Hi, I’m Faye with Residential Property Management in Portland, and today I want to talk a little bit about the laws governing the landlord and tenant relationship in Portland. First, they are very extensive and they are always changing. One of the biggest challenges a landlord faces is staying current with all the legal requirements that come with your rental property. Before you decide to manage your property on your own, instead of hiring a professional property manager, you’ll need to consider the time and education involved in keeping up with legal changes and responsibilities. For example, a lot of changes went into effect recently, and if you are not aware of them, it could cause you problems with your rental property and the way you manage your tenants.
As an example, one of the new laws involves renters insurance. Many landlords require their tenants to purchase renters insurance before moving into a home. According to the new law, landlords are only permitted to require up to $100,000 in liability protection. The tenant does not have to ask the insurance company to add the landlord as an additional insured, and the landlord cannot require it.
Recent legislation also requires that a carbon monoxide alarm be placed within 15 feet of any sleeping area. This will require you to install alarms in your property, and possibly relocate any existing carbon alarms that you already had set up that are further away from bedrooms than the law allows.
Another major change in the law has to do with Section 8 housing. Starting on July 1, 2014, Oregon landlords are no longer permitted to refuse Section 8 vouchers. You have a new set of responsibilities now, and if a prospective renter applies to live in your property and notifies you that part of their funds to pay rent will come from the Section 8 program, it’s important that you know how to handle that application.
If you’re not sure about all the laws in place and you don’t know how to find out about new requirements, you should join a landlord association that will keep you focused on continuing education. In Portland, you can check out local associations such as Multifamily NW and the Rental Housing Association. In addition to helping you stay current and educating you on laws, these groups can also help you with rental agreements and forms that are legally compliant.
And as always, if you’re not 100% sure on a matter, we highly recommend you consult with a lawyer familiar with landlord tenant laws before acting.
Not knowing the landlord and tenant laws in Portland can become expensive for a landlord. If you’re not sure you have the time to continually refresh your knowledge and expertise on landlord tenant matters, consider hiring a professional property manager. If you have questions or need help, contact us at Residential Property Management, Inc.