Rights of Domestic Violence Survivors in Housing

Information is for general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney

Download or view a printable pdf of our Rights of Domestic Violence Survivors in Housing handout

The landlord may evict the abuser, other household members can stay

If a tenant commits a criminal act of physical violence related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking against a co-tenant, the landlord may give 24 hours notice to terminate the rental agreement with the abuser only. The landlord may not terminate the rental agreement with any other tenants and may not require the remaining tenants to pay additional rent or an additional deposit or fee because the abuser left. (ORS 90.445)

Breaking your lease early

If you (or a child living with you) have been the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking within the past 90 days, you have the right to be released from your lease or rental agreement with a 14-day notice to your landlord. (ORS 90.453)

  • Make a request to your landlord in writing. (See Sample Form 1 below)
  • Provide proof of the abuse by giving your landlord one of the following:
    • a copy of a court protective order;
    • a copy of a police report showing that you or a child living with you has been the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking;
    • a statement from a “qualified third party” (like a police officer, medical professional, lawyer or victim advocate) stating you have reported an act of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. (See Sample Form 3 below)

Your landlord cannot charge you a lease-break fee in this circumstance. Your landlord cannot charge you for rent or damages that were incurred after your lease-break date. Remaining tenants will continue to be responsible for rent. “Immediate family members” may leave with you if you break your lease under these laws. All other tenants must stay.

Changing your locks for safety

If you (or a child living with you) have been the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, you have the right to have your locks changed. (ORS 90.459). Your landlord must promptly change your locks or give you permission to change your locks if you notify your landlord that you (or a child living with you) are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking and that you want your locks changed. This notice can be verbal, but written notice is always safest. (See Sample Form 2 below).

If the abuser lives with you as a co-tenant, you must first provide your landlord with a court document that orders the abuser to move out before you or your landlord may change the locks. Your landlord should not allow the abuser into the unit without your permission, unless a court orders the entry. The abuser is jointly responsible for the rent and any damages to the unit until that person’s tenancy ends.

If the abuser is not a co-tenant, you do not need to provide proof to your landlord that the violence occurred. If your landlord refuses or takes too long to change your locks, you can change the locks without the landlord’s permission, but you must give a copy of the new key to the landlord. You are responsible for the cost of changing your locks, but the landlord should not insist you pay for the lock change before changing the locks.

Discrimination because of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking

Landlords are not allowed to treat survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking differently because of that experience. This means that landlords cannot threaten to or try to kick someone out just because they are the survivor, or refuse to rent to them because of their experience as a survivor. (ORS 90.449).