2015 ORS 90.315¹
Utility or service payments
  • additional charges
  • responsibility for utility or service
  • remedies

(1) As used in this section:

(a) "Public service" means municipal services and the provision of public resources related to the dwelling unit, including street maintenance, transportation improvements, public transit, public safety and parks and open space.

(b)(A) "Public service charge" means a charge imposed on a landlord by a utility or service provider, by a utility or service provider on behalf of a local government or directly by a local government.

(B) "Public service charge" does not include real property taxes, income taxes, business license fees or dwelling inspection fees.

(c) "Sewer service" includes storm water service and wastewater service.

(d) "Utility or service" includes but is not limited to electricity, natural or liquid propane gas, oil, water, hot water, heat, air conditioning, cable television, direct satellite or other video subscription services, Internet access or usage, sewer service, public services and garbage collection and disposal.

(2) The landlord shall disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy any utility or service that the tenant pays directly to a utility or service provider that benefits, directly, the landlord or other tenants. A tenant’s payment for a given utility or service benefits the landlord or other tenants if the utility or service is delivered to any area other than the tenant’s dwelling unit.

(3) If the landlord knowingly fails to disclose those matters required under subsection (2) of this section, the tenant may recover twice the actual damages sustained or one month’s rent, whichever is greater.

(4)(a) Except for tenancies covered by ORS 90.505 (Definition for ORS 90.505 to 90.850) to 90.850 (Owner affidavit certifying compliance with requirements for sale of park), if a written rental agreement so provides, a landlord may require a tenant to pay to the landlord a utility or service charge or a public service charge that has been billed by a utility or service provider to the landlord for utility or service provided directly, or for a public service provided indirectly, to the tenant’s dwelling unit or to a common area available to the tenant as part of the tenancy. A utility or service charge that shall be assessed to a tenant for a common area must be described in the written rental agreement separately and distinctly from such a charge for the tenant’s dwelling unit.

(b)(A) If a rental agreement provides that a landlord may require a tenant to pay a utility or service charge, the landlord must bill the tenant in writing for the utility or service charge within 30 days after receipt of the provider’s bill. If the landlord includes in the bill to the tenant a statement of the rent due, the landlord must separately and distinctly state the amount of the rent and the amount of the utility or service charge.

(B) The landlord must provide to the tenant, in the written rental agreement or in a bill to the tenant, an explanation of:

(i) The manner in which the provider assesses a utility or service charge; and

(ii) The manner in which the charge is allocated among the tenants if the provider’s bill to the landlord covers multiple tenants.

(C) The landlord must:

(i) Include in the bill to the tenant a copy of the provider’s bill; or

(ii) If the provider’s bill is not included, state that the tenant may inspect the provider’s bill at a reasonable time and place and that the tenant may obtain a copy of the provider’s bill by making a request to the landlord during the inspection and upon payment to the landlord for the reasonable cost of making copies.

(D) A landlord may require that a bill to the tenant for a utility or service charge is due upon delivery of the bill. A landlord shall treat the tenant’s payment as timely for purposes of ORS 90.302 (Fees allowed for certain landlord expenses) (3)(b)(A) if the payment is made by a date that is specified in the bill and that is not less than 30 days after delivery of the bill.

(E) If a written rental agreement so provides, the landlord may deliver a bill to the tenant as provided in ORS 90.155 (Service or delivery of written notice) or by electronic means.

(c) Except as provided in this paragraph, a utility or service charge may only include the cost of the utility or service as billed to the landlord by the provider. A landlord may add an additional amount to a utility or service charge billed to the tenant if:

(A) The utility or service charge to which the additional amount is added is for cable television, direct satellite or other video subscription services or for Internet access or usage;

(B) The additional amount is not more than 10 percent of the utility or service charge billed to the tenant;

(C) The total of the utility or service charge and the additional amount is less than the typical periodic cost the tenant would incur if the tenant contracted directly with the provider for the cable television, direct satellite or other video subscription services or for Internet access or usage;

(D) The written rental agreement providing for the utility or service charge describes the additional amount separately and distinctly from the utility or service charge; and

(E) Any billing or notice from the landlord regarding the utility or service charge lists the additional amount separately and distinctly from the utility or service charge.

(d)(A) A landlord must provide 60 days’ written notice to a tenant before the landlord may amend an existing rental agreement for a month-to-month tenancy to require a tenant to pay a public service charge that was adopted by a utility or service provider or a local government within the previous six months.

(B) A landlord may not hold a tenant liable for a public service charge billed to a previous tenant.

(C) A landlord may not require a tenant to agree to the amendment of an existing rental agreement, and may not terminate a tenant for refusing to agree to the amendment of a rental agreement, if the amendment would obligate the tenant to pay an additional amount for cable television, direct satellite or other video subscription services or for Internet access or usage as provided under paragraph (c) of this subsection.

(e) A utility or service charge, including any additional amount added pursuant to paragraph (c) of this subsection, is not rent or a fee. Nonpayment of a utility or service charge is not grounds for termination of a rental agreement for nonpayment of rent under ORS 90.394 (Termination of rental agreement for failure to pay rent) but is grounds for termination of a rental agreement for cause under ORS 90.392 (Termination of rental agreement by landlord for cause).

(f) If a landlord fails to comply with paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d) of this subsection, the tenant may recover from the landlord an amount equal to one month’s periodic rent or twice the amount wrongfully charged to the tenant, whichever is greater.

(5)(a) If a tenant, under the rental agreement, is responsible for a utility or service and is unable to obtain the service prior to moving into the premises due to a nonpayment of an outstanding amount due by a previous tenant or the owner, the tenant may either:

(A) Pay the outstanding amount and deduct the amount from the rent;

(B) Enter into a mutual agreement with the landlord to resolve the lack of service; or

(C) Immediately terminate the rental agreement by giving the landlord actual notice and the reason for the termination.

(b) If the tenancy terminates, the landlord shall return all moneys paid by the tenant as deposits, rent or fees within four days after termination.

(6) If a tenant, under the rental agreement, is responsible for a utility or service and is unable to obtain the service after moving into the premises due to a nonpayment of an outstanding amount due by a previous tenant or the owner, the tenant may either:

(a) Pay the outstanding amount and deduct the amount from the rent; or

(b) Terminate the rental agreement by giving the landlord actual notice 72 hours prior to the date of termination and the reason for the termination. The tenancy does not terminate if the landlord restores service or the availability of service during the 72 hours. If the tenancy terminates, the tenant may recover actual damages from the landlord resulting from the shutoff and the landlord shall return:

(A) Within four days after termination, all rent and fees; and

(B) All of the security deposit owed to the tenant under ORS 90.300 (Security deposits).

(7) If a landlord, under the rental agreement, is responsible for a utility or service and the utility or service is shut off due to a nonpayment of an outstanding amount, the tenant may either:

(a) Pay the outstanding balance and deduct the amount from the rent; or

(b) Terminate the rental agreement by giving the landlord actual notice 72 hours prior to the date of termination and the reason for the termination. The tenancy does not terminate if the landlord restores service during the 72 hours. If the tenancy terminates, the tenant may recover actual damages from the landlord resulting from the shutoff and the landlord shall return:

(A) Within four days after termination, all rent prepaid for the month in which the termination occurs prorated from the date of termination or the date the tenant vacates the premises, whichever is later, and any other prepaid rent; and

(B) All of the security deposit owed to the tenant under ORS 90.300 (Security deposits).

(8) If a landlord fails to return to the tenant the moneys owed as provided in subsection (5), (6) or (7) of this section, the tenant shall be entitled to twice the amount wrongfully withheld.

(9) This section does not preclude the tenant from pursuing any other remedies under this chapter. [Formerly 91.767; 1993 c.786 §2; 1995 c.559 §14; 1997 c.577 §16; 1999 c.603 §18; 2005 c.391 §19; 2009 c.816 §4a; 2011 c.503 §7; 2015 c.388 §8]

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.