Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Renters should get as much information as possible from prospective landlords before agreeing to rent an apartment or house. This will not only help you determine whether this is the place for you, it will also give you a better sense of your potential future landlord. (Remember: Just as it is in a landlord’s interest to look for responsible renters, it is in a renter’s interest to look for a responsible landlord!) Below are some of the frequently asked questions we have encountered.


What Does The Law Say About Retaliation?

It is against the law to retaliate against renters who request reasonable repairs to essential services, or file a complaint with a housing inspection program. It is also against the law for a landlord to increase the rent, decrease services, evict the renter, threaten to evict the renter, or file an eviction case after a renter has done any of the following:

  1. Made any good-faith complaint to the landlord about the rental agreement; or
  2. Complained to a housing inspection program; or
  3. Joined or organized a renters’ union; or
  4. Testified against the landlord in order; or
  5. Asserted their rights under the law; or
  6. Requested repairs

How To Get The Deposit Back?

Under Oregon State law, landlords are required to either return deposits or provide a written explanation as to how all or part of the deposit is being used within 31 days after a renter has turned in the keys (ORS 90.300[6]). The deposit may be used to cover unpaid rent or fees, and may be used to cover damages caused by the renter that re beyond normal wear and tear. The best way for renters to ensure that they recover security deposits is to: thoroughly document the condition of the rental unit prior to moving in and use photographs and move in/move out inventory forms if necessary (see section on inventory checklist pg. 19); ensure that the unit is returned to the landlord in the same condition at move-in minus normal wear and tear; and provide the landlord with a forwarding address to ensure any refund of the damage deposit reaches the renter.


What Is Normal Wear And Tear?

There are no standards for wear and tear in both State and City of Portland law. This means that landlords and renters will want to agree up front about what is considered to be reasonable wear and tear guidelines. Reasonable wear and tear is the normal expected wear and tear that occurs to a property over time when it is used with reasonable care. Before signing a rental agreement, landlords and renters should agree on what is considered wear and tear.