2014 Brings Change to Oregon Landlord-Tenant Law

Landlords and renters alike stand to benefit from the Landlord-Tenant Omnibus Bill (Senate Bill 91), which took effect Jan. 1. Noncompliance fees are changing and for the first time, Oregon landlords can require tenants to maintain rental insurance. It also introduces Section 8 Vouchers as a Protected Class. Renters can no longer be turned down solely due to their dependence on government assistance for housing. The legislation still allows landlords to conduct a tenant background check for criminal records and eviction history. The law also places new limits on tenant screening, limiting the scope of tenant screening and how a landlord can evaluate a rental applicant’s criminal records check. “With Senate Bill 91, a landlord may not consider a previous arrest of the applicant, if the arrest did not result in a conviction,” said Christi Lawson, partner at Foley and Lardner LLP. In addition, Oregon is the first state to implement a 5-year rule about reporting eviction records. “This is a big change for the tenant screening industry,” said Caryn Bennett, Contemporary Information Corporation (CIC) compliance manager. “For a long time tenant screening included using an applicant’s current and previous addresses to run a report. “Now, with the changes in Oregon, our filters and algorithms need to take into consideration where a prospective tenant is moving,” she added. The algorithms and filters provide landlords with comprehensive tenant screening reports, allowing them to make informed rental decisions, while maintaining compliance with the latest legislative changes.

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