What happens when my fixed-term rental agreement expires?

When a fixed-term rental agreement expires the tenancy becomes a month-to-month tenancy unless the landlord offers a new fixed-term rental agreement. If a landlord fails to offer you a new rental agreement at least 60 days before your current agreement expires, your tenancy renews as a month-to-month tenancy having the same terms and conditions as your expiring lease, except the duration (which becomes month-to-month) and rent increases (which will be governed by the statute ORS 90.600).  A month-to-month tenancy lasts indefinitely unless it is terminated for legal reasons such as, but not limited to, rule violations, outrageous conduct, or nonpayment of rent.

What is required of the landlord when offering a new fixed-term lease?

The offer of a new fixed-term rental agreement must:

  • Be made at least 60 days before the end of the old rental agreement, and
  • Include a copy of:
    • The new rental agreement, and
    • A written summary of any new or revised terms, conditions, rules or regulations that are different between the new rental agreement and the old one

If you rent on a fixed-term basis, then the length of the rental agreement must also be at least two years.

What if the new rental agreement offered has different terms than my old agreement?

The new rental agreement can differ from the old rental agreement, but there are restrictions on how it can differ. These restrictions are intended to prevent your landlord from forcing you to move by offering a rental agreement so unreasonable that you would never sign it.

Rule changes made by the new rental agreement must be:

  • Required because of changes to landlord/tenant law in Oregon since the old agreement was signed
  • The same as rules offered to other prospective residents for your park or marina during the past 6 months, or customary for the local rental market
  • Consistent with the rights and remedies offered to tenants under Oregon landlord-tenant law

Rule changes made by the new rental agreement cannot:

  • Be related to the age, size, style, construction material or year of construction of your home
  • Require you to physically alter your home, nor alter or build a new accessory structure such as a carport, shed, nor tender house.

What happens after you receive a proposed, new, fixed-term rental agreement?

If your landlord proposes a new fixed-term rental agreement, you must accept or reject it, in writing, at least 30 days prior to the end of your old rental agreement. If you do not accept it or if you “unreasonably” reject it, your rental agreement expires and does not become a month-to-month arrangement, and you have to move.

The law does not define what “unreasonably rejects” would include.  However, it is reasonable for a tenant to expect that the proposed new fixed-term agreement that the landlord offers them should be in compliance with Oregon Landlord-Tenant law. Therefore, if your proposed lease does not include specific items required by Oregon law, or includes restrictive terms that are prohibited by law, or the new rules do not pass the tests above which are required by law, it would seem to follow that you would be “reasonable” in your rejection of a proposed agreement on the basis that the agreement doesn’t conform to the Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 9o.

For more information on the limitations of what kind of rules a landlord can propose in a rental agreement, see our post “Reasonable Rules in Parks and Marinas” or click here.

You can find the actual Oregon laws about the expiration of a fixed-term tenancy in ORS 90.545 and by clicking here.

(Note: This information is accurate as of the date of this post (August 2020). It is important to realize that changes may occur in this area of law. This information is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem, and it is not intended to replace the work of an attorney.)

(This post is an excerpt of a longer article reprinted from the OSTA Review, Winter 2019-20 edition, Volume 40 – Number 1, and originally written in February 2017 by the Legal Aid Center in Portland, with minor formatting edits here to display better in a blog-post format or to aid in guiding our park and marina tenant audience in better understanding their rights.  The original article can be found on the Legal Aid Center of Portland website by clicking here.)