Frequently Asked Questions

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Below are the most frequently asked questions on the Renters’ Rights Hotline. If your question isn’t answered here, click here to view each issue by category, or call the Renters’ Rights Hotline at 503-288-0130.

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Q: What is the single most important thing I can do to protect my rights as a renter?

Proper written documentation and communication with your landlord is the single most important thing renters can do to protect their rights. Click here for more information.

Q: I feel like I am being discriminated against. What is fair housing and how do I protect myself?

The Fair Housing Act protects tenants from discriminations when they are looking for housing and while they are residents. Click this  Fair Housing Brochure for more information.

A tenant with a disability can request a Reasonable Modification or Accommodation under the Fair Housing Act. Click this Reasonable Accommodation handout more information.

Q: I’m having trouble getting my landlord to make repairs. What can I do?

Landlord is responsible to keep a rental unit in good repair, and the tenant is responsible for letting the landlord know when a repair is needed. Click here for more information about repairs.

    1. Bilingual Repair Request Sample Letter
    2. Uninhabitable Rental Housing handout
    3. Bedbugs
    4. Mold picture handout

Call the Renters’ Rights Hotline about Portland Mold Relocation Assistance program information.

Q: How do I get my landlord to return my deposit?

Click here for tips and info for getting your deposit back.

    1. Deposit Request and Dispute Letters
    2. Sample move-in/move out Unit Condition Report Form
    3. Small claims court is an option if your deposit is never returned
    4. 30 days move-out notice template

Q: How can a landlord evict me from my home? What is the process and what are my rights.

A Termination Notice is not an eviction. A landlord must obtain a court order in order to evict a tenant. The process is complicated, but the tenant does have rights and protections. Click here for more information about evictions.

Q: Can my landlord retaliate against me if I try to protect my rights? What if I receive a rent increase or eviction notice?

It is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant who complains in good faith or tries to protect his or her rights. It can be very difficult to prove, and documentation is the key. Click here for more information about retaliation.

Q: When can my landlord enter my rental home? Do I get advanced notice? What if my landlord is harassing me?

A landlord can only access a rental home in certain situations, and usually must give 24-hour notice. Click here for more information about access rules.

Q: How can I find rental housing I can afford?

Click here for tips for finding affordable housing.

    1. is a great place to start a housing search.

Q: I have an eviction or criminal history on my record, or some problems with my credit history. What can I do to pass the screening process?

Click here information about the application screening process, and what to do if you are denied housing.

  1. If you believe you have been discriminated against, contact the Fair Housing Council of Oregon 503-223-8197.
  2. Rent Well classes are great for tenants with poor credit or rental history.

Q: What is a lease? Is it different from a rental contract or agreement? How can I beak a lease? How do I know if I have rights as a tenant?

Click here for general questions and answers about rental agreements, and who is protected as a tenant under the law.

Click here for information about lease breaking.

Q: Can a landlord charge fees? What is the difference between a fee and a deposit? Are there limits or rules to how a landlord can charge me?

A landlord can only charge a fee if the tenant has violated the lease or broken a rule. A deposit is not a fee and must be refundable. Click here to find out how a landlord can charge a fee. Click here for more information about fees.