New Legislative Changes for Real Estate and Land Use

New Legislative Changes for Real Estate and Land Use

By Mark D. Shipman
Saalfeld Griggs PC

The 2003 Oregon Legislature has recorded the longest session in the legislature’s history. Negotiations over the state’s budget are the main reason for the length of the session. But the legislature has also conducted other business in 2003, including passing new legislation affecting real estate and land use. This article summarizes some of the most significant real estate and land use legislation coming out of this legislative session.


Been Thinking about Starting a Guest Ranch?

HB 2674 allows guest ranches on EFU land within 10 air miles of an urban growth boundary with a population of 50,000; instead of the current 5,000. Look for more Guest Ranches in Deschutes County in particular. There will be other areas in Central and Western Oregon that will qualify for this new provision as well.

Subdivision Plat Process

HB 3061 amends ORS 92.100 to authorize county governments to enact ordinances allowing a designee to approve subdivision plats in lieu of the governing body. The current statute only allows the chair and vice-chair of the governing body to approve subdivision plats in lieu of the governing body. This new law should help in speeding up subdivision plat approval.

More Limitations on Homes in Landslide Hazard Areas

HB 3375 provides that local governments may condition or deny land use applications for dwellings located in landslide hazard areas. This bill repeals current laws relating to transferable development credits, and it directs local governments to adopt standards to regulate the siting of dwellings and other structures in rapidly moving landslide areas.

New Changes to the 120 day rule

SB 94 will enable cities to deem an application incomplete and void the application. Currently, a city has 120 days to approve or deny an application for a land use decision. If an applicant receives a notice that their application is not complete the city is still required to review it. Under the new law, if an application is deemed incomplete by the city, the city may notify the applicant that the application is not complete. If the applicant doesn’t respond and the application remains incomplete after 180 days, the application will become void. In addition, the 120-day deadline may be extended for a “specified period of time” rather than a “reasonable” period of time and limits the total number of days for an extension to 245.

Access to Public Roads & ODOT

SB 765 provides that ODOT and the counties may not exercise their discretion to deny “reasonable access” to property adjoining public roadways. When determining what constitutes ”reasonable access” the statute requires ODOT and the counties to allow sufficient access for all uses identified for the property in the local comprehensive plan and to allow sufficient vehicle trips of the size and type necessary for all planned uses of the property.


Surveyor’s Lien

HB 2706 creates a land surveyor lien for performance of land surveying activities. This bill allows for a lien for the reasonable or agreed charges for any survey requiring registration with the county.


HB 2765, and other bills, revises Oregon Landlord/Tenant law in the following ways:

  • Defines drug and alcohol free housing.
  • Modifies conditions for immediate termination of rental agreement after at least 24 hours’ notice.
  • Adds provisions regarding domestic violence to the Oregon Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, including verification of acts of violence and early termination of tenancy.
  • Prohibits a sheriff from selling a mobile home without court order.
  • Eliminates a sheriff’s authority to remove any personal property in an eviction process.


SB 515 creates new provisions regarding residential real estate disclosures. It eliminates the disclosure exemptions for sellers who have never occupied the property. It also eliminates the seller’s choice of a disclaimer in order to prevent a revocation. A new claim of exemption section is added so that in every case a form will be used. The questions are rephrased to make the seller’s answers more definite, and words such as “to your knowledge” and “are you aware” are deleted. New questions have been added relating to special tax assessments or treatments, water from a well or spring, mildew odors, and materials subject to recall or class action suit. In addition, a new buyer’s acknowledgement, relieving financial institutions and real estate licensees from liability for the disclosure statement, has been added.

Commercial Brokers Lien

HB 2590 allows a principal real estate broker to claim lien upon commercial real estate that is based on a written and signed lease. The lien attaches on the recording date of a notice of Iien and does not relate back to the date of the written document.

Seller to Provide Protection from Construction Liens

HB 3539 affects the sale of new single family residence or condominium, or one with $51,000 or more in improvements within three months prior to sale, by requiring the owner to (a) purchase extended coverage title insurance for purchaser; (b) retain an escrow holdback account of 25% of the sales price for ninety (90) days after completion; (c) maintain a bond or letter of credit; (d) obtain written waivers from every person claiming a lien or liens in excess of $5,000; (e) complete the sale after the expiration of the lien period; or (f) obtain a signed, written waiver from the purchaser.

We have outlined only a fraction of the new laws passed affecting land use and real estate. To date, there have been fourteen (14) new substantive land use laws, and over thirty (30) new real estate laws! If you have a question on one of the laws identified here, or on another law not covered, please give us a call and we would be glad to provide you with any information you need.