Published on:

A Lease of Your Own: Renting a Room in Someone’s Oregon Home


Welcoming a renter into your home is a serious matter, whether that person is a friend, family member, or stranger. Becoming a tenant in someone’s home is equally serious. Make sure there is a lease.

Do you want to draft a Lease of Your Own?

1) There are “fill in the blank” forms, online and in print, but … there is no such thing as a free lunch, nor a Get Rid of a Bad Tenant (or escape a bad landlord) Free card. Use the online forms, but Caveat Emptor – and read on ….

2) Make sure you read about Oregon landlord-tenant law, Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS). The Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RLTA) is a complex tangle of rights, obligations, and protections.

3) Both the Oregon State Bar (OSB) and Legal Aid Service of Oregon (LASO) have useful information at their websites.

4) There are lots of print materials about Oregon landlord-tenant law, but very few of the most useful ones are online. The print resources include “Landlord-Tenant Rights in Oregon,” by Janay Haas, and others, but you will still need to update these by reading the current ORS RLTA (Residential Landlord and Tenant Act).

5) If you are a landlord and want to draft your own lease, please, consult an attorney, please, please, please, even if only for document review, especially if your eyes cross while reading about landlord-tenant law. There are many attorneys who would do the work for a modest cost – or barter. It is worth it every single penny. If you don’t have an attorney who knows landlord-tenant law, contact the Oregon State Bar (OSB) Information and Referral Service. (And here is my How to Find a Lawyer Guide.)

6) Word to the wise (and the arrogant): I know my way around a law library and I WOULD CONSULT AN ATTORNEY, especially before letting someone, anyone, move into a house I own. I don’t care if it’s your mother, your favorite uncle, or your best friend. I see too many people after the fact, trying to fix landlord-tenant problems that are now costing them a whole lot of money, on attorneys (or on repairs, on lost rent), because they didn’t listen to me and tried to take short cuts at the front end.

Of course, you don’t have to listen to me, but, I guarantee you, I’ll have the last words: I told you so.

Contact Information