Managing a rental property takes a lot of work. Landlords in Portland, Oregon grapple with changes in the rental market, seasonal maintenance to cope with the constant winter rains, and creating compelling rental listings to appeal to Portland’s eclectic renters. With all the work it takes to keep a rental running in good order, it’s little surprise that many landlords struggle with another equally crucial component of property management: staying compliant with landlord-tenant laws and property codes.
Staying Compliant With Landlord-Tenant Laws
The pandemic saw a total upheaval in national landlord-tenant laws, and Portland was no different. Eviction moratoriums, limits on open houses, and extended timeframes for paying back rent were only a few of the curveballs that Portland landlords faced. Even without the addition of pandemic legislation, landlords must still stay up to date with the ever-changing legislation and code requirements for property managers in Portland. Here are a few examples.
In July 2021, a new law amended landlords’ handling of tenant screening practices. It created guidelines for the fees a landlord may charge when screening a tenant (no greater than your average cost of screening applicants). It also limits the criteria landlords can use to approve or deny a renter’s application, such as a tenant’s criminal record. In addition, it requires landlords to provide an explanation for denying a renter’s application within 14 days.
Many landlords require tenants to purchase renter’s insurance before moving into a unit. Oregon’s Renter’s Liability Insurance Law specified many parameters in which a landlord can require renter’s insurance. It also clarified limitations on the amount of insurance, and other factors.
Also known as Oregon’s Right to Air Conditioning law, this state bill requires landlords to allow their tenants access to air conditioning if none is provided in the unit. The heat dome event in the summer of 2021 spurred lawmakers to ensure that landlords could not bar their tenants from using an air conditioning unit as long as it can be operated safely and without damaging the property. However, this law does not require landlords to install air conditioning on their property.
These recent laws are only a few examples of how landlord-tenant law constantly evolves. And of course, knowledge is only half the battle. Being aware of the current regulations in the Portland rental market is one thing. Ensuring your property is staying compliant with landlord-tenant laws is an entirely new ball game.
Maintenance and Repairs
Ensuring your property remains in good repair can be difficult and time-consuming. Older properties may need frequent maintenance and expensive repairs that can quickly eat into your return on investment. And aside from the financial and logistical difficulties of maintenance and repairs, you could get in legal trouble if you don’t keep your property up to code. Oregon gives landlords a month to see to non-essential repairs, and seven days to tend to essential fixes. However, if your tenants wait that long for a crucial repair, they might not renew their lease next time. That can ultimately hurt your business.
An additional layer of difficulty is the struggle many landlords have faced securing contractors’ services. Since the pandemic, many vendors and contractors have faced long wait lists, material shortages, and other challenges. If you cannot complete repairs in a timely manner due to issues with finding vendors, you can still face penalties.
Tenant disputes are always a stressful aspect of property management and must be handled delicately. Resolving complaints before they become serious problems is the best way to avoid being embroiled in a legal issue. Still, in some cases, it may become unavoidable. In situations where you need to evict a tenant, you must familiarize yourself with all eviction laws as applicable in Oregon and Portland.
For example, you can only evict a renter without cause if it is month-to-month and in the first year of the tenancy. Otherwise, your tenant must have given you cause to evict them, such as not paying rent or breaking the terms of their lease. Even in these situations, many rules govern how evictions must be handled. For instance, giving renters a series of notices to pay rent or correct a lease violation before they can be evicted.
Unfortunately, dealing with evictions and lease violations can be very stressful. Knowing that a wrong move could land you in legal hot water only makes these situations more difficult. Sometimes getting a little help navigating landlord-tenant laws in Portland, Oregon, makes running a rental far easier.
Should You Work With A Property Manager?
When many people first consider renting out their property, they imagine that the most significant challenges are the day-to-day tasks of maintaining a rental. However, many more don’t consider how staying compliant with landlord-tenant laws in Portland can eat into their day. The sheer need to stay up to date on changing legislation can quickly create additional stress for property managers. In such cases, working with a property manager is a great option.
Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew has worked with Portland landlords for years to stay compliant with landlord-tenant laws. From tenant screening to 48-hour maintenance, we ensure that your rental is in line with all the most recent regulations. We take the work of researching new laws and ordinances off your plate so you can focus on what you care about most. You can be as hands-on or hands-off with your property as you want. Whether you want to keep performing your own maintenance or just sit back and let our experts handle the details, we’re here to help. To get more information, call or text us any time at (503) 515-3170 or fill out the contact form on our website.