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Old 10-08-2019, 09:23 AM
 
7,306 posts, read 4,038,858 times
Reputation: 15060

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zinke View Post
Hi:
I am a landlord in Oregon.
I have a lease of 14 months and it ended last month.
Because I need to deduct the security deposit, the tenant requests me to refund her garbage fee over 14 months, because garbage fee is not included in the written lease.
I checked the Oregon landlord and tenantlaw (38) “Rental agreement” means all agreements, written or
oral, and valid rules and regulations adopted under ORS 90.262 or 90.510 (6) embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit and premises. “Rental agreement” includes a lease. A rental agreement shall be either a week-to-week tenancy, month-to-month tenancy or fixed term tenancy.
The rental agreement can be oral or written.
We had oral agreement that tenant pays garbage, and later on when we decided to reduce the oral agreement to written, I missed the garbage fee in the printout. But since we both knew that tenant would pay garbage according to our oral agreement, I didn't take effort to amend the lease, but I simply sent the tenant the garbage bill in email and the tenant has always been replying that she would pay the
garbage bill and sent the check, the tenant even said she would like to pay the rent and the garbage bill in the same check so it is easier. All the previous emails and check images are available.
So since oral agreement and written agreement are both valid by court, though the written agreement missed the garbage part, the oral agreement still stands, and the fact that the tenant has been voluntarily paying the garbage fee in the last 14 months and indicated that she would like to pay the garbage fee in multiple emails implies that our oral agreement are legally binding and I have previous email and pay checks as evidence. In this case, could I refuse to refund her the garbage fee?
Thanks
Wen
I don't know Oregon law, but I DO know that in many, if not most or all, states, if you have a written contract, then you CANNOT also have an oral agreement. The whole point of a written contract is so that the parties don't have to, and can't, rely on oral agreements, which are fraught with difficulties.

If the written lease contract was drafted by you, it is interpreted in a way that is most favorable to the OTHER party. Although I don't see any different interpretation other than...the garbage fee is not in the lease.

I think that law you quote about "agreements, written or oral...." is referring to EITHER a written agreement OR an oral agreement. You can't have both. Since you have a written agreement, the entirety of the agreement must be contained within the four corners of that agreement. You can add to it by writing something in, or crossing something out, and both parties initialing it, though.

You see the problem with your so-called oral agreement about the garbage fee. You say you had one, but the tenant says you didn't. That's why you need to write that into your written contract, so it's legally clear.

It's not much money, but if she sues in small claims court, she'll probably get that garbage fee back from you, plus court costs. (She will have a reason she was paying that fee...that is her only glitch. But the court may agree with her misunderstanding of that payment/fee. That's the only way I can see you'd win.)

Put the garbage fee in the contract, in the future. No misunderstandings. No problems.
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Old 10-08-2019, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Sector 001
7,272 posts, read 6,632,237 times
Reputation: 8359
Pay the money and get on with your life. Add it to the rental agreement later. Its not something that is worth fighting over.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:20 AM
 
6,701 posts, read 3,136,583 times
Reputation: 17222
A tenant will provide the pre check in list.
If they paid a pet fee it's rare the courts will compensate the landlord further unless the damage was egregious. Chewed up structure damage. Dung in the yard....you get the idea.
But carpet. Nope. Covered under pet fee that jacks up the rent .
Trash/sewer. Good one !
Who's name is on the bill?

If it's you...then ultimately your responsible .

I sense you will nickle and dime this tenant. So have at it. I find it interesting when the courts serve humble pie and a drink of ain't gonna happen to the landlord.

The written contract and state laws will be the guideline. Follow it.
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Old 10-08-2019, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
14,155 posts, read 33,409,264 times
Reputation: 13182
I am assuming that you didn't use the standard Oregon Rental Housing Association lease agreement?
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:33 PM
Status: "Hard Money Lender " (set 14 days ago)
 
293 posts, read 65,492 times
Reputation: 545
Quote:
Originally Posted by chiluvr1228 View Post
My goodness - if you can't afford to lose $150 as a landlord you need to get out of that business entirely.
I understand where you are coming from BUT it is not a matter of affording a loss. Good LL’s run a tight fiscal ship which is different for every LL. Some might write it off, other LL’s have the time and inclination to pursue it. Plugging holes where a LL loses money is key to running a good business. No need to make the business any harder by throwing away money.
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:49 PM
 
11 posts, read 2,666 times
Reputation: 15
Hi thanks for all your ideas.
I checked my lease, the lease says

11. Utility and service
Tenant is responsible for Electricity, Water and Gas and is required to register the utilities and service in tenant's name.

I didn't list the garbage in the term by mistake.
Actually the tenant is my co-worker, so I wasn't very careful when I was drafting since we work on the same floor.
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:51 PM
 
11 posts, read 2,666 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverfall View Post
I am assuming that you didn't use the standard Oregon Rental Housing Association lease agreement?
No I was using the lease from a website called ezLandlordForms.com.
Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 10-08-2019, 07:01 PM
 
11 posts, read 2,666 times
Reputation: 15
These are some of the holes I found on the carpet by cat scratch.
Attached Thumbnails
Can renter request refund of her garbage fee over 14 months:-webp.net-resizeimage-4-.jpg   Can renter request refund of her garbage fee over 14 months:-webp.net-resizeimage-3-.jpg   Can renter request refund of her garbage fee over 14 months:-webp.net-resizeimage-2-.jpg   Can renter request refund of her garbage fee over 14 months:-webp.net-resizeimage-1-.jpg  
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Old 10-08-2019, 07:07 PM
Status: "Hard Money Lender " (set 14 days ago)
 
293 posts, read 65,492 times
Reputation: 545
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinke View Post
These are some of the holes I found on the carpet by cat scratch.
How old is the carpet?

Also, if you are a part time LL you might consider using a property management company. They take a % usually of the rent but they make things a lot easier if you aren’t doing this for as a full time pursuit.
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Old 10-08-2019, 07:11 PM
 
11 posts, read 2,666 times
Reputation: 15
The carpet is 4 years old.
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