#TenantTipTuesday: When repairs or habitability issues require you to find temporary housing 🏚

What does uninhabitable mean?

Conditions such as mold, unstable lead paint, serious housing code violations, and lack of essential services such as water, heat, and electricity can make a rental unit uninhabitable and unsafe. Whether the repairs or the lack thereof lead to a tenant having to leave their living space, habitability issues mean you might have to leave your home. For a complete list of your landlord’s responsibility for ensuring essential services, check out ORS 90.360. Failure to provide those listed services constitutes a unit as uninhabitable.

Terminate the Tenancy

Renters living in uninhabitable units are still considered tenants unless the rental agreement or lease is legally terminated by the renter or the
landlord. Tenants who want to terminate their tenancy due to uninhabitable conditions or lack of essential services in their unit should do so as allows by the ORLTA (Oregon Residential Landlord and Tenant Act) and/or tenant’s rental agreement (for example, ORS 90.365 provides a tenant can terminate within 48 hours’ notice for failure to provide essential service, or ORS 90.360 provides that they can terminate a fixed term lease with 30 days’ notice for habitability violations). If a landlord terminates the rental agreement or lease, and the tenant feels that the termination is illegal or retaliatory, they can contact an attorney or Legal Aid Services of Oregon.

Get Temporary Housing

Let’s face it: moving out and finding a new place can be extremely difficult in a tight rental market. You might want the repairs performed so you can return to your own living space in a reasonable amount of time without having to apartment hunt again. Your second option after simply terminating the lease is to seek temporary housing with your landlord’s support.

There are two main ways of doing this:
  • Ask the landlord to provide temporary housing in another unit at the property, or at another property owned by the landlord
  • Request the landlord allow you to apply your rent while your home is uninhabitable to the costs of temporary housing.

Legal Assistance

So what if your landlord doesn’t want to pay for you to have temporary housing while essential services are not available in your home? You can seek the assistance of an attorney or Legal Aid Services of Oregon for advice or representation in negotiating the provision of, or payment for, temporary housing with your landlord as well as other possible claims.

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Got more questions? We’ve got more answers. Call our Renters’ Rights Hotline to learn more.

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