As a tenant, you are entitled to exclusive possession to your rental unit, which means that you have the right to privacy. However, Oregon law also says that landlords have a strict duty to rent only units that are ďhabitableĒ ó or in a safe, sanitary and functioning condition. Landlords must make repairs when a rental unit becomes uninhabitable or otherwise needs repairs. To make these repairs, your landlord may enter your home with the appropriate contractor or repair person. Landlords also have the right to inspect your home from time to time to ensure that the apartment is in sound condition. Finally, landlords also have the right to sell the rental property or rent the property to others. To that end, under certain conditions landlords may allow potential tenants or buyers to inspect the property.
To help balance a tenantís right of privacy with a landlordís duties and rights, there are rules about when and how landlords can enter your unit. Generally speaking, a landlord must give you notice at least 24 hours in advance before entering your home, or even coming onto the yard area of the home you rent.
There are several exceptions to this general 24-hour-notice rule
Your landlord and the repair people must enter your unit at reasonable times. You should discuss these times with your landlord. Your landlord cannot use the right of entry to harass you or to retaliate against you. Your landlord also canít use the right of entry to inspect your belongings.
You have the right to refuse entry after receiving a 24-hour notice. You may refuse entry by specifically alerting the landlord of your decision, or you may attach a written notice of refusal to the front of your apartment in a secure manner. However, just as the landlord may not abuse the right to issue a 24-hour notice to harass or retaliate against the tenant, the tenant may not arbitrarily deny access to the landlord after receiving a 24-hour notice. Thus, if you do not let your landlord enter your home after he or she has given proper notice, the landlord may get a court order to allow reasonable access or end the rental agreement. The landlord can also sue you for losses caused by your failure to cooperate.
If your landlord enters without notice or permission, behaves unreasonably while in your home, or harasses you by repeatedly demanding to enter, you can ask for court protection. In these situations, you may obtain a court order restraining your landlord from these illegal acts. You may be entitled to further damages as well, such as your attorney fees and a penalty equal to one monthís rent. Finally, you may end the rental agreement altogether.
A landlord may remove a motor vehicle (that is not abandoned) from the rental premises without notice to the owner or operator if the vehicle:
Additionally, a landlord may remove a motor vehicle (that is not abandoned) from a space specifically assigned to a tenant only with the agreement of the tenant at the time of the tow. The tenantís agreement is necessary, presumably, to ensure that the vehicle does not belong to a guest of the tenant. In some cases and under the right circumstances, a landlord may also remove a motor vehicle from an open space not specifically assigned to a certain tenant or tenants. Finally, a landlord may remove a vehicle that is inoperable but parked in compliance with the rental agreement after at least 72 hoursí written notice to the owner if the vehicle owner fails to make the vehicle operable within the appropriate time frame.
If you think your landlord has entered or towed unlawfully, you may wish to call a lawyer for advice.
Legal editor: Troy Pickard, January 2016