Phil Querin Q&A: Landlord’s Right of Access to Install Submeters

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August 3, 2015
Phil Querin
MHCO Legal Attorney
Querin Law


Question. We are sub-metering a property and have given all the appropriate notices including the 24 hour notice for right of entry to their space. About 20 residents have denied our access to the site and are asking us to provide them with exact dates on when we can enter their space.  We could do that however as with all of these projects delays may happen and it would require the possibility or multiple 24 notices to change the dates of entry.  Do the residents have right to do this, if we have given them a 24 hour notice with a window of 30 days for which we could gain access to their lot. Also if we relented on the original plans and 24 hour notice and we hand-posted a 24 hour notice for the right of entry when we know which sites we will be working on the next day is that an option?



Answer.  ORS 90.322(1)(f) says the landlord must give “…at least 24 hours actual notice of the intent of the landlord to enter and the landlord or landlord’s agent may enter only at reasonable times….”  (Italics mine.)

The statute does not say the landlord has to give the exact date and the exact time. It has been judicially construed in Oregon that a notice such as yours is sufficient, since it exceeds the 24 minimum requirement. See, Resources Northwest, Inc. v. William Rau, 173 Or. App. 500 (2001).

This is just for access to the space – not the home – so I don’t seen anything unreasonable about access in this fashion. It’s not disruptive. Of course, even with a proper notice, a tenant can deny access if the requested time is unreasonable.  (See, ORS 90.322(1)(e)(ii)). 

I had this occur at a park several years ago, and the tenants ended up staying on the higher base rent which was not reduced as it was for those who permitted access for the submetering. The noon-cooperative tenants soon saw the error of their ways, as their neighbors had lower rent and were able to control their water bills by reduced use.

Tenants should know that ORS 90.322(7) provides that:  “If the tenant refuses to allow lawful access, the landlord may obtain injunctive relief to compel access or may terminate the rental agreement under ORS 90.392 (Termination of rental agreement by landlord for cause) and take possession as provided in ORS 105.105 (Entry to be lawful and peaceable only) . In addition, the landlord may recover actual damages.”   (Italics mine.)

I suspect a landlord denied access would suffer financial damage if their submetering schedule was interrupted, so the tenants could be looking at damage claims by denying access. There would also be a right of attorney fees under ORS 90.255

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