Q: Need to evict my rental tenant so my ill in-laws can move into the house, renter will not leave. Need advice
I have a rental home in Washington County, Oregon. He's rented on a month to month lease since 9/9/19. About 5 months ago I gave him a heads up that my in-laws may move back to Oregon and they may need to move into the house and he'd have to leave. I sent him a 60 day notice on May 15th but we were still under covid mandate for evictions. I spoke with an Attorney and I sent an eviction letter to the tenant on 7/23/2020 and sent it via certified mail. The tenant said he never got the letter in the mail. I also sent him an electric copy of the notice via text message and I have the certified mail receipt. The tenant has just recently moved his pregnant girlfriend into the home along with her 3 young children. Tenant has said he has no where to move to and will not leave on 8/28 per eviction letter. Do I just need to follow the Forcible Entry and Detainer steps on the Wash county court website? Just explain to the judge what I stated here? Direct family can be cause for eviction correct?
A: Trying to do this yourself without an attorney is fraught with peril. You have already made several serious errors. Notices have to be either 30 days if they have been there less than a year or 90 days with a permitted reason. ALL landlord-tenant written notices being mailed MUST be mailed regular first class, 55 cent stamp to the recipient. You can mail Certified if you wish in addition to but not in place of mailing regular first class (what would be the point?). Mailing Certified Mail is the same, legally speaking, as not mailing it at all and any/all notices so mailed are invalid and unenforceable. Service by email or text message is also invalid and I seriously question whether "In-Laws" qualify as a permitted reason to terminate a tenancy to begin with. Finally, it does not matter whether the tenant claims they never received your Notice - your legal obligation is to prove that you mailed it to them, not that they received it. If you want to avoid that potential issue in the future, if your written lease agreement provides for it (almost all standard residential lease forms do), post the notice on the main entrance door and mail a copy regular first class mail. Take a picture of it posted on the door, being sure the correct time/date function is set on the camera. A plus is you don't have to add the extra days for compliance for mailing. If you file in court to evict and the tenant opposes it, if ANY error can be shown in your procedure or law, your case will most likely be tossed out with you owing the tenant their court costs and attorney's fees (possibly thousands of dollars - even over $10,000) and the tenant remaining in possession, feeling smug and greatly emboldened while you have to start over again from the beginning. Having your own attorney helps protect against errors and maximizes your chances of winning on the first attempt.
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