2015 ORS 90.365¹
Failure of landlord to supply essential services
  • remedies

(1) If contrary to the rental agreement or ORS 90.320 (Landlord to maintain premises in habitable condition) or 90.730 (Landlord duty to maintain rented space, vacant spaces and common areas in habitable condition) the landlord intentionally or negligently fails to supply any essential service, the tenant may give written notice to the landlord specifying the breach and that the tenant may seek substitute services, diminution in rent damages or substitute housing. After allowing the landlord a reasonable time and reasonable access under the circumstances to supply the essential service, the tenant may:

(a) Procure reasonable amounts of the essential service during the period of the landlord’s noncompliance and deduct their actual and reasonable cost from the rent;

(b) Recover damages based upon the diminution in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit; or

(c) If the failure to supply an essential service makes the dwelling unit unsafe or unfit to occupy, procure substitute housing during the period of the landlord’s noncompliance, in which case the tenant is excused from paying rent for the period of the landlord’s noncompliance. In addition, the tenant may recover as damages from the landlord the actual and reasonable cost or fair and reasonable value of comparable substitute housing in excess of the rent for the dwelling unit. For purposes of this paragraph, substitute housing is comparable if it is of a quality that is similar to or less than the quality of the dwelling unit with regard to basic elements including cooking and refrigeration services and, if warranted, upon consideration of factors such as location in the same area as the dwelling unit, the availability of substitute housing in the area and the expense relative to the range of choices for substitute housing in the area. A tenant may choose substitute housing of relatively greater quality, but the tenant’s damages shall be limited to the cost or value of comparable substitute housing.

(2) If contrary to the rental agreement or ORS 90.320 (Landlord to maintain premises in habitable condition) or 90.730 (Landlord duty to maintain rented space, vacant spaces and common areas in habitable condition) the landlord fails to supply any essential service, the lack of which poses an imminent and serious threat to the tenant’s health, safety or property, the tenant may give written notice to the landlord specifying the breach and that the rental agreement shall terminate in not less than 48 hours unless the breach is remedied within that period. If the landlord adequately remedies the breach before the end of the notice period, the rental agreement shall not terminate by reason of the breach. As used in this subsection, "imminent and serious threat to the tenant’s health, safety or property" shall not include the presence of radon, asbestos or lead-based paint or the future risk of flooding or seismic hazard, as defined by ORS 455.447 (Regulation of certain structures vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis).

(3) For purposes of subsection (1) of this section, a landlord shall not be considered to be intentionally or negligently failing to supply an essential service if:

(a) The landlord substantially supplies the essential service; or

(b) The landlord is making a reasonable and good faith effort to supply the essential service and the failure is due to conditions beyond the landlord’s control.

(4) This section does not require a landlord to supply a cooking appliance or a refrigerator if the landlord did not supply or agree to supply a cooking appliance or refrigerator to the tenant.

(5) If the tenant proceeds under this section, the tenant may not proceed under ORS 90.360 (Effect of landlord noncompliance with rental agreement or obligation to maintain premises) (1) as to that breach.

(6) Rights of the tenant under this section do not arise if the condition was caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant or a person on the premises with the tenant’s consent.

(7) Service or delivery of actual or written notice shall be as provided by ORS 90.150 (Service or delivery of actual notice) and 90.155 (Service or delivery of written notice), including the addition of three days to the notice period if written notice is delivered by first class mail.

(8) Any provisions of this section that reasonably apply only to a structure that is used as a home, residence or sleeping place does not apply to a manufactured dwelling, recreational vehicle or floating home if the tenant owns the manufactured dwelling, recreational vehicle or floating home and rents the space. [Formerly 91.805; 1995 c.559 §21; 1997 c.577 §20; 1999 c.603 §22; 1999 c.676 §14; 2007 c.508 §8]

(formerly 91.805)

Notes of Decisions

The evidence showed af­firm­a­tive con­duct by the landlord to correct electrical defects and was sufficient to support an inference that the landlord induced the tenant to use the incorrect fuses which resulted in a fire. Conradi v. Helvogt, 278 Or 229, 563 P2d 707 (1977)

In ac­tion for damages and injunctive relief, finding that landlord had notice wa­ter was undrinkable but not unsuitable for other domestic purposes was supported by substantial evidence. Austin v. Danford, 63 Or App 334, 663 P2d 802 (1983)

In ac­tion for damages and injunctive relief, evidence supported decision that landlords were grossly neg­li­gent in failing to provide drinkable wa­ter. Austin v. Danford, 63 Or App 334, 663 P2d 802 (1983)

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.