2007 ORS 90.300¹
Security deposits
  • prepaid rent

(1) As used in this section, "security deposit" includes any last month’s rent deposit.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a landlord may require the payment of a security deposit. A security deposit or prepaid rent shall be held by the landlord for the tenant who is a party to the rental agreement. The claim of a tenant to the security deposit or prepaid rent shall be prior to the claim of any creditor of the landlord, including a trustee in bankruptcy. The holder of the landlord’s interest in the premises at the time of termination of the tenancy is responsible to the tenant for any security deposit or prepaid rent and is bound by this section.

(3)(a) A landlord may not change the rental agreement to require the payment of a new or increased security deposit during the first year after the tenancy has begun, except that an additional deposit may be required if the landlord and tenant agree to modify the terms and conditions of the rental agreement to permit a pet or for other cause and the additional deposit relates to that modification. This paragraph does not prevent the collection of a security deposit that was provided for under an initial rental agreement but remained unpaid at the time the tenancy began.

(b) If a landlord requires a new or increased security deposit after the first year of the tenancy, the landlord shall allow the tenant at least three months to pay that deposit.

(4) The landlord may claim all or part of the security deposit only if the security deposit was made for any or all of the purposes provided by subsection (5) of this section.

(5) The landlord may claim from the security deposit only the amount reasonably necessary:

(a) To remedy the tenant’s defaults in the performance of the rental agreement including, but not limited to, unpaid rent; and

(b) To repair damages to the premises caused by the tenant, not including ordinary wear and tear.

(6) A landlord may not require that a security deposit or prepaid rent be required or forfeited to the landlord upon the failure of the tenant to maintain a tenancy for a minimum number of months in a month-to-month tenancy.

(7) Any last month’s rent deposit must be applied to the rent due for the last month of the tenancy:

(a) Upon either the landlord or tenant giving to the other a notice of termination, pursuant to this chapter, other than a notice of termination under ORS 90.394 (Termination of rental agreement for failure to pay rent);

(b) Upon agreement by the landlord and tenant to terminate the tenancy; or

(c) Upon termination pursuant to the provisions of a written rental agreement for a term tenancy.

(8) Any portion of a last month’s rent deposit not applied as provided under subsection (7) of this section shall be accounted for and refunded as provided under subsections (10) to (12) of this section. Unless the tenant and landlord agree otherwise, a last month’s rent deposit shall not be applied to rent due for any period other than the last month of the tenancy. A last month’s rent deposit shall not operate to limit the amount of rent charged unless a written rental agreement provides otherwise.

(9) Upon termination of the tenancy, a landlord shall account for and refund to the tenant the unused balance of any prepaid rent not previously refunded to the tenant as required by ORS 90.380 (Effect of rental of dwelling in violation of building or housing codes) and 105.120 (Notice necessary to maintain action in certain cases) (5)(b) or any other provision of this chapter, in the same manner as required for security deposits by this section. The landlord may claim from the remaining prepaid rent only the amount reasonably necessary to pay the tenant’s unpaid rent.

(10) In order to claim all or part of any prepaid rent or security deposit, within 31 days after the termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession the landlord shall give to the tenant a written accounting that states specifically the basis or bases of the claim. The landlord shall give a separate accounting for security deposits and for prepaid rent.

(11) The security deposit or prepaid rent or portion thereof not claimed in the manner provided by subsections (9) and (10) of this section shall be returned to the tenant not later than 31 days after the termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession to the landlord.

(12) The landlord shall give the written accounting as required by subsection (10) of this section or shall return the security deposit or prepaid rent as required by subsection (11) of this section by personal delivery or by first class mail.

(13) If a security deposit or prepaid rent secures a tenancy for a space for a tenant owned and occupied manufactured dwelling or floating home, whether or not in a facility, and the dwelling or home is abandoned as described in ORS 90.425 (Disposition of personal property abandoned by tenant) (2) or 90.675 (Disposition of manufactured dwelling or floating home left in facility) (2), the 31-day period described in subsections (10) and (11) of this section commences on the earliest of:

(a) Waiver of the abandoned property process under ORS 90.425 (Disposition of personal property abandoned by tenant) (25) or 90.675 (Disposition of manufactured dwelling or floating home left in facility) (22);

(b) Removal of the manufactured dwelling or floating home from the rented space;

(c) Destruction or other disposition of the manufactured dwelling or floating home under ORS 90.425 (Disposition of personal property abandoned by tenant) (10)(b) or 90.675 (Disposition of manufactured dwelling or floating home left in facility) (10)(b); or

(d) Sale of the manufactured dwelling or floating home pursuant to ORS 90.425 (Disposition of personal property abandoned by tenant) (10)(a) or 90.675 (Disposition of manufactured dwelling or floating home left in facility) (10)(a).

(14) If the landlord fails to comply with subsection (11) of this section or if the landlord in bad faith fails to return all or any portion of any prepaid rent or security deposit due to the tenant under this chapter or the rental agreement, the tenant may recover the money due in an amount equal to twice the amount:

(a) Withheld without a written accounting under subsection (10) of this section; or

(b) Withheld in bad faith.

(15)(a) A security deposit or prepaid rent in the possession of the landlord is not garnishable property, as provided in ORS 18.618 (Property not subject to garnishment).

(b) If a security deposit or prepaid rent is delivered to a garnishor in violation of ORS 18.618 (Property not subject to garnishment) (1)(b), the landlord that delivered the security deposit or prepaid rent to the garnishor shall allow the tenant at least 30 days after a copy of the garnishee response required by ORS 18.680 (Response required) is delivered to the tenant under ORS 18.690 (Delivery of garnishee response) to restore the security deposit or prepaid rent. If the tenant fails to restore a security deposit or prepaid rent under the provisions of this paragraph before the tenancy terminates, and the landlord retains no security deposit or prepaid rent from the tenant after the garnishment, the landlord is not required to refund or account for the security deposit or prepaid rent under subsection (9) of this section.

(16) This section does not preclude the landlord or tenant from recovering other damages under this chapter. [Formerly 91.760; 1993 c.369 §4; 1995 c.559 §12; 1997 c.577 §13; 1999 c.603 §15; 2001 c.596 §31; 2003 c.658 §3; 2005 c.391 §3; 2007 c.496 §7; 2007 c.906 §37]

Notes of Decisions

Contractual clause whereby tenants paid one month rent in exchange for right to break lease, with last month of tenancy "free" if lease was unbroken, did not constitute a disguised security deposit subject to this sec­tion. Zemp v. Rowland, 31 Or App 1105, 572 P2d 637 (1977), Sup Ct review denied

Legislative intent gave landlord duty of providing specific written accounting before claiming security deposit, and mere state­ment by landlord's wife that tenant could come to landlord's home to get accounting was insufficient to fulfill duty. Ellsworth v. Gladden, 36 Or App 385, 584 P2d 774 (1978), Sup Ct review denied

Court does not have discre­tion to reduce amount of recovery prescribed by statute. Beckett v. Olson, 75 Or App 610, 707 P2d 635 (1985); Waldvogel v. Jones, 196 Or App 446, 103 P3d 124 (2004)

Chapter 90

Notes of Decisions

The prevailing party in an ac­tion brought under this Act is entitled to attorney fees. Executive Manage­ment v. Juckett, 274 Or 515, 547 P2d 603 (1976)

Damages for mental distress are not recoverable under this Act. Ficker v. Diefenbach, 34 Or App 241, 578 P2d 467 (1978), as modified by 35 Or App 829, 578 P2d 467 (1978)

Where tenant terminates residential tenancy but then holds over wrongfully, landlord need not give any notice to tenant as prerequisite to maintaining ac­tion for pos­ses­sion. Skourtes v. Schaer, 36 Or App 659, 585 P2d 703 (1978), Sup Ct review denied

Landlord may waive statutory right to 30 days' written notice from tenant. Skourtes v. Schaer, 36 Or App 659, 585 P2d 703 (1978), Sup Ct review denied

This act does not provide for recovery of punitive damages. Brewer v. Erwin, 287 Or 435, 600 P2d 398 (1979)

As this act is not penal, it is not subject to attack for vagueness. Marquam Invest­ment Corp. v. Beers, 47 Or App 711, 615 P2d 1064 (1980), Sup Ct review denied

Distinc­tion in this act between residential and nonresidential tenancies is not irra­tional, arbitrary or unreasonable under United States or Oregon Constitu­tion. Marquam Invest­ment Corp. v. Beers, 47 Or App 711, 615 P2d 1064 (1980), Sup Ct review denied

Residential Landlord and Tenant Act does not supersede common law in all aspects of per­sonal injury liability. Bellikka v. Green, 306 Or 630, 762 P2d 997 (1988)

Where jury returned general verdict for defendant and court refused to award defendant attorney fees, defendant has right, absent "unusual circumstances," to receive attorney fees for damages for prevailing on per­sonal injury claim. Steininger v. Tosch, 96 Or App 493, 773 P2d 15 (1989), Sup Ct review denied

Where tenants counterclaim for injunctive relief and damages after landlord sent 30-day, no-cause evic­tion notice, before awarding attorney fees, district court must determine whether landlord or tenants have right to pos­ses­sion of house and whether tenants' right to assert counterclaim is provided by statute. Edwards v. Fenn, 308 Or 129, 775 P2d 1375 (1989)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Private process server in a forcible entry and detainer ac­tion, (1975) Vol 37, p 869; ap­pli­ca­bil­i­ty to university housing and properties, (1976) Vol 37, p 1297

Law Review Cita­tions

56 OLR 655 (1977); 16 WLR 275 (1979); 16 WLR 835 (1980)

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 90—Residential Landlord and Tenant, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­090.­html (2007) (last ac­cessed Feb. 12, 2009).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2007, Chapter 90, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­090ano.­htm (2007) (last ac­cessed Feb. 12, 2009).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.