2015 ORS 90.300¹
Security deposits
  • prepaid rent

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

(2)(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a landlord may require a tenant to pay a security deposit. The landlord shall provide the tenant with a receipt for any security deposit the tenant pays. The landlord shall hold a security deposit or prepaid rent for the tenant who is a party to the rental agreement. A tenant’s claim to the security deposit or prepaid rent is prior to the claim of a creditor of the landlord, including a trustee in bankruptcy.

(b) Except as provided in ORS 86.782 (Sale of property) (10), the holder of the landlord’s interest in the premises at the time the tenancy terminates is responsible to the tenant for any security deposit or prepaid rent and is bound by this section.

(3) A written rental agreement, if any, must list a security deposit paid by a tenant or required by a landlord.

(4) A landlord may not charge a tenant a pet security deposit for keeping a service animal or companion animal that a tenant with a disability requires as a reasonable accommodation under fair housing laws.

(5)(a) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a landlord may not change the rental agreement to require the tenant to pay a new or increased security deposit during the first year after the tenancy has begun. Subject to subsection (4) of this section, the landlord may require an additional deposit 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 the modification. This paragraph does not prevent a landlord from collecting a security deposit that an initial rental agreement provided for but that 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 the new or increased deposit.

(6) The landlord may claim all or part of the security deposit only if the landlord required the security deposit for any or all of the purposes specified in subsection (7) of this section.

(7)(a) 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.

(b) A landlord is not required to repair damage caused by the tenant in order for the landlord to claim against the deposit for the cost to make the repair. Any labor costs the landlord assesses under this subsection for cleaning or repairs must be based on a reasonable hourly rate. The landlord may charge a reasonable hourly rate for the landlord’s own performance of cleaning or repair work.

(c) Defaults and damages for which a landlord may recover under this subsection include, but are not limited to:

(A) Carpet cleaning, other than the use of a common vacuum cleaner, if:

(i) The cleaning is performed by use of a machine specifically designed for cleaning or shampooing carpets;

(ii) The carpet was cleaned or replaced after the previous tenancy or the most recent significant use of the carpet and before the tenant took possession; and

(iii) The written rental agreement provides that the landlord may deduct the cost of carpet cleaning regardless of whether the tenant cleans the carpet before the tenant delivers possession as described in ORS 90.147 (Delivery of possession).

(B) Loss of use of the dwelling unit during the performance of necessary cleaning or repairs for which the tenant is responsible under this subsection if the cleaning or repairs are performed in a timely manner.

(8) A landlord may not require a tenant to pay or to forfeit a security deposit or prepaid rent to the landlord for the tenant’s failure to maintain a tenancy for a minimum number of months in a month-to-month tenancy.

(9) The landlord must apply any last month’s rent deposit to the rent due for the last month of the tenancy:

(a) When either the landlord or the tenant gives 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) When the landlord and tenant agree to terminate the tenancy; or

(c) When the tenancy terminates in accordance with the provisions of a written rental agreement for a term tenancy.

(10) A landlord shall account for and refund as provided in subsections (12) to (14) of this section any portion of a last month’s rent deposit the landlord does not apply as provided under subsection (9) of this section. Unless the tenant and landlord agree otherwise, the tenant may not require the landlord to apply a last month’s rent deposit to rent due for any period other than the last month of the tenancy. A last month’s rent deposit does not limit the amount of rent charged unless a written rental agreement provides otherwise.

(11) When the tenancy terminates, a landlord shall account for and refund to the tenant, in the same manner this section requires for security deposits, the unused balance of any prepaid rent the landlord has not previously refunded to the tenant under 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. The landlord may claim from the remaining prepaid rent only the amount reasonably necessary to pay the tenant’s unpaid rent.

(12) In order to claim all or part of any prepaid rent or security deposit, within 31 days after the tenancy terminates and the tenant delivers 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.

(13) The landlord shall return to the tenant the security deposit or prepaid rent or the portion of the security deposit or prepaid rent that the landlord does not claim in the manner provided by subsections (11) and (12) of this section not later than 31 days after the tenancy terminates and the tenant delivers possession to the landlord.

(14) The landlord shall give the written accounting required under subsection (12) of this section or shall return the security deposit or prepaid rent as required by subsection (13) of this section by personal delivery or by first class mail.

(15) If a security deposit or prepaid rent secures a tenancy for a space for a manufactured dwelling or floating home the tenant owns and occupies, 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 (12) and (13) 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) (26) or 90.675 (Disposition of manufactured dwelling or floating home left in facility) (23);

(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).

(16) If the landlord fails to comply with subsection (13) 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 (12) of this section; or

(b) Withheld in bad faith.

(17)(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 landlord delivers a security deposit or prepaid rent 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 (11) of this section.

(18) 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; 2009 c.431 §12; 2010 c.28 §5; 2011 c.42 §4; 2011 c.510 §5; 2013 c.294 §7; 2015 c.217 §16]

(formerly 91.760)

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/­ors090.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2015, Chapter 90, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano090.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
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.