MHCO Columns

Phil Querin Q&A: Tenant Access to Their Records

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Phil Querin


Question:  A resident wants to see their file kept by the landlord.  Does the landlord have to show the resident the file?



Answer:  I find no statutory authority giving tenants a legal right to access the records maintained by the landlord or manager. There is nothing in the Oregon Landlord-Tenant Act allowing this.


By “records” I am referring to those maintained by the landlord or manager regarding tenant performance, conduct, complaints made by or against a tenant, and related information. And this only makes sense. No one would file a written complaint against another tenant if that tenant could legally access it and retaliate. And few managers would freely document events or run-ins with a tenant if that person could immediately demand copies of the report. These documents are legitimate “business records” kept in the ordinary course of the Park’s management and part of its legal responsibilities.


However, copies of those documents describing the tenant’s legal responsibilities, such as the rental agreement, lease, rules, or Statement of Policy, may certainly be requested by a tenant who lost or misplaced their copies. But this cannot be done repeatedly to harass the landlord. A copying charge may be assessed.


In litigation between landlord and tenant, including evictions, the tenant may legally demand that the landlord turn over copies of managements file if the content was directly related to the litigation. But if the landlord or manager opposed the request, the Court would have to decide. The issue would depend upon whether the records sought were directly related to some issue in the litigation.