Real Estate and Land Use Legislative Update

Real Estate and Land Use Legislative Update

By Alan M. Sorem
Saalfeld Griggs PC

In 2007, the Oregon Legislature was marked by a change from a Republican majority to a Democratic majority. This shift of power was especially evident in the arena of 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.


House Bill (“HB”) 3540, otherwise known as Measure 49, affects all current holders of Measure 37 waivers and future applicants. Measure 49 will likely be placed on the ballot this November. If the Measure passes, the State and counties must notify all current claimants within 150 days after the election regarding their development options. All claimants who already have a Measure 37 waiver permitting them to build a home may build as many as three homes on the property. However, if the claimant currently has one or two homes on the property, then the permitted number of houses is reduced by that number. Claimants who own property and have Measure 37 waivers may build as many as ten houses on the property, if the property is not located within a ground water restricted area, or is not another types of high value land, including exclusive farm use. If a claimant desires to develop between four and ten homes, the claimant will have to prove that he or she suffered a monetary loss that is equal to the value of the number of houses requested. This calculation will require the services of a certified real property appraiser.

Lastly, if a claimant desires to develop his property in any other manner other than the options outlined above, then he must vest his rights prior to the effective date of Measure 49. The process of vesting one’s rights is a case by case analysis that will require an additional application with the local government.


HB 2723 establishes a process by which a county or city may validate an illegal partition if created prior to January 1, 2007. The applicant will have to prove that he could have complied with the local partition requirements when the land was sold, or prove that a permit was approved for the building by the city or the county. Additionally, before deeds will be able to be recorded, in the future, deeds must include a reference to the recording number of an approved final subdivision plat, a partition plat, or a statement signed by an authorized county or city planning department that the division of the land was lawful. The statutory warning to prospective purchasers of real property was also modified to include language regarding the legal status of the parcel. Additionally, the disclosure laws have also been modified to require the seller to disclose whether the unit of land being transferred was unlawfully established.


HB 3025 changes the definition of “Land Use Decision” under ORS Chapter 197. The approval or denial of the final subdivision or partition plat will no longer be a land use decision requiring notice or resulting in a potential appeal. This new law should help speed up the subdivision plat approval process and reduce the risks to developers.


Senate Bill (“SB”) 167 now authorizes non-licensed real estate agents, whose licenses are either inactive or suspended, to act on their own behalf in real estate transactions. Thus, retired real estate agents will no longer need another agent to sell their own property or purchase property on their behalf.


SB 561 and SB 725 revise the Oregon Residential Landlord Tenant Act in the following ways:

  1. Allows the tenant to repair defects in dwelling units if the landlord fails to timely repair the defect after tenant gives proper notice and if the amount of repairs is $300 or less;
  2. Prohibits the landlord from including the tenant’s social security number on a residential eviction complaint;
  3. A defendant in an action for possession of a rental dwelling unit may now be awarded attorneys fees for legal services provided after notice of a voluntary dismissal of the action;
  4. Permits the landlord to terminate the rental agreement and evict the tenant if the tenant is a perpetrator of a criminal act of violence related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking against a household member of a tenant;
  5. Prohibits the landlord from terminating or failing to renew a rental agreement because a tenant is or has been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or from treating a tenant who has been a victim of such crimes differently;
  6. Includes a prohibition against discrimination due to race, color, sex, marital status, source of income, religion, national origin, and disabled person status; and the prohibition of discrimination based on one’s familial status; and
  7. A seller or landlord may not disclose whether or not an occupant or owner of the real property currently has, or has died from, HIV or AIDS.

This article outlines only a fraction of the new laws passed affecting land use and real estate. If you have any questions relating to the issues addressed in this article, please call one of the members of our Real Estate and Land Use Practice Group.