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Landlord & Tenant Law



Most of us have lived in an apartment or rental at some time, whether that was growing up or while in college. Roughly a third of households are renters, and like many things in life, problems develop between landlords and tenants, or even with other tenants. 

If the probelm is with residential tenancies, there are extensive laws that govern the relationship, and those laws are often updated. With commercial real estate, there are few laws, as it is largely a contractual relationship, with the lease being the law to look to.




When you think about rentals, most people think of apartments. However, this includes many different living situations, from renting just a room, to renting the whole house, or renting an apartment by yourself or with roommates, renting a manufactured home, or even renting a houseboat. There are laws unique to each situation, and some laws are statewide, with others being local. You also have special rules for when your employer is also your landlord.

Most of the laws for residential rentals are contained within the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS), specifically Chapter 90, which contains the Oregon Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (ORLTA). Contained within are laws concerning deposits, rent increases, habitability, fees, and evictions. These are complex laws that can change rapidly, so it is advantageous to retain an attorney to help you navigate these laws. Plus, if you end up in court, all of the rules of court apply, including the rules of evidence, which you have to know.

Lastly, an important issue in this area of law, is the winner under ORLTA gets to have the loser pay the winner's attorney's fees. This is wonderful if you win, but increases the stakes in your case, one that could determine if you continue to have a home.




Commercial leases are often simpler, as they are just a contract. This means the written lease agreement determines everything. That means it is more important to hire an attorney to start with to review or write the lease, so as to ensure your lease is in good shape prior to signing the lease, and to prevent exepnsive problems later.

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of prevention, but even then, issues can still arise after the lease is signed. Stevens & Legal can assist with negotiating extensions, or helping with evictions and collections. We assist both landlords and tenants with commercial lease issues.

Small Landlords

Our firm recognizes it is difficult for small residential landlords (1-4 units) to locate firms that can assist them. The big firms do not have the capacity for small landlords with a one-off problem. We offer reasonable rates, and smaller retainers, to assist small residential landlords with their problems. This can include reviewing and editing the lease to start, or assiting with the eviction process or cash for keys.



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