Changes to Landlord Tenant Law – Senate Bill 608

In a previous article, I wrote about tenant screening and the importance of proper screening for both the landlord as well as the tenant of a rental property. But what happens if you are a tenant or landlord, you went through proper screening and you wish to get out of your lease agreement? Over the past 10 years, this area of law has been changing.

For decades before 2009, in a month to month tenancy, either party could terminate the tenancy without cause by giving the other party a 30-day notice. This is called a “no-cause termination.” In 2009, the Oregon legislature made significant changes to these decades’ old laws. It lengthened the 30-day notice requirement to 60-days, for example, if the landlord was giving the notice to the tenant and the tenant was living on the property for over a year in a month-to-month lease. Fixed term leases had their own set of rules. Since 2009, no major changes occurred in “no-cause” rental termination until recently with Oregon Senate Bill 608 (SB 608).

Though there are exceptions, SB 608 requires a 90-day notice. SB 608 also drastically alters no-cause month-to-month termination essentially eliminating it to “for-cause” only unless the landlord has specific qualifying reasons. For cause typically means the tenant did something wrong such as not pay rent or have an unauthorized pet. A qualifying reason is different from for cause, in that, it is not necessarily anything the tenant did wrong but things which allow the landlord to reasonably terminate the lease, such as to remodel the rental unit due to no fault of the tenant. There are only four qualifying reasons in SB 608 for a landlord to terminate. SB 608 became law this year and it has significantly tightened the screws on legally terminating a residential rental agreement.

If you are a landlord or tenant and need assistance drafting a lease, terminating a rental agreement or with eviction, feel free to contact our office. We will be happy to help!

Scott C. Bucy is an attorney with the Law Office of Robert Good LLC, specializing in business, landlord-tenant, family law and contracts.
Contact him at (541) 482-3763.