Q: What are my rights as an unauthorized occupant/squatter in Oregon?
A year ago, I moved in with my cousin and my parents. My cousin and dad are on the lease; my mom and I are not. My cousin has had issues with my parents and has been threatening to kick them out for months for no reason. I finally stepped in to defend them, and now he’s trying to kick me out too. So, a notice of termination was served, saying unauthorized tenants (me and my mom) need to rectify the situation or leave in 30 days. So what are my rights? If we do not leave, what will happen?
A: Who issued this notice - the cousin or the master landlord? Do you pay any rent and if so, to whom - cousin or landlord? Depending upon the exact facts, the cousin may have no legal right to terminate anyone else's tenancy. Even if he does, the notice has to contain all the legally required information and be lawfully served in order to be enforceable. All this is not to say that the cousin cannot eventually get rid of you but perhaps not under landlord-tenant laws. There also is the potential issue of whether the landlord is willing to add you and Mom as permitted occupants on the lease. Still, as long as you share a tenancy, you may have potential liability for whatever cousin does (or does not do). If things are not good between you, do you really want to risk your credit record and having any possible Judgment entered against you because of anything he does? So you may want to start looking for housing elsewhere for your own benefit but if you need to know your current vulnerability to being evicted, gather all the paperwork, particularly the Notice, and have them reviewed by a local landlord-tenant attorney. Good luck.
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