The RE (Residential Eviction) action is for the possession of the property only. However, the Judge will listen to other limited issues only if they are raised by the tenant as a defense to the action for possession. The Court will not give the landlord a judgment for monies owed. A landlord must file a separate small claims action to be awarded a judgment of money or to process other non-possession claims.
Prior to seeking help from the Court, the landlord must serve proper notice. If the tenant is required by the notice to do something (pay rent for example) or to quit doing something (loud music for example), the landlord cannot obtain help from the Court unless the tenant does not comply with the notice. In the case of failure to pay rent, the rent must be seven (7) or more days past due before a complaint can be filed with the Court. If the landlord accepts a partial rent payment, the original notice may no longer be effective.
Filing a Complaint:
A complaint form can be obtained in Room 106 located on the first floor of the Courthouse. The landlord must fully complete the complaint form and attach a copy of the notice given to the tenant. The landlord must pay a filing fee to the Court, as well as a service fee to whoever serves the complaint. Service may be made by the Sheriff or another qualified process server. Arrangements for payment of service fees must be made with whoever will be providing the service.
The first appearance in Court will be scheduled for approximately eight (8) days after the landlord files the complaint and pays the fees. At the first appearance, the Court will gather information from both the tenant and the landlord to determine if a hearing should be held. If the Judge determines that a full contested RE hearing is necessary, the hearing will be scheduled for a date within fifteen (15) days unless the landlord agrees to set it for a later date.
If a full contested hearing is ordered, the tenant should file an answer before leaving the building following the first appearance. The tenant must pay an answer filing fee or apply to the Court for a deferral of the cost. Answer forms are available in Room 106 located on the first floor of the Courthouse. The answer form asks the tenant to briefly explain why the landlord should not get possession of the property.
A contested hearing will be scheduled only if the tenant has a valid defense. At the hearing, the landlord must show the Court why the landlord should be given possession of the property. The tenant may also offer evidence to show why the landlord should not be given possession. The tenant can request a jury trial, but must request the jury trial and pay additional fees when the answer is filed.
After hearing the evidence from the parties, the Judge will make a ruling and the judgment of the Court is recorded as public record. Such Court information is usually reviewed and reported by credit reporting agencies.
If a judgment for possession is rendered by the Court, the landlord shall enforce the judgment by having the Court Clerk issue a Notice of Restitution. The Notice must be served on the tenant and the tenant shall have three (3) working days from the date of service to vacate the premises. The landlord must make arrangements for service with either the Sheriff's Office or a private process server. If the Notice is not complied with, the landlord must return to the Court to request a Writ of Execution and pay a small fee. The Court issues the execution which is given to the Sheriff's Office, Civil Division.
For a fee the Deputy Sheriff will schedule an appointment to meet the landlord at the property and physically remove the tenant.
Storage of Tenant Property:
Please refer to ORS 105.165 or contact an attorney for information on your obligation to store tenant property.