By: Tia Politi, ORHA Forms Committee Chair
Senate Bill 1069
Service of notice by email-and-mail
In this month’s newsletter, you’ll find an educational article on Senate Bill 1069, written by Eugene attorney Brian Cox. In November, I let you know that considering the new law allowing service of notice by email and mail, the board would be deciding what to do with the Service Boxes on our forms. The Forms Committee provided the board with three options:
1) Do nothing and discourage email-and-mail service.
2) Add Email-and-Mail as a fourth option.
3) Change the service box to allow for only two options – First Class Mail and Other.
The board voted unanimously for option 3 and here’s why. We already have many issues with our members serving notice improperly. I am an eviction specialist and staff five landlord helplines around the state as part of my business, and the biggest reason landlords lose in eviction court, or must re-serve a notice is due to “imperfect service.” Despite all our articles and classes and helplines, folks still mess this up more than anything else and it’s a bad thing to mess up! A tenant attorney would be happy to educate you for an exorbitant fee. We don’t recommend it for the casual landlord. What if you forget to email one of the tenants? What if their power is out? What if they lost their internet? SB 1069 was presented as something wonderful for landlords, but many of us disagreed.
The changes to our service boxes will happen over time, and existing forms are still usable.
First Class Mail (with 4 days added to account for mailing time) is ALWAYS the most secure way to serve a legal notice – ask any landlord-tenant attorney, so why give our members another way to mess up? Instead, we encourage you to serve all notices by First Class Mail, and if you want to do it another way AND you know what you’re doing, you can fill in the “Other” method of service.
If you still wish to serve legal notice by this method, the parties must enter into a written agreement after the tenancy begins and the tenant has taken possession of the unit. The agreement must specify the email address from which you will send or receive email notice and from which email addresses the tenant will send or receive email notice and provide for a change of email address, electronic payment or termination of the agreement by either party with three days’ written notice. The agreement must also include a state disclosure warning tenants about the consequences of their decision. Use Agreement to Exchange Notice by Email and Mail – ORHA form #O17. Please remember you may not copy our forms.
Refunding money by electronic means
There was another better change that came with SB 1069, an allowance for landlords to refund moneys owed to the tenant by electronic means. This is fantastic for both parties. How many times have you mailed a check the tenant never got? It’s happened to me - not a lot - but it’s a hassle when it happens, and the tenant is always mad even though it’s not your fault.
Just like the allowance to email-and-mail notices, the agreement to refund money by electronic means must be signed after the tenancy has begun and the tenant has taken possession of the unit. We have a great new form available. Agreement to Accept Electronically Transferred Funds - ORHA form #O16. Please remember you may not copy our forms.
Childcare in Rental Properties
One of the most concerning legislative changes from the 2023 long session is the requirement for landlords to allow tenants to operate a for-profit daycare in the rental property. See my article later in the newsletter for specifics on the new law, and hopefully you will be somewhat reassured. Becoming a registered or certified family child care home is complicated – only the most responsible of renters will be able to meet the requirements.
For landlords whose tenants meet those requirements, we have developed a new form In Home Child Care Agreement – ORHA form #MO7. Please remember you may not copy our forms.
Application to Rent
Form S1 has been updated to comply with the requirements of HB 2680 adding gender identity as a protected class and providing the required disclosure for landlords who assess an applicant screening charge. As I mentioned in November, if you don’t charge for screening the old forms are still usable, but if you do you must replace your forms, or you will be out of compliance with ORS 90.295 and may incur a fee of twice the amount of the screening charge plus $250.
Eugene Lease Renewal Notification – ORHA Form MO8EU
This new form meets the requirements of the Eugene Rental Housing Code Ordinance 20694 that requires landlords whose tenants are in the first year of a fixed-term lease of less than one year to provide notification to the tenants of their right to request a renewal of their lease or receive relocation expenses of two months’ rent.
The form can be provided at the time of move in or no less than 90 days prior to the expiration of the fixed term. Beware, the penalties for not serving the form are severe. Please remember you may not copy our forms.
Happy New Year!
Tia Politi, ORHA Forms Chair