It’s Moving Season – Watch Out And Protect Yourself

~ Written by Erica J. Erwin ~

Moving is a hassle. Here are a few ways to limit any surprises and enforce your rights.

While renting in Oregon is notoriously competitive, it’s often necessary. With renting comes moving, with most people moving between May and September. Understandably, spring and summer are the best times to find a new apartment because there is a lot of rental turnover during these months. College students and graduates are moving into and out of their apartments or looking to sublet. Also, in Oregon a major consideration is the rain, which can make an already-stressful moving experience even worse.

Now, not all landlords are bad people, however, in a competitive landlord-tenant environment like Oregon some landlords may take advantage of their tenants not knowing the law. The following are general tips, and SHOULD NOT be considered legal advice. Each landlord-tenant situation is different, and if you have any concerns, please contact an attorney. Erwin Legal provides free 30-minute consultations.

The Oregon Community Alliance of Tenants is also an excellent resource.

Some general tips when moving in:

  • Be sure to take photos of the apartment before move-in, including common spaces and your area. Photos will help later on if the landlord tries to say that you caused damage to the property, rather than the damage existing before your tenancy.
  • Read your lease agreement very carefully, and be sure you understand all of the provisions. If you do not understand something or have questions, you should be able to ask the landlord. If this is not an option, or you are concerned for other reasons, please consider calling an attorney before you sign.
  • If you have roommates or housemates, consider having a separate agreement so that everyone is on the same page regarding splitting utilities, sharing spaces, quiet times, etc. Even the best of friendships can deteriorate over petty apartment squabbles.

Some general tips when moving out:

  • Again, be sure to take photos of the apartment at move-out. This will prevent a landlord from saying that you left the property damaged or unclean, and trying to deduct the repairs from your deposit.
  • Keep an eye on any communication from your landlord after move-out. In Oregon, landlords have 31 days after a tenant moves out to return the tenant’s deposit, or provide the tenant with an accounting of why they are not returning the deposit. If they miss this deadline they may owe penalties on top of the deposit.
  • Be sure to submit your new address with USPS here, so that you don’t miss any mail during the moving process. This will also help you remember who still has your old address, so you can notify them of your new address.

And as always, if you have any follow-up questions, feel free to reach out.

Good luck and happy moving!

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