business. Landlords have a number of tools at hand when it comes to solving problems with tenants. Some issues can be worked out amicably through communication, negotiation, and mediation. If these are the pliers, glue, and screwdrivers of a landlord’s metaphorical toolbox, eviction is the not-so-subtle hammer. Evicting a tenant can be a complicated, costly, and stressful process. But if a tenant stops paying rent, breaks their leasing agreement, or engages in criminal activity, you may have no other choice.
An eviction is a legal process where the court removes a tenant from the property they are renting. There are two kinds of eviction notices: just cause, and no-cause. The difference between them is crucial, as each has very specific limitations. There are also different restrictions on when and how you can evict based on where your property is. For instance, Portland has additional regulations compared to the rest of Oregon. Knowing the ins and outs is essential, as any misstep on your part could embroil you in a costly legal battle.
With our depth of experience at Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew, we know the complications that can arise during an eviction. Here are a few of our most important insights to keep in mind if you need to evict a tenant.
Just Cause Vs. No-Cause Evictions
Evicting a tenant requires a few steps. First, a landlord must serve a termination notice giving a tenant a certain number of days to move out. If the tenants don’t move out, the landlord goes to court. If the court rules in their favor, law enforcement will remove the tenant and their property from the unit.
The difference between a just cause and no-cause eviction is fairly straightforward. A just cause eviction cites a reason for the removal, and a no-cause eviction does not. However, this simple distinction means a world of difference in how the courts handle these evictions.
There are several “tenant reasons” that a landlord can use for a just cause eviction:
- They stop paying rent.
- A tenant violates the rental agreement.
- The tenant or a guest causes damage to the property.
- The tenant or a guest causes an injury to each other or another resident.
- A renter is involved in criminal activity.
- The leased residence is foreclosed.
Time Limits for Evictions
The amount of advance notice you must give a tenant of an eviction varies based on the terms of the lease and the eviction circumstances. Many different circumstances may impact that time frame.
In most cases, month-to-month tenancies require 30 days’ advance notice before you can evict a tenant for just cause. The tenant may have a window of two weeks to fix the violation that prompted the eviction. However, there are some circumstances in which an eviction can happen even sooner.
For instance, if a tenant has not paid rent within seven days of the due date, landlords can issue a 72-hour eviction notice. In very rare circumstances, a landlord can send a tenant a 24-hour eviction notice. These circumstances include illegal activity, intentional harm to the property or another person on the property, and illegally subletting. In some cases, a landlord can serve a 24-hour eviction if they find out a tenant lied about a previous criminal conviction.
Oregon Senate Bill 608 banned no-cause evictions after the first year of residence, except under certain circumstances. In the first year of residence, you must give a tenant 30 days’ notice of a no-cause eviction. In Portland, Milwaukie, and Bend, you must provide a tenant 90 days’ notice. After the first year, you can only evict a tenant for no-cause for the following reasons:
- You intend to demolish the unit or use it for something other than a residence.
- Planned renovations or repairs will make the property unsafe to inhabit.
- You, your family, or the property’s new owner plans to move in.
A lease agreement for a set period, such as six or twelve months, cannot be terminated during the term of the lease by a no-cause eviction notice unless the lease states otherwise.
If you’re considering evicting a tenant, Portland has some additional regulations to keep in mind. One of these is mandatory relocation assistance in case of a no-cause eviction or other circumstances that cause your tenant to leave the unit when they would rather stay. If your tenant does not live with you and is not in a week-to-week lease, you will be required to pay relocation assistance under the following circumstances:
- After issuing a no-cause eviction.
- Issuing a notice of non-renewal of a fixed-term lease.
- One of the qualified no-cause reasons listed above.
- Increasing rent over ten percent or more over 12 months.
- A substantial change of lease terms.
Portland tenants must receive a written notice of rent increase with 90 days’ notice.
Landlords Must Navigate Complicated Regulations
Remember, only a court can issue an eviction. This means that all actions taken against the tenant must be carried out by a law enforcement officer. You cannot lock your tenant out of the property, remove their belongings, or shut off their utilities. These actions are illegal, and one of the many mistakes which can cost landlords dearly in court.
Evictions are difficult to handle, but it’s even worse to face a counter-lawsuit and lose. Landlords need to remain aware of the changing legal landscape and stay on the right side of the law.
Leave The Tough Stuff To Us
This overview of the restrictions may sound complicated, but in many ways, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Eviction may be a blunt-force tool, but what if you had a metaphorical handyman to take care of everything for you? At Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew, we come prepared with an entire toolbox of property-managing expertise. Spend less time worrying about finding good tenants and getting rid of bad ones, and more time reaping the rewards of your investment. We handle repairs, maintenance, and all communication with tenants. If you need a break from complex rental laws, feel free to give us a call or text at (503) 515-3170 or complete the contact form on our website.