Unlawful Eviction/Conversion/Small Claims Court

4 Replies

State is Oregon - Hi, I would greatly appreciate any advice re my legal situation. My landlord performed an unlawful eviction and conversion of my personal property. This was done after I sent 2 rent withholding notification letters and sought temporary housing elsewhere until the landlord repaired or remedied ongoing habitability, health and safety violations. This was also after 1 year of steadily escalating retaliation and harassment for seeking help from governmental agencies and, per their advice, documenting the nuisance and problems by photographing them.
The landlord's only response to my rent withholding was to mail me a Termination of Tenancy- stating that should I continue to occupy the premises as of September 19, 2007, eviction proceedings would be initiated in court. I waited for the FED notice, checked the online court docket daily, and was fully prepared to file an answer and counterclaim. In the meantime, since this was federally subsidized housing, I continued seeking help from the Housing Authority and HUD.
December 26, 2007, I received a "Final Accounting" document from the landlord. The letter was dated Dec 5 and the meter postmark was Dec 21. It stated that I "vacated" the apartment on September 19th and owed cleaning and bogus damages in the amount of $1,575. - including $200 for the "Removal of Belongings" which was, in fact, an entire duplex apartment full of furniture, clothing, etc. - all of my personal property. Throughout Oct, Nov, Dec 2007 and January 2008- I continued to receive my usual Housing Authority - HUD paperwork including annual inspections, rent recertifications, and a rent payment adjustment check for active tenants in good standing.
I am now living in California and have given up trying to find a lawyer (my case is not enough personal injury/damages$ to interest one). If I file in Small Claims Court- in Oregon- would the Statute of Limitations apply to the fraudulent "vacate" date of Sept 19th or the actual date of discovery of Dec 21st? Would the unlawful eviction and conversion claims strictly fall under "Landlord-Tenant" or could they be Intentional Torts i.e., Fraud, Conversion, Intentional Infliction of Mental Distress (along with prior incidents of Fraud and Invasion of Privacy)? I spent 4 hours online last night- on osbar.org and all the Oregon court sites, etc. just trying to find the proper small claims forms, low-income fee waivers- and if I can file electronically or not. I went round and round like a rat on a wheel- getting nowhere...no useful info. I thought I'd give you a try after reading your posts about other people's tenant problems. Thank you...any advice would be a blessing at this point.

If the situation was so intolerable, why didn't you find another place to live?

You were evicted in September and didn't discover it until December?

It's you who were in violation of Oregon law by not paying your rent, and tenants who don't pay rent get evicted. Judges up here are firm about that issue, so you won't get any sympathy. This isn't the liberal California court system that apparently is what you are accustomed to manipulating.

You can't get a lawyer to take your case because you don't have a case.

bingo! you got evicted for being a deadbeat and not paying rent! the landlord acted appropriately whereas you were trying to scam the system!

I have been there with a tenant like
you an got taken to court> tenant
saying condo bad , unlivable when
I just remodeled the whole place
myself> the tenant played the same
game you did well the judge actually
went to this condo because like you the
tenant said it was junk well the judge
gave me a judgement for $4,000 unpaid
rent AND kicked him out the very next day > by the way your trick is know by
judges and if you are found out to play this game look out!!!

SKI

I won't be quite as harsh as the others who responded.

You were wrong to withhold rent and the landlord was entitled to evict you for nonpayment.

Since you were in a HUD housing assistance program, the local HUD housing authority should have responded to your complaints and done their own property inspection. If the property condition presented a health and safety issue, the housing authority could have demanded immediate remedy or the landlord would have been dropped from the program.

The housing authority would have moved you to another approved rental.

Even if you had not complained, the housing authority would still inspect the property each year to insure that there are no maintenance issues that present health, safety, or public welfare concerns. If there were any, the housing authority would not approve a renewal of your lease until the problems were corrected.

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