Hillsboro, OR asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Oregon

Q: Issues with putting in maintenance orders and company marking them as complete without doing anything.

What are my options? We have two months left on the lease. We have had to put multiple orders in for the same thing and we are told by the owner that he did not know and the rental company is telling us that the owner didnt want to fix it. The major complaint is the back deck is rotting away and is not up to code. Unsafe for my children. Is this a breach of lease and can I get my money back? 1.5 year lease

1 Lawyer Answer
Gregory L Abbott
Gregory L Abbott
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: First, be sure you have documented everything - the habitability violations and your requests for maintenance and yes, document EVERY request you have made (and put future maintenance requests in writing). Try calling your city building code inspectors to see whether they will come inspect and cite the owner, forcing him to repair it. And, when the courts reopen, you can bring suit against the landlord seeking a court order forcing the repairs if you wish. You may well be entitled to pay/have paid a reduced rent until the deck is fixed, but you can only go back a year (if it has been unusable that long and you notified the landlord/property manager of the problem back then). How MUCH of a reduction in rent is ultimately whatever you and the landlord agree it is worth or what a Judge/Jury says it is worth. Given that the loser in court is likely to owe the winner's attorney's fees, which can well be thousands of dollars, both landlord and tenant have a vested interest in reaching some sort of an agreement. How long do either want to argue over a few hundred dollars if it will cost the loser thousands? Or you can create your best good faith estimate of how much accrued rent you are owed over the last year and simply deduct it from your next rent payment. The landlord is likely to scream but in the end, his only option is to either accept it or sue you or otherwise try to evict you for failing to pay rent. If you defend, based upon you don't owe rent given the reduction you are entitled to, it will be up to a Judge to decide. The down side is, though, if the Judge rules against you, you may well be evicted. None of this can happen, however, until the courts open again and evictions for failure to pay rent are reinstated - currently scheduled to not be before June 20 and possibly later, depending upon how the Covid-19 situation develops between now and then. Good luck.

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