#TenantTipTuesday: When your landlord wants to come over all the time 🙅‍♀️

You rent a spot, but your landlord ultimately owns it. Does that mean he can tell you how to live or stop by whenever he wants? If this question sounds familiar it’s because many people who rent have asked themselves this question at one point or another.

The Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment

The fact is, you pay rent to a landlord in exchange for the exclusive right to use and enjoy the premises without interference by the landlord, called the covenant of quiet enjoyment. You have the right to peace and quiet and to exclude all others from the premises. If the landlord fails to provide a safe, quiet, and comfortable dwelling for full use and enjoyment by the tenant, the landlord may be in violation of this common law. The covenant of quiet enjoyment is not part of the Oregon Revised Statute but is a common law derived from Wolf v. Eppenstein (1914).

Reasons your landlord might enter

Generally, your landlord must give you 24 hours notice before entering your premises. Your landlord cannot use their right of access to unreasonably harassing you. Here are some reasons your landlord might ask for permission to enter:
  • to inspect the premises
  • to make important and needed or agreed upon repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements
  • to supply important and needed or agreed upon services
  • to show the unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors (per ORS 90.322)

Is there any time the landlord can enter without my permission?

Good question! A landlord can enter your home without notice and without your consent if you have requested a repair in writing for 7 days after your written request. If you want to limit the landlord’s entry to make repairs, you must put that information in the written repair request. You can also post a notice denying entrance to your landlord on the front door of your home.
Here are some reasons your landlord may enter with notice or consent:
  • an emergency
  • when the tenant has requested repairs in writing, as explained above
  • when the tenant has been absent for more than 7 days and entry is reasonably important and needed
  • pursuant to a legal order
  • when the tenant has abandoned or relinquished the premises
  • to come onto the property to serve a notice
  • to do yard maintenance if the landlord and tenant have a separate agreement requiring the landlord to maintain the yard

If the landlord makes an unlawful entry, a lawful entry in an unreasonable manner, or repeated lawful demands that unreasonably harass the tenant, the tenant may obtain a court order or end the rental agreement. The tenant can recover damages amount to no less than one month’s rent. – ORS 90.322(8)

So my landlord clearly is pushing it. How do I stand up for myself?

Documentation is your best defense against access violations. If the landlord, manager or other agents of the landlord have entered the premises without proper 24-hour notice, or have otherwise violated the access rule, you have the right to send the landlord a letter that describes the violation.
Make sure you include details such as the date and time of violations, along with any witnesses that were present. You can include language from the statute itself in the letter. Ask the landlord to obey the law, otherwise, you can pursue damages of one month’s rent, under the law.
If you wish to pursue damages, you don’t have to take any action immediately. Tenants have up to one year after the events occur to file a claim, and you can file in Small Claims court.

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