Divorce, Domestic Violence, & Tenancy Rights: Leasing Options for Renters (& Their Landlords)
· If a divorcing couple is on a fixed term agreement and they're thinking about breaking it, the landlord would have the right to continue charging the tenants for all of the rent that is due for the rest of the tenancy period that's been agreed upon if a replacement tenant can not be found. Additionally, there is a law in Oregon that allows a landlord to charge the tenants a flat fee of any amount up to a month and a half of rent, regardless of if they find a replacement tenant. This is only applicable if the tenant is breaking a written rental agreement that includes these terms.
· A divorce decree cannot interfere with the rental agreement that already exists between the landlord and the tenants. Therefore, if a divorcing spouse who decides to stay at the rental property stops paying rent, the landlord would have a claim against both spouses for the unpaid rent, regardless of what the divorce decree says.
· If you’re experiencing domestic violence in your home, the first thing you’ll want to do is speak with an attorney and see what your options are for a restraining order, which can provide immediate relief. In additional to this, you can let your landlord know about the domestic violence that has occurred, as they have the ability to terminate the tenancy of a domestic abuser with just 24 hours of notice. The process of evicting an abusive tenant will take far longer than the process of receiving a restraining order, so both options should be considered.
· Oregon has a law, 90.453, that allows victims of domestic violence to legally terminate their lease with no penalties, so long as they provide a 14-days’ notice. As part of that notice, victims of domestic violence will be required to include a qualified third-party verification, which provides proof to a landlord that domestic violence did occur. This law also allows domestic violence victims to get out of their lease even if their abuser does not live with them.
· Oregon law has relatively recently been updated to say that a tenant cannot be held responsible for damage that was caused by the perpetrator of domestic violence as a result of an incident of domestic violence.
· Even though a landlord is not allowed to evict or fail to renew the lease of a victim of domestic violence, they do have grounds to terminate a lease if they give the tenant a warning that the abuser is not allowed back on the property, but the tenant invites the abuser back and property damage occurs. By doing this, the tenant puts themselves at risk of losing the protection provided by Oregon law 90.453.
· If you would like to speak with one of our family law attorneys regarding your unique family law matter, please call our office at (503) 227-0200 or visit our website at https://www.landerholmlaw.com/ to schedule a free consultation. For more information about Troy Pickard and how his firm can be a resource for your family, you can view his website here: https://portlanddefender.com/