Q: I lived with a friend for 8+ months rent free with no formal agreement. He gave me 19 days to leave. Is this legal?
My friend let me stay rent-free and off-lease in the second bedroom of his apartment(s) in the city of Portland (we moved to a 2nd apt during 8+ months). On April 11th he text me that I needed to start paying $1,000/month, including the month of April, or leave by May 1st. I left to go out of town soon after and text to say I could only afford $750 for the month of May and then $1,000/month going forward. He told me I had to leave since I could not meet his demands. I asked to stay until May 3rd and he said no. On April 30th when I got back from out of town, he had locked the inside door (which we had never locked). I got in with my 2nd key to find all my belongings moved to the dining room. I left on May 1st without my mattress. Now he says he won't let me have it unless I pay him (he suggested $5,000). I just wanted my mattress but now am considering legal action due to his actions. What are my rights? There was no stated/formal request for rent money prior to April 11th. Thank you!
A: There is no question that you are entitled to recover your mattress and any other personal property. IF you were a tenant, then you might have claims against him for landlord-tenant violations (or perhaps not since you apparently left "voluntarily" - it depends upon the exact details). But if you were essentially just a guest who failed to leave when requested to, you likely have few rights. The only way to really know is for you to review everything with a local landlord-tenant attorney.
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