Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Oregon

Q: My complex has started charging tenants additional water/garbage/sewage fees under the umbrella of covid increases.

The lease has a specific amount charged for rent and a requirement before moving in was simply setting up electric accounts. Does this count as a rent increase if started well after the lease was signed and prior to a year of residence? Is this something allowed outside of the lease agreement? I also notice there’s no official documentation on this on any of the community sites. This took place prior to September and they have been charging this since.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Gregory L Abbott
Gregory L Abbott
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Utility charges are not rent - and thus do not come under the rent raise limitations or timing. However, if the landlord is paying the utility charges and then billing them out to the tenants on a pro-rata basis, there are statutes that govern that and have strict disclosure requirements in a written lease. So if there were no such disclosures in your original lease, and the landlord has not entered into a new lease with you containing the required disclosures, you may well have claims against the landlord. Consider reviewing it all with a local landlord-tenant attorney to determine your rights and best game plan going forward.

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