returning students set about the task of looking for accommodations for
the fall, large apartment and condominium complexes, furnished with all
the desirable extras, look very attractive. But BEWARE!
A lease that resembles "Nightmare on Elm Street" may lurk behind the
Students must realize from the start that few protections exist for
leaseholders under Oregon law. That means you must protect yourself.
Use the reading ability your education has provided you with and READ
The following pitfalls recur in many lease situations:
"Don't worry. We'll fix that before you move in. Just sign
Prospective tenants will hear that line over and over again, whether
"that" is a broken front door lock, a dirty carpet, or a brigade of
ants parading through the kitchen. After taking possession, the tenant
is responsible for the premises "as is" unless prior written agreement
is made between the tenant and the landlord. Additions to the lease may
be made simply by attaching an "addendum" which states the additional
terms, item by item. The addendum must be signed by both the landlord
and the tenant and must be attached to the lease as part of that
contract. Conducting a walk-through with the landlord/manager and
jointly signing an inventory report that records all imperfect
conditions is a good idea. This should be done as close as possible to
the beginning of the tenancy.
"Don't worry. That paragraph won't apply to you. Just sign the lease."
It is assumed that when a tenant signs a lease that he/she has read it,
understands it, and agrees to the terms contained in it. If the
landlord tells you that a particular part of the lease won't apply to
you, insist on striking through the provision and have the deletion
initialed by both the landlord and yourself.
really just a standard lease. You don't need to read
it all. Just sign."
This statement should instantly set the caution signals flashing! Very
few leases are "standard." For example, the lease used by one landlord
may provide for an increase in rent during the period of the lease if
the landlord's expenses increase. READ THE LEASE, and
don't sign unless you understand the provisions and agree to them.
"I have lots of people interested in this unit. If you
don't sign now, it probably won't be available tomorrow."
Don't let yourself be pressured by this statement. Does this statement
sound like your friendly neighborhood used car salesman? It should! Be
objective. If the unit you're interested in isn't available tomorrow,
then there are probably other places to live. Take a day out to review
the lease and reevaluate your priorities. Note that there is no 3-day
cooling off period available when you sign a lease. Your signature is
your immediate commitment.
The preceding quotations represent only a few of the situations in
which a student may find him/herself. RENTER BEWARE!
This information is not intended to provide legal advice.
Any incidental fee-paying University of Oregon student who has
questions about renter rights may call ASUO Legal Services at
to arrange an appointment.
disseminated in this website does not constitute legal advice and does
not create an attorney/client relationship. This page is for
information purposes only. For legal advice, contact an attorney
licensed in your state.