TEL-LAW tape number 7305:
Eviction Notices

brought to you by the Oregon State Bar and your local bar association.
This is Tel-Law tape number 7305, Eviction Notices, brought to you by the Oregon State Bar and your local bar association. The material presented is intended to alert you to possible legal problems and solutions.

A landlord who wants to evict a tenant from a residential dwelling generally must give the tenant some kind of written notice, wait until the period of time provided in the notice has passed, and file an eviction case in court. The landlord may not get around this process by locking the tenant out or shutting off utilities or other essential services. This tape will discuss the kinds of notices a landlord may give to a tenant that would be a basis to evict the tenant in court.

In order to be successful in court, a landlord must comply strictly with the notice requirements set forth in Oregon law. If a landlord's notice does not meet these requirements, the tenant should be able to win the court case and remain in his or her home.

We will first discuss eviction notices in month-to-month tenancies. A month-to-month tenancy is one in which the tenant pays rent once a month and the rental agreement continues indefinitely until either the landlord or the tenant ends it.

The landlord or the tenant may end a month-to-month tenancy by giving to the other, at any time, at least 30 days notice in writing. The notice must state the date on which the tenancy will end. In private rental housing, neither the landlord nor the tenant needs to give a reason for ending the tenancy. The landlord may base a court eviction proceeding on a 30 day notice given by the tenant. In some kinds of housing, including government subsidized housing programs, a landlord cannot evict with a 30 day no cause notice.

A landlord in a month-to-month tenancy may also give the tenant a 30-day eviction notice for cause. The cause for the notice must be either a material non-compliance by the tenant with the rental agreement or a non-compliance with the tenant's duties set forth in the law. The notice must tell the tenant the reason for the eviction and must say that the rental agreement will end at least 30 days after the tenant gets the notice. If the tenant can fix the problem by making repairs, paying damages, or otherwise, the landlord's notice must also say that the tenant can avoid eviction by fixing the problem within 14 days. If the tenant does not fix the problem within the 14 days, the landlord may file a court eviction proceeding after the 30 day notice period has gone by. If the tenant does effectively deal with the landlord's complaint, the rental agreement does not end. However, if the same problem happens again within six months of the original notice, the landlord can end the rental agreement upon 10 days written notice specifying the problem and giving the date of termination.

In most kinds of housing, a landlord of a month-to-month tenancy may also evict a tenant based on a 72-hour notice for non-payment of rent, if the tenant fails to pay rent within 7 days of its due date. The notice must say that the landlord intends to end the rental agreement if the rent is not paid within 72 hours. If the tenant fails to pay the rent within the 72 hours, the landlord may immediately file a court eviction proceeding. In calculating the seven day period, the day the rent is due counts; if rent is due on the first of the month, for example, the landlord may give a 72-hour notice on the eighth of the month. The landlord may not evict a tenant on 72 hours' notice for non-payment of rent when the only money owed is a late charge.

A landlord under a month-to-month rental agreement can also give a tenant a 24-hour written notice to end the tenancy. The law specifies a number of reasons on which the landlord can base such a 24-hour notice, most of which involve intentional infliction of personal injury upon someone other than a member of the tenant's household, intentional damage to the premises, or commission of an act which is outrageous in the extreme. An act outrageous in the extreme is not specifically defined, but includes at least prostitution or promotion of prostitution, manufacture or delivery of drugs, intimidation, and burglary. The landlord may also give a 24-hour notice to a person who is living in a house where the tenant had a written rental agreement that prohibits sub-leasing, if the landlord has not taken rent from the person not covered by the rental agreement.

The notice provisions for terminating month-to-month tenancies for mobile home owners in manufactured dwelling and floating home facilities are the same as for other residential dwellings, except that a landlord may not give a tenant a 30-day "no cause" notice. Instead, the facility landlord may give a tenant at least 30 days written notice to terminate the tenancy on a specific date if the tenant violates a law or ordinance which relates to the tenants conduct as a tenant or violates a rule which is a condition of occupancy. This notice must state sufficient facts so that the tenant knows the reasons for the termination. The tenant may avoid termination of the tenancy by correcting the violation within the 30-day period specified in the notice. However, if a similar violation occurs within six months, the landlord may terminate the tenancy on 20 days written notice explaining the violation and the date of termination. This provision still allows a manufactured dwelling facility landlord the right to evict a tenant on 72 hours notice for non-payment of rent or to evict a tenant on 24 hours notice for outrageous or dangerous behavior, as described above.

In addition, a facility landlord may terminate the rental agreement for a facility space if the facility or a part of it that includes the space is to be closed and the land converted to different use. In such cases, the landlord must give at least 365 days notice in writing if the landlord finds a space acceptable to the tenant to which the tenant can move and the landlord pays the cost of moving and setup expenses up to $3,500.

A tenant may have a lease for a specific time (often six months or one year). This is called the "term" of a lease. The valid parts of the lease will determine when the lease can be terminated or renewed. During the term of the lease, neither the landlord nor the tenant can terminate it without cause, unless the lease provides otherwise. The landlord may terminate the tenancy during the term for non-payment of rent or for intentional dangerous behavior as described before. Although the lease cannot reduce the notice periods provided in the law for termination of tenancies, the lease may increase these notice periods. For example, a provision in a lease that would allow the landlord to give the tenant a 24-hour notice of non-payment of rent would be unenforceable; but a tenant could hold the landlord to a lease provision that requires a 96 hour notice of non-payment. If a fixed term lease contains no provision about its termination or renewal, the lease simply ends without notice from either part on the date stated in the lease. At the end of the lease, a residential tenant is not automatically evicted. Instead, the lease simply turns into a regular month-to-month tenancy, subject to the notice requirements of the law covering such tenancies.

Just as the law establishes very specific requirements for eviction notices, the law also requires such notices to be served in very specific ways. Even if the notice is correct, it will have no effect if served improperly.

Generally, notices may be served by either personal delivery or by first class mail. First class mail is specifically defined. It does not include certified or registered mail or any other form of mail which may delay or hinder actual delivery of mail to the tenant. If the landlord chooses to serve an eviction notice by mail, the tenant gets three extra days to correct the cause in the notice and the termination of the tenancy is extended by three days. The notice must say that the three days are added.

If the written rental agreement says so, a 72-hour notice of non-payment of rent or a 24-hour notice of termination for outrageous or dangerous behavior is presumed served on the day on which it is both mailed to the tenant and attached in a secure manner to the main entrance of the tenant's dwelling unit.

The landlord should not issue an eviction notice or attempt to evict a tenant in retaliation for the tenant's asking for repairs or asserting other legal rights under the rental agreement or the landlord-tenant laws.

For information about illegal retaliation and other defenses to an eviction, listen to Tel-Law tape number 7307.

This is a complex and changing area of the law. It is important that you realize that some of the information on this tape may be out of date by the time you hear it. This tape is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem, and is not intended to replace the work of an attorney. If you do not have an attorney, the Oregon State Bar Lawyer Referral Service can assist you. The number to call is 684-3763 or toll-free in Oregon, 1-800-452-7636. They will help you contact a lawyer who can advise you.

The foregoing text is a transcription of a Tel-Law transcript that you can hear by calling 503-620-3000 or toll free (in oregon only) at 1-800-452-4776. OLA brings this transcription to you with the cooperation of the Oregon State Bar. this script is based on Oregon law, produced by volunteer lawyers as a public service. The law of other states may be different. Also, the information may be out of date. OLA encourages you to seek an attorney before relying upon this information.