Oregon Rental Deposit Return

Oregon Rental Deposit Return

What should I do to assure that I receive a return of my security deposit?

Steps to take before or upon move-in:

  • Take photos and/or videos upon move in.
  • Document in writing with the landlord any issues with your unit upon move-in.  Some landlords have a check-in sheet.
  • Document in writing with the landlord if the carpet is new or used upon move-in.  Upon or prior to move-in, ask the landlord about the age of the carpet and the lifespan of the particular carpet and document this conversation in writing.
  • Document if the carpet was shampooed prior to move-in.  See ORS 90.300 (7)(c)(ii).

Steps to take prior to and after move-out:

  • Give your landlord proper notice of your move-out in light of the Oregon statutes, your rental/lease agreement and the circumstances.
    • Our firm can assist you with giving proper notice, if necessary.  Call us at:  (503) 238-1010.  We understand that sometimes the circumstances are complicated, especially when you have signed a one-year lease and the landlord has not maintained the property.
  • Clean your unit when you move out and make any needed repairs due to your negligence, such as a hole in the wall.
  • If your carpet was shampooed upon move-in do the same upon move-out.
  • Take photos and/or videos upon move out.
  • Save receipts for anyone that you hired to clean or make repairs for you.
  • Upon move-out, return any keys and notify the landlord that you have moved out, preferably via telephone with a follow-up text or email that you can preserve.
  • Give your landlord an address to which your landlord may mail your deposit.

What if my landlord still won’t return my deposit?

Hire us!  Call (503) 238-1010 and make an appointment and bring all relevant documents for review.  We charge for an hour-long initial consultation and demand letter to your landlord. See rates.  Sometimes, landlords return deposits after an initial demand letter is sent.  If your landlord fails to return your deposit in response to our demand letter, we will consider filing a lawsuit on your behalf.  Under ORS 90.255, attorney’s fees and costs may be awarded to the winning party.

Why do we meet with you and usually send a demand letter to your landlord prior to filing a lawsuit?

Under ORS 90.255, there is a risk that a tenant be required to pay the landlord’s attorney fees if the tenant files a lawsuit and does not prevail.  A demand letter allows the landlord to respond and inform us of any case weaknesses prior to filing a lawsuit.  We encourage settlement in cases where there are factual disputes or other case weaknesses.

How can an attorney help me if my landlord refuses to return my deposit, even after a demand letter?

We can help you file a lawsuit.  If the landlord fails to respond or give an adequate response to an attorney’s demand for a wrongfully withheld deposit, you, as a tenant, may be entitled to double any amount of the deposit wrongfully withheld or not accounted for.  See ORS 90.300(16).  Attorney fees may be available under ORS 90.255, provided the tenant wins.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Oregon Rental Deposit Returns

  • How long does my landlord have to return my deposit?
    • Your landlord must either return your deposit within 31 days after your tenancy terminates and you vacate or your landlord must give you an accounting of your deposit.  See ORS 90.300(12)(13)(14).
  • Can my landlord charge me for ordinary wear and tear on my unit?  No.  See ORS 90.300(7)(B).
  • Can my landlord charge me for maintenance tasks on my unit? Under 90.320(1), a landlord is obligated to “maintain the dwelling unit in a habitable condition” at no cost to the renter. This includes, among other things, waterproofing windows and doors, and the upkeep of plumbing, heating and electrical lighting and wiring. See ORS 90.320(1)(a-k). The tenant may make such repairs if there is an agreement between the landlord and tenant that is compliant with ORS 90.320. Under ORS 90.320(2)(c), your landlord should provide “adequate consideration” for maintenance tasks and these tasks should be clearly outlined in the agreement. Such an agreement cannot be for the purpose of your landlord evading responsibility under the Oregon Residential Landlord Tenant Act. See PRS 9.320(2)(a).
  • Can the landlord charge me for the time that the landlord took to clean or repair my unit?  Yes, if the cleaning and repairs were done in a timely manner.  See 7(c)(iii)(B).
  • Can I owe more than what I gave in the deposit at the end of my tenancy?  Yes.  If you either negligently or intentionally damage your rental unit your landlord can charge you for this.  See ORS 90.300(18).

Disclaimer:  This website is not a substitute for customized legal advise.  This site may not always be updated in a timely manner with new laws in relation to the Oregon Residential Landlord Tenant Act.

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