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Getting Relatives to Move Out: Oregon Landlord-Tenant Law


We get this question fairly regularly:

How can I get my relative to move out of my house? Help!

It’s not really nice, or even very useful, for us to remind you that you let them move in, that you should have had a lease even if it was your nearest and dearest, or that you have too big a heart and trust FAMILY too much.

Remember, no good deed goes unpunished!

The truth is, though, how many of us would insist on a lease from Mom, Sis, Bro, Favorite Aunt?

But what do you do now that you have to get them OUT, OUT, OUT?

Sometimes one just needs the right mediator to help out rather than The Law or, heaven forbid, a Lawyer, so wouldn’t it be nice to ask someone who can tell you if the Oregon Landlord-Tenant Law is necessary? But, often, that brief consultation with an expert is the toughest thing to come by, so read on.

What do we do when Mom et al turn out to be Zombie Tenants and you might need the Oregon Landlord-Tenant Laws?

This isn’t always a simple question for Miss Manners. It might also be beyond consultation with one of my favorite Cul de Sac characters, Ms. Knowitalia, or me, Madam Law Librarian (not to be confused with Ms. Portlandia, though I have my days).

Instead, you’ll have to turn to the experts or one or more of these resources at a website and library near you:

1) Read Oregon landlord-tenant law, Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS). But we warned: the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RLTA) is a complex tangle of rights, obligations, and protections so I highly recommend you consult with an attorney after you have done your homework, if only to make sure you haven’t skipped a step or two that could cost you a lot of money or time.

2) Both the Oregon State Bar (OSB) and Legal Aid Service of Oregon (LASO) have useful information at their websites, including brochures and the Tenant’s Hotline: 503-648-7723.

3) The Oregon State Bar also has lawyers who can serve as coaches, advisors, limited scope counselors, etc., so don’t let a fear of having to pay a lot of money keep you from phoning or emailing their Information and Referral Service. Consulting an attorney, especially if you’ve done a lot of the preliminary work, can save you a lot of money. If you’ve never worked with an attorney, or want to know more about the process, try this book, from Nolo Press: Lawsuit Survival Guide, or the OSB guides.

Oregon Landlord-Tenant Reading List:

1) “Eviction court: the vexing issues,” by Oregon Law Institute (CLE course book – print only)

2) “Handbook for Oregon Landlords,” by Stevens-Ness Publishing Co. (print only)

3) “Landlord-Tenant Law: Rights and Obligations of Landlords and Tenants,” by Multnomah Bar Association (CLE course book – print only)

4) “Landlord/Tenant Rights in Oregon,” by Janay Ann Haas (many public libraries have this title)

5) “Real Estate Disputes,” by Oregon State Bar (print or on BarBooks (subscription required))

6) Odds and Ends on landlord-tenant law from the Oregon Legal Research blog, including:
A Lease of Your Own: Renting a Room in Someone’s Oregon Home

7) Lane County Law Library, Legal Research Guide on Landlord-Tenant Law. (Primarily for Lane County, but many useful links for other Oregon counties too.)

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