Oregon No-Cause Evictions in Astoria, Warrenton, and Seaside

In Oregon, a “no-cause eviction” refers to an eviction where a landlord or property manager seeks to evict a tenant without having to rely on a valid reason under the lease or applicable statute. “No-cause” means that the landlord or property manager does not claim that the tenant has either violated the lease itself or a provision of law, and in such an eviction the landlord or property manager does not have to articulate a valid reason for the eviction. In residential landlord-tenant situations, the law governing no-cause evictions is laid out in ORS 90, ORS 105, and caselaw decided by the Oregon Court of Appeals and Oregon Supreme Court.

In certain communities, there may be additional laws—e.g., a landlord or property manager seeking to evict a tenant in Portland should check Portland law and Multnomah County law. Special situations such as the Covid-19 pandemic may significantly modify the laws which normally apply to no-cause evictions.

Changes in Oregon law have limited no-cause evictions. In Senate Bill 608, effective February 28, 2019, Oregon law mostly eliminated most no-cause evictions after the first year of occupancy.

Under Senate Bill 608, for month-to-month tenants, a landlord or property manager may provide a no-cause eviction notice at least 30 days prior to termination of the tenancy during the first year of occupancy. After the first year, no-cause evictions are prohibited for month-to-month tenants. For fixed-term leases, the lease will simply end without notice from either party on the date stated in the lease so long as the lease contains no language about its renewal; however, many fixed-term leases contain language about the lease becoming a month-to-month tenancy. Finally, there are limited situations in which a landlord or property manager may, even after the first year of occupancy in a month-to-month lease, provide an eviction notice to a tenant, and these situations are variously called “no-cause notices” or “landlord-cause notices.”

“Landlord-cause notices” refers to several situations:

  • The landlord intends to demolish the unit or use it for something other than residential use;
  • The landlord plans renovations or repairs that will make the property unsafe to inhabit;
  • The landlord or a close family member intends to move into the rental property as a primary residence;
  • The landlord has accepted an offer from a buyer who intends to occupy the rental property as their primary residence.

Each of these exceptions requires at least 90 days notice from the landlord or property manager, and has its own requirements. If the landlord owns less than five rental properties, then they do not have to pay a relocation fee equivalent to one month’s rent. One issue to be aware of is that what qualifies as “one rental property” may take some analysis—e.g., a duplex would be considered “two rental properties” and a fourplex would be considered “four rental properties,” although in each instance the rental properties are contained in a single building.

When a landlord or property manager properly provides and serves a no-cause eviction notice, the tenant essentially has no defense to an eviction.

The landlord or property manager should be mindful that a tenant or tenant’s attorney may be able to challenge a no-cause eviction notice if they can organize and present facts and circumstances which demonstrate to a judge that the no-cause eviction notice is actually a sham or pretext and that the landlord or property manager is relying on invalid reason for the no-cause eviction notice.

Thus, whenever a landlord or property manager is weighing whether and how to issue a no-cause eviction notice in a high-conflict dispute with a tenant, they should carefully evaluate their options and how best to resolve any issues with the tenant. Where there have been accusations, or the risk of accusations, that the landlord or property manager has violated a tenant’s rights, a no-cause eviction should not be pursued in a vacuum; instead, the landlord or property manager should evaluate the totality of the circumstances to ensure they are not only operating within the bounds of the law, but also are able to maintain the appearance of doing so, as well. In the midst of a high-conflict dispute, emotions may run high and words may be exchanged which necessitate caution by the landlord or property manager.

Generally, a no-cause eviction in Clatsop County, Oregon, should follow a three-part process:

  • First, the landlord or property manager drafts and serves a valid no-cause eviction notice;
  • Second, the applicable time period runs;
  • Third, the landlord or property manager then files an eviction case with the court and must serve the tenant(s) and all other occupants.

In addition to properly serving a named tenant with a no-cause eviction notice, the landlord or property manager should also serve any other occupant, including those who are not officially part of the lease. Occasionally, it is difficult to know who is really living in a rental property and what their actual identity is; for this reason, any no-cause eviction notice should also include a reference to “All Other Occupants,” so that there is no gap in the notice.

When communicating with tenants, a landlord or property manager should carefully document all communications in writing. Where there are verbal communications, such exchanges should be reduced to writing. This means the landlord or property manager should carefully organize and manage their file for the rental property, including retaining letters, e-mails, and text messages.

No-cause evictions for residential rental properties in Clatsop County, Oregon, are decided at the Clatsop County Circuit Court in Astoria, Oregon. This is true for all no-cause evictions for residential properties located throughout Clatsop County.

If you are a landlord or property manager and have questions about landlord-tenant issues on the north coast of Oregon, please contact Coast Land Law for a consultation about how you can best protect your rights. For residential landlord-tenant issues, we are dedicated to representing the interests of landlords and property managers. We have worked professional landlords who own large, multi-unit developments, as well as smaller mom-and-pop landlords. We work with clients who own or manage rental properties in Clatsop and Tillamook Counties.