Q: Please letting is know how to legally avoid to pay the reallocation assistance fee to tenant under the below situation?
We are the landlords of a house that has rented to tenant in Portland. The original lease date was on October 01, 2018 to October 01, 2019. After the leasing ended, we renewed the lease with tenant and the lease would end on April 01, 2021. However, on March 15, 2021, we sent to tenant a lease termination notice and mentioned to terminate the lease on April 01, 2021 for reason not renewing the lease. The tenant has not mailed or given us the official notice regarding to the above lease termination notice. On April 01, 2021, we still received the rent for the month of April. Does it mean the lease termination notice we sent, were already expired and invalid and the lease at this time has converted to month to month?Today, we mailed to tenant another official lease termination notice and mentioned to terminate the lease for the next 90 days that would be on July 31, 2021 for a reason selling the house. Can we get exemption for not paying reallocation fee to tenant base on second notice?
A: You appear to be just racking up potential violations that may come back to haunt you. You don't say what the existing/now expired lease provides regarding renewal but within the City of Portland, a landlord is required to offer a renewal lease unless you meet specific criteria. And in all of Oregon, after a tenant has been there for at least a year, at least 90 days prior written notice is required to terminate a lease. If a new fixed term lease has not been executed by the time a prior lease expires, it automatically rolls over into being a month to month tenancy. And accepting rent normally waives a landlord's right to try to evict the tenant, at least for that month. You cannot both take my rent money and then try to kick me out (as a general rule). Next, IF you are going to try to terminate a tenant's tenancy without cause, it can only be for a permitted reason - and those are very few, especially during Covid restrictions. Selling the dwelling IS a permitted reason to terminate a tenancy BUT you have to comply with all the rules or face financial penalties. A landlord must first have accepted an offer to purchase the rental dwelling and have a buyer certify that they intend to occupy the dwelling as their primary residence (if they want investment property instead, the tenant just stays and pays rent to a new landlord). When the landlord has accomplished those requirements, then and only then, may they issue a written (NOT text, email, voicemail, verbal, etc.) termination of tenancy notice to the tenant providing them at least 90 days prior notice (94 days if notice is only mailed, including day of mailing) that their tenancy is being terminated due to sale of the house. The tenant has to be shown a copy of the sale paperwork verifying the sale and buyer's certification of intent to reside there and relocation assistance has to be addressed. In Portland, a landlord has further duties of providing the tenant with a written copy of the tenant's rights and relocation assistance rights, along with a variety of other paperwork. Relocation assistance has to be paid to the tenant at least 45 days prior to the termination date. And the requirements go on and on...Portland Housing Bureau administers Portland's relocation assistance requirements and issues any exemption a landlord may be entitled to. But the exemption has to have been applied for and granted prior to giving the tenant the 90 day notice and a copy must be served on the tenant prior to serving them with the 90 day notice. Issue any notice without following all these procedures and you may find yourself being sued - with statutory damages being assessed in terms of multiples of month's rent. Issue a notice during the pandemic that you were not allowed to? That may cost you 3 months rent, plus the tenant's court costs and attorneys fees (likely thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars). And it is only the start.
Do yourself a favor and review everything in detail with a local landlord-tenant attorney before doing anything further. It likely will more than pay for itself in terms of money and penalties saved going forward.
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