Landlord & Tenant Law
At some point in our lives, almost all of us have lived in an apartment. Whether it was in college, after graduation with a bunch of roommates, or your whole life; roughly a third of households are renters. And just like everything else in life, problems do develop between landlords and tenants, or even between tenants.
For residential ones, there are extensive laws on the books outlining the relationships between renters and the landlords, and those laws are often updated. As to commercial leasing, there are few laws, with the lease being the main "law" involved.
Most people think of apartments when you think about rental housing. However, residential can include a wide variety of living situations. This includes renting a room, renting a house, renting an apartment, renting a manufactured home, or even renting a houseboat. There are often laws and rules unique to each situation. You also have special rules for when your employer is also your landlord.
By and large, the rules for residential rentals are contained within the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS), specifically Chapter 90. There you will find laws concerning deposits, fees, rent increases, habitability, and even evictions. These can be complex, so it can be advantageous to retain an attorney to help you navigate these laws. Further, if you end up in court, there are rules of evidence and court you need to follow.
One important point in this area of law, is there are prevailing party attorney's fees available to the winner. That means if you win in court, you can then ask the court to order the loser to pay for your attorney. This is great if you win, but ups the stakes in a case, one that may also determine if you continue to have a roof over your head.
Commercial leases are in some ways simpler. For the most part, the written lease agreement controls the entire transaction. This is because these are not people's homes, so there is little risk someone ends up homeless due to being evicted from their commercial space.
The most important issue then for this area of law, is the lease. That means it is usually a lot cheaper to hire an attorney to begin with and ensure your lease is in good shape prior to signing the lease, so as to prevent big problems down the line.
Of course, if you still need assistance with a commercial lease, we can assist with evictions, collections, or at the beginning, drafting and negotiating leases. We help both landlords and tenants with commercial leases.
Stevens & Legal also recognizes it is difficult for small landlords (1-4 units) to find law firms willing to assist them. The big firms simply do not have time for small cases, as they are used to having dozens of evictions on their plate for a single, large client.
We offer reasonable rates, and smaller retainers, to assist small landlords with their problems. This includes reviewing rental agreements to begin with, up through the eviction process.
Attorney TeAnna Rice leads the Stevens & Legal Rental Law department from our office in Hillsboro.