Housing as a Human Right

Appropriate housing is a human right. As a tenant, you have the right to equal treatment in housing without harassment and/or discrimination. It is illegal for any person, because of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ethnicity, martial status, familial status, domestic partnership status, age, sexual orientation, source of income or persons with disabilities to refuse to sell, lease, rent or otherwise make available any real property to a purchaser, lessee or renter.

Subtle Discrimination Practices

Housing discrimination often comes through subtle forms of interaction. Instead of posting a sign that says “We will not rent to Latino’s,” landlords / owners say instead, "I’m sorry we have just taken a deposit from someone else” although in all actuality no money has exchanged hands. Due to economic gain of the last decade minority interests in white dominated affluent neighborhoods began to increase. The influx of minorities into traditionally homogenous neighborhoods elucidated racial discrimination. Discriminatory practices are even more persuasive due to the current economic downturn. Minorities are now purchasing and renting homes in affluent homes at a lower cost.

Racial Steering

Another discriminatory practice now in place is called “racial steering”. Racial steering is the act of showing minority applicants houses on already minority dominated blocks and consciously avoiding more affluent white neighborhoods. Testers (a multi racial panel who canvass various real estate offices, landlords, and mortgage lenders) are an efficient means to combat discrimination. Other subtle forms of housing discrimination include arbitrary security deposits and application fees.

Outcomes of Housing Discrimination

Housing segregation breeds isolation, prejudice and impartiality. Housing discrimination is wrong, hurtful and easily addressed. The City of Eugene values diversity in all neighborhoods. The City of Eugene believes that landlords can play an active role in combating housing discrimination by:
  • Developing and implementing anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies
  • Identifying and eliminating seen barriers
  • Providing inclusive training programs
  • Responding to accommodation requests

Illegal Discrimination Occurs When

  • You are treated differently from others in a similar situation
  • You are harmed by the treatment
  • You are treated this way because you are in a protected class i.e. race, gender, ethnicity, etc.

Please note that the Eugene Office for Human Rights had jurisdiction within Eugene City limits. If your situation is not applicable for investigation, we will refer you to the appropriate agency for help.

4.630 Human Rights - Housing Practices

  1. It shall be an unlawful housing practice for any person, because of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ethnicity, marital status, familial status, domestic partnership status, age, sexual orientation, source of income, or because an individual is a person with a disability to:
    1. Refuse to sell, lease or rent, or otherwise make available any real property to a purchaser, lessee or renter.
    2. Expel a purchaser, lessee or renter from any real property.
    3. Make any distinction, discrimination or restriction against a purchaser, lessee or renter in the price, terms, conditions or privileges relating to the sale, rental, lease or occupancy of real property or in the furnishing of any facilities or services in connection with the real property.
    4. Attempt to discourage the sale, rental or lease of any real property to a purchaser, lessee or renter.
    5. Publish, circulate, issue or display, or cause to be published, circulated, issued or displayed, any communication, notice, advertisement or sign of any kind, relating to the sale, rental or leasing of real property which indicates any preference, limitation, specification or discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ethnicity, marital status, familial status, age, sexual orientation, or source of income, or because an individual is a person with a disability.
    6. Assist, induce, compel, or coerce another person to commit an act or engage in a practice that violates this subsection, and subsection three of this section.
    7. Coerce, intimidate, threaten or interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise of, any right granted or protected by this section.
  2. No person or other entity whose business includes engaging in residential real estate-related transactions shall discriminate against any person in making available such a transaction, or in the terms or conditions of such a transaction, because of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ethnicity, marital status, familial status, domestic partnership status, age, sexual orientation, source of income, or because an individual is a person with a disability. As used in this subsection two, "residential real estate-related transaction" means the making or purchasing of loans or providing other financial assistance:
    1. For purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing or maintaining a dwelling; or
    2. Securing residential real estate; or
    3. The selling, brokering or appraising of residential real property.
  3. No real estate licensee shall accept or retain a listing of real property for sale, lease or rental with an understanding that a purchaser may be discriminated against with respect to the sale, rental or lease thereof because of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ethnicity, marital status, familial status, domestic partnership status, age, sexual orientation, source of income, or because an individual is a person with a disability.
  4. No person shall, for profit, induce or attempt to induce any other person to sell or rent any dwelling by representations regarding the entry or prospective entry into the neighborhood of a person or persons of a particular race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ethnicity, marital status, familial status, domestic partnership status, age, sexual orientation, source of income, or because an individual is a person with a disability.
  5. For purposes of this section, receipt or alleged receipt of treatment for a mental disorder shall not constitute evidence of a person's inability to acquire, rent or maintain property.
  6. For purposes of this section, discrimination includes:
    1. A refusal to permit, at the expense of the person with a disability, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by such person if such modifications may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises, except that, in the case of a rental, the landlord may, where it is reasonable to do so, condition permission for such modifications on the renter agreeing to restore the interior of the premises to the condition that existed before the modification, reasonable wear and tear excepted; or,
    2. A refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.
  7. It shall be an unlawful housing practice to discriminate against an individual in any manner set forth in subsections one to four of this section because of the race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ethnicity, marital status, familial status, domestic partnership status, age, sexual orientation, source of income, or disability of any other person with whom the individual associates.
  8. The prohibition against discrimination, distinction, or restriction because of sex in subsections one and three of this section do not apply if the real property involved is such that the application of subsections one and three of this section would necessarily result in common use of bath or bedroom facilities by unrelated persons of opposite sex.
  9. The prohibition against discrimination, distinction, or restriction because of source of income in subsections one, two and three of this section does not forbid:
    1. Inquiry into and verification of source and amount of income;
    2. Inquiry into, evaluation of, and decisions based on the amount, stability or creditworthiness of any income or source of income;
    3. Screening prospective purchasers and tenants on bases not prohibited by this code;
    4. Refusal to contract with a governmental agency under 42 USC 1437f(a) (Section 8).
  10. The prohibition against discrimination, distinction, or restriction because of sexual orientation in subsection one of this section does not apply:
    1. Where the lessor is renting rooms in an individual dwelling unit occupied by the lessor as the lessor’s residence; or
    2. To the rental of space in a bona fide church or other religious institution or organization, including churches, synagogues, religious schools, and other facilities used primarily for religious purposes.
  11. The prohibition against discrimination, distinction or restriction because of familial status and age in this section does not apply with respect to housing for older persons. For the purpose of this subsection, "housing for older persons" means housing:
    1. Provided under any state or federal program that is specifically designed and operated to assist elderly persons, as defined by the state or federal program;
    2. Intended for, and solely occupied by, persons 62 years of age or older; or
    3. Intended and operated for occupancy by at least one person 55 years of age or older per unit. Housing qualifies as housing for older persons under this subparagraph if:
      1. Significant facilities and services are specifically designed to meet the physical or social needs of older persons or, if provision of such facilities and services is not practicable, such housing is necessary to provide important housing opportunities for older persons;
      2. At least 80 percent of the dwellings are occupied by at least one person 55 years of age or older per unit; and
      3. Policies and procedures which demonstrate an intent by the owner or manager to provide housing for persons 55 years of age or older are published and adhered to.
  12. Housing shall not fail to meet the requirements for housing for older persons if:
    1. Persons residing in such housing as of September 13, 1988 do not meet the requirements of subsections a or b of subsection 11 of this section. However, new occupants of such housing shall meet the age requirements of subsections b or c of subsection 11 of this section; or
    2. The housing includes unoccupied units. However, such units are reserved for occupancy by persons who meet the age requirements of subsections b or c of subsection 11 of this section.
  13. Nothing in this section limits the applicability of any reasonable local, state or federal restrictions regarding the maximum number of occupants permitted to occupy a dwelling.

(Section 4.630 amended by Ordinance No. 17256, enacted February 24, 1975; Ordinance No. 17479, enacted November 24, 1975; Ordinance No. 19970, enacted July 11, 1994; administratively amended by Ordinance No. 20113, enacted April 6, 1998, effective May 6, 1998; and amended by Ordinance No. 20264, enacted November 12, 2002, effective December 12, 2002.)

Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities

Information provided courtesy of the Oregon State Bar


You have a right to your privacy under exclusion possession. Landlord must give 24 hours of notice before entering property. The only exclusions include:
  • Authorized repairs or maintenance
  • Emergency
  • Yard maintenance

Habitable Home

You have the right to a “habitable” home. This means that the space must be clean and safe. As a tenant, you can only use the property as a home. You must pay your rent on time and keep the property reasonably clean. If you have made any adjustments to the property, you must return it in the same condition in which you received it minus any normal wear and tear.

Services and Repairs

If a landlord refuses to provide certain kinds of services and you were not the one to cause the problem, you may correct the problem providing you first provided written notice to the landlord. You must define the problem and give the landlord a reasonable amount of time to make repairs before attempting to correct the problem yourself. Where appropriate, you may deduct the cost of repairs from your rent after submitting receipts for cost to the landlord. Before taking any kind of action regarding repairs, you should contact a lawyer or legal aid office for information. The law designates time periods, specifies resolvable problems, and limits money damages.

Tenant Responsibility

You have a responsibility to not altar the smoke alarms, damage property, or behave in a manner which disturbs your neighbors. If you have a month-to month rental agreement, either you or the landlord can end the agreement with a 30 day written notice. The landlord does not have to give a reason to end the agreement. However, the reason must be a lawful one.

Late Rent

In the event that you are seven days overdue on the rent, the landlord may give you a written notice asking for payment within 72 hours or leave. The landlord can give you a six day notice when the rent is five days overdue, unless otherwise stated. Your landlord can charge a late fee for overdue rent.

Serious Harm to Property and Tenants

If you have caused serious harm to either the property or other tenants, your landlord can give you a 24 hour notice to leave the property. The notice must list the reason for the eviction. Of course, the landlord can not evict you for illegal and/or discriminatory reasons.

Court Order for Eviction

If you have been properly served with a notice by the landlord and you refuse to comply with it, the landlord may seek a court order for eviction. You have the right to appear at the court hearing to challenge the landlord’s request for the eviction order. The landlord can not evict until the landlord has obtained a court order. This includes removing your belongings, locking you out of the unit, or shutting off your utilities. Once a court order eviction has been issued, the landlord may have the sheriff remove you from the residence. Once removed you may be required to pay the landlord’s court costs and legal fees.

Right to Your Deposit

You have the right to receive your deposit within 31 days if there is only normal wear and tear to the dwelling. The landlord may keep any or all of the deposit when direct damage caused by you exceeds normal wear and tear. If you or a landlord would like to change the terms of the rental agreement, these changes should be in writing to protect both parties. When in doubt of your legal rights, please seek legal advice from a legal aid agency.

Landlord’s Rights and Responsibilities

Information provided courtesy of the Oregon State Bar.


A landlord has the right to receive payment for the use of his/her property. You have the right to have your property returned to you undamaged at the end of the rental contract between you and the tenant(s). As a landlord, it is your responsibility to provide a home that is habitable, make needed repairs, provide a working smoking detector with batteries, respect your tenant’s privacy, and observe federal, state, and local laws regarding condition of property.

Notice of Intent

As a landlord you agree to not enter the tenant’s home frequently, at odd hours, or without legitimate reason and without notice. You must give at least 24 hours notice of your intent to enter unless the tenant has indicated in writing with the last seven days or in the case of an emergency. You have the right to protect your property through reasonable inspection to make repairs and show the property to possible buyers as long as the 24 hours notice has been given.

Address, Name and Non-Discrimination

As a landlord, you agree to provide the tenant with your name and address or the authorized manager’s name and address. You may not discriminate against a tenant on the basis of having children, disability, previous history as a domestic violence victim, sexual assault, or stalking victim, religion, race, ethnic background, age, sexual orientation, or any other illegal reason.

Illegal Retaliation

It is also illegal to retaliate against a tenant by raising the rent, shutting off utilities, or eviction because the tenant made a complaint to a public agency about habitability, discrimination, tenant union membership or organization or any other lawful violations. You may not lock a tenant out. The only exception to the previous statement is when a tenant who can show she or he has been the victim of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assaults asks you to have the perpetrator tenant locked out of the residence where the victim continues to reside.

Required Notice

As a landlord, you must give your tenant 30 day written notice in a month-to-month tenancy agreement. A week-to week agreement requires a 10 day notice. When rent is more than 7 days overdue, you may give the tenant a written notice stating that eviction will occur if the rent is not paid in 72 hours. You may also give a similar notice, for 144 hours, when the rent is 5 days overdue if you prefer.

You may give a 24 leave notice to the tenant when a tenant or someone in the tenant’s control harms you, your property, others on property or commits an egregious act. The notice must be in writing in legal form. You have to indicate the reason for termination and it must be delivered personally to the tenant or mailed to the tenant by first class mail only. If a notice is mailed, you must add three day to the notice time. The legal notice form details must be correct for enforcement.

Court Filed Eviction Complaint

If the tenant evades your notices and you want the tenant to move out, you must file an eviction complaint in court. The tenant will then be served with a summons and a complaint. A hearing and possibly a trial will follow. If the judge or jury agrees, you will be granted a judgment entitling to possession of the property. If the tenant continues not to move, you must pay the sheriff to come to the residence to remove the tenant. As a result, you will be responsible for temporary storage of tenant’s remaining property until you make reasonable efforts to give the belongings back to the tenant before they become legally “abandoned”.

Unpaid Rent

As a landlord, you may try to collect unpaid rent for the rest of the time in the rental contract when the tenant moves out. You must make a reasonable effort to rent the house or apartment before collecting unpaid rent. You must take these steps even if the tenant has a written lease. Note that in a month-to-month or week-to-week tenancy, your right to collect rent is limited to the usual length of the rental period. As a landlord, you have the obligation of accounting for or refunding any tenant refundable deposits upon tenant termination. If you keep all or part of the tenant deposit, you must give the tenant a written letter stating why you kept a portion or all of the deposit within 31 days of termination.

Fees for Repairs

If you have charged the tenant a fee as well as a deposit, you must use all of the money from the fee for needed cleaning and repairs. You may state you did this because the tenant did not look after the property before you could use any of the deposit for that specific purpose. The tenant may sue for twice the amount of the deposit if you do not comply with this requirement. Regardless of whether the contract is written or oral, the basic rights and duties mentioned in this information apply. A written agreement is a stronger tool in providing a record of terms and conditions for example pet allowance, and special requirements to serve notice. It is important to remember, if you want to provide terms for more than one year, the agreement must be in writing to become enforceable.