As a renter in Greater Portland just like in any other city it’s important to know your rights as a renter.

When you rent a home from a landlord or a management company you’re entering into an important legal relationship. It’s crucial that know your rights as a renter and understand the lease prior to signing.  Reading the lease and understanding your rights is the first step to entering a positive relationship with the owner of your home.

Due to the high demand and low vacancy rates of apartments in the Portland, it’s also important to know these things in advance.

Renter’s Insurance

Property owners in Oregon are required to insure their buildings.   However, that insurance does not protect tenants. In the event that your property is stolen or damaged, your landlord is not responsible.  That is why it is important to have renters insurance.

Renters insurance will  protect you in the event that the apartment is damaged as a result of your actions.  For example,  a flood occurring after the faucet was left on.

Landlords have the right to require renter’s insurance of their tenants.  This requirement must be communicated in the lease and cannot exceed $100000 in required coverage. Before you start looking for apartments it’s helpful to take inventory of your valuable belongings and speak to an insurance agent.

Renter’s insurance will give you peace of mind and protection for your home. For only about $170 per year it can save you thousands of dollars in a variety of otherwise unpleasant scenarios.

Regulations Fire Codes and Grilling

It’s important to read all of the fine print and be aware of what you are and are not allowed to do on your rented Portland property.  Renters in Oregon are responsible for checking their smoke detectors at least once every six months and changing the batteries. If the smoke detectors are defective landlords are responsible for replacing them.

Portlanders enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities.   However, when it comes to using your outdoor space at your apartment there are some rules you must consider. The use of charcoal and gas grills on combustible porches or within 10 feet of combustible construction is not allowed. You should also avoid cooking too close to your building or beneath overhanging eaves and branches.

When entertaining guests outdoors in community spaces or on private patios, renters should refer to their lease for regulations on the number of people allowed and the activities that might be prohibited.

Tenant Rights

Property owners are responsible to you the renter for the safety and livability of your home. Your apartment must be in good living condition when you move in; your unit must be free of pests and there must be proper wiring plumbing and heating.

It’s the landlord’s responsibility to maintain these aspects of your apartment. If maintenance work must be done for upkeep to the plumbing, wiring or heating the landlord is responsible for covering those costs.

Landlords in Portland may charge a security deposit before move-in to cover any potential damage during your time living there. When you move out the landlord is required to return your security deposit provided nothing was damaged beyond normal wear and tear within 31 days.

Even though your landlord owns the property renters have the right of exclusive possession.  Which means you have the right to your privacy within your rented property. Landlords may not enter without at least 24 hours’ notice.

Month to Month

Month-to-month rental agreements are not uncommon in Portland. These can be convenient for renters who are not ready to make a full-year commitment on a property. Renters can leave their lease without any kind of fine if they provide 30 days’ notice. Renters should consider that a month-to-month agreement gives landlords the option to terminate a lease with a 30-day notice as well.

It’s the tenant’s responsibility to know their rights before they sign a lease. Be sure to read your lease thoroughly before entertaining into a legal relationship with your landlord or management company.