New laws in the landlord tenant space in Oregon for 2024 involve child care in rentals and notices and return of money and security deposits.
By Bradley S. Kraus
Attorney at Law
Warren Allen, LLP
As we approach the end of 2023, it is once again time to look forward to the new year. During this past year, the Oregon legislature has passed a slew of new laws affecting landlord/tenant relations. Several of those laws have been covered in prior articles (e.g., House Bill 2001). If you have non-paying tenants, you have likely felt the negative effects of that ridiculous law, and this article will not beat you down any further.
The new year will also see the implementation of two other new laws that directly affect landlords, both going into effect on January 1, 2024. Those laws are SB 599 (dealing with childcare in rentals) and SB 1069 (dealing with E-Notices, electronic return of monies and security deposits/accountings).
Child care in rentals
Senate Bill 599 requires landlords to allow residential dwellings to be used as family childcare homes in a variety of scenarios.
Per the new law – and subject to a handful of exceptions – “a landlord may not prohibit the tenant’s use of a dwelling as a family childcare home if: (a) the family childcare home is certified under ORS 329A.280 or registered under ORS 329A.330; and (b) the tenant has notified the landlord of the use.” A landlord is allowed to require advance payment for the costs of modification to the premises necessary or desirable for the tenant’s use, certification, or registration of the dwelling as a family childcare home, even if it is not required of the landlord under ORS 90.320 or the rental agreement. Further, a landlord may prohibit use as a family childcare home if it is not allowed under (a) the zoning laws for the dwelling unit; (b) an association’s governing documents; or (c) the rules of the Early Learning Council (the regulating body for in-home childcare facilities). As for liability protection, childcare homes are not required to carry liability insurance unless the landlord specifically requires it.
However, landlords can require that the tenant running the childcare home either:
- sign a document relieving the landlord of liability for losses from injuries to their children or their guests connected with the operation of the childcare facility and acknowledge that the home-care provider does not maintain liability coverage; or
- carry and maintain a reasonable surety bond or liability policy covering injuries that protects the landlord as an additional insured.
Finally, the new law amends the retaliation statute, prohibiting landlords from decreasing services or threatening to terminate tenancies for a tenant’s use or attempted use of the dwelling as a family childcare home.
Another new law that has been briefly discussed in other articles—but will have a massive benefit to landlords going forward—is SB 1069. This new law has a prerequisite that requires addendum to be executed with tenants after the tenancy begins and the tenant has occupied the premises. That addendum must specify a number of things, including:
(a) the landlord’s email address from which the landlord agrees to send and receive email;
(b) the email address from which the tenant agrees to send and receive email;
(c) allowance of either party to terminate service via email, or to change their email address with no less than 3 days written notice, and
(d) a specific disclosure discussed in SB 1069.
Once this occurs, landlords will be able to “e-mail and mail” written notices using timelines and processes similar to “post and mail” methods. Senate Bill 1069 will also allow the return of monies electronically to a bank account or other financial institution designated by the tenant via a written addendum. Like the changes in ORS 90.155, the tenant must agree to receive money electronically after the tenancy begins and the tenant has occupied the premises by way of separate addendum.
While the childcare laws are odd additions to the ORLTA, E-Notice rights are a welcome addition. Many provisions of the ORLTA are unnecessarily archaic. Hopefully, the legislature will create (or modify) additional new laws with an eye on their practical effects and benefits going forward.
About the author:
Bradley S. Kraus is an attorney and partner at Warren Allen LLP. His primary practice area is landlord/tenant law, but he also assists clients with various litigation matters, probate matters, real estate disputes, and family law matters. You can reach him at email@example.com or at 503-255-8795.