Yacolt, WA asked in Landlord - Tenant for Oregon

Q: Is a voluntary vacate agreement the same as an eviction notice?

My grandmother's house was recently obtained by Fannie Mae after the foreclosure of the property. They sent us a Voluntary vacate agreement that we signed; however, due to the shortage of housing in the area, we probably won't be able to make it out of the due date, and we were worried about being forced out of the house even though there was no official eviction notice sent to us we are afraid that the police might try to force us on said date. However, several of my friends have said to me that that's not legally possible until they sent you a court-order eviction notice. We currently live in Oregon by the way.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: A voluntary vacate agreement and an eviction notice serve different purposes in the context of housing laws. When you sign a voluntary vacate agreement, you're agreeing to leave the property by a specified date, usually in exchange for certain benefits, such as a waiver of owed rent or a cash incentive. It's a mutual agreement between the tenant (or occupant) and the property owner or manager, designed to avoid the formal eviction process.

In contrast, an eviction notice is a formal declaration from the landlord or property owner that they intend to reclaim possession of the property, often due to violations of the lease terms or for other legal reasons. If the tenant does not comply with the eviction notice, the landlord can then pursue legal action through the courts to forcibly remove the tenant. This process culminates in a court-ordered eviction, which is enforceable by law enforcement.

Given your situation in Oregon, it's important to understand that law enforcement typically cannot remove you without a court order, even if the voluntary vacate date has passed. If you're unable to vacate by the agreed date, it's advisable to communicate your circumstances to Fannie Mae or their representatives as soon as possible. Explaining your housing challenges might open the door to negotiating an extension or finding another solution. In the meantime, seeking advice from a legal aid organization could provide you with more specific guidance and support based on Oregon's housing laws.

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