Oregon Landlord-Tenant Law is a lot more complicated than people imagine. Landlords and tenants should seek current and accurate legal information and, in most cases, get professional legal advice from a licensed Oregon attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant law.
Everyone should do this BEFORE trouble strikes.
It’s a lot more expensive to fix a legal problem than it is to prevent one -just ask any landlord-tenant attorney – or any landlord or tenant who thought leases, evictions, and escrow accounts were subject to Common Sense Rules or the If it’s Online it Must Be OK “Rule” instead of the You Have to Research the Actual Law Rule. That person is now paying a lawyer lots of money to fix a problem that might have been avoided – or gnashing teeth over the Unjustness of the World. (Yes, life is sometimes unfair in your favor, but seldom when it comes to landlord-tenant law.)
If you choose not to talk to a lawyer (even for a brief consultation) or use a county law library to do the requisite legal research, at least do a little homework (but don’t blame me if you lose in court).
Despite what your neighbor, or even your legislators may say, you cannot “google” a legal problem and expect good results, unless you are an experienced legal researcher or an attorney. (And smart attorneys and law librarians consult attorneys.)
What do I mean by “a little homework?” If you spend less than a couple hours at the law library researching the statutes, the cases, updating your research results, and reviewing the secondary sources, you have not done the bare minimum of your landlord-tenant legal research homework. This of course assumes you want to know if you have a good case, or a good lease, and if you want to prevail in whatever sticky situation you find yourself in – or might find yourself in.
So, here’s your Landlord-Tenant Homework, the Minimalist Menu:
1) Oregon State Bar Lawyer Referral Service: website and phone: 503-684-3763
2) Oregon Law Center, Tenant’s Hotline (more info at the Oregon Law Help website): 503-648-7723
3) Community Alliance of Tenants (CAT), Renter’s Rights Hotline: 503-288-0130
4) Legal Aid Services of Oregon (LASO), Oregon Law Help website resources for tenants and landlords
5) Fair Housing Council of Oregon resources for tenants and landlords
6) Stevens-Ness Law Publishing: Oregon landlord-tenant handbook and related landlord-tenant forms
7) Previous OLR posts on Oregon landlord-tenant law.
8) Last, but not least: Imagine What Could Go Wrong!