Managing a property takes a lot of work. You have to spend your days dealing with maintenance and repairs, researching the latest in local, state, and federal property laws, and staying on top of tenant communications. In times when your unit is vacant, you have to juggle the stress of creating eye-catching rental listings without even collecting rental income. And with all of those concerns, you also have to worry about the possibility of dealing with one of the common legal issues in property management. Issues between tenants and landlords are a common source of legal dispute. But as a property owner, you may even get drawn into legal issues with an unsavory property manager.

Luckily, with extra work and diligence, many legal issues are avoidable before they even begin. Here’s how to stay on the right side of rental law in Portland.

Disputes Between Tenants and Landlords

Tension between landlords and tenants is always stressful. At best, it’s an unpleasant experience that both parties can work out through calm discussion and negotiation. At worst, it can turn into a drawn-out legal battle that mires you in fees and wasted time. Here are some of the most common legal disputes between tenants and landlords. 

Eviction Disputes

No landlord wants to have to evict their tenant. However, in certain circumstances, eviction ends up being the only option. Under Oregon law, the circumstances in which you can complete an eviction are limited. Even with what you believe is just cause to evict, you should make sure that you have legal cause as well. Valid legal grounds for eviction include nonpayment of rent or breaking the lease, but the nuances of eviction law are fairly complicated. In addition, new legislation on the horizon, such as Oregon State Bill 799, may continue to make changes to the state’s ever-shifting guidelines around evictions. The bottom line is that you must ensure you’re fully educated on eviction law and your tenants’ rights before you move forward with an eviction, or else you risk landing in legal trouble.


Oregon’s new screening requirements have created more protections for tenants. This also means that if your process isn’t up to date, an applicant could take you to court for discrimination. This makes it crucial to update your screening practices to reflect the most recent changes in the Oregon legislature. 

False Advertising

Your rental listings must always be accurate and comprehensive. If you advertise that your rental has features or amenities that it doesn’t possess, you may find yourself in legal hot water. If you falsely claim that the rental has an in-unit washer and dryer, your tenants will be able to demand that you provide one. If you do not, they may be able to take you to court. 

Disputes Between Owners and Property Managers

It’s an unfortunate fact that not every property manager is up to snuff. There are many signs that you may need to find a new property manager. Maybe you struggle to get in contact with them, or only hear from them if there’s bad news. If you visit your property and see that it’s falling into disrepair, that’s another warning sign that your property manager isn’t doing their job. And, of course, protecting you from dealing with common legal issues in property management is one of a property manager’s most important duties. Suppose your property manager isn’t updating you on how they’re developing their screening and lease agreements to align with Oregon’s changing legislation. That’s a warning sign that you might need to find a better property management team before you get into legal trouble. In some cases, it may be in your best interests to take legal action against your property management company for breach of contract. 

Other Common Legal Issues in Property Management

If you’re in the market for an investment property to turn into a rental, be cautious. Many legal issues can arise during or after the buying process. Most of these problems boil down to two things: misrepresentation and non-disclosure. 

When purchasing a new property, there are many potential issues you have to keep in mind. The property might be tied up in existing legal issues, be poorly constructed, or have severe structural damage. It may also have environmental problems like standing water during the winter. Insinuating a property’s structure is in good condition when it actually isn’t is illegal. However, it is sadly common for salespeople to exaggerate their property’s positive qualities while attempting to hide its drawbacks. 

While lying about the state of the property isn’t permitted, it can be challenging to prove and punish. That’s why it’s best to protect yourself from the beginning. Removing predictions and using seller disclosure papers are can secure your investment when investing in a new property. Though you may be able to take a seller to court, it’s better to avoid the headache of a troublesome property from the beginning. 

Avoid Legal Issues With Your Rental From the Start

Rather than untangling a legal snarl after it already forms, the best thing for self-managing owners to do is avoid legal issues in the first place. Of course, considering the complexities of rental law, that involves a lot of work. You have to stay up to date on changing legislation and keep a weather eye on any new changes in the future. For landlords who want to keep it simple, that can be a recipe for burnout.

Instead, why not consider working with a property management company? Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew can answer any questions you might have about local rental laws. With our years of experience in the business, we’re experts on Portland’s codes and legislation. You can count on our team’s expertise to run your rental with the utmost diligence. Instead of spending all your time researching legislation and worrying that you’ve missed something, why not put your property in the hands of the experts? To learn more, call or text us today at 503-515-3170.