Oregon Supreme Court Clarifies Dissolution Property Division

The end of the year in 2019 saw a deci­sion from the Ore­gon Supreme Court, Stave­land and Fish­er, 366 Or 49 (2019) which clar­i­fied the stan­dard of review for domes­tic part­ner­ship mat­ters – those involv­ing the dis­so­lu­tion of unmar­ried non-reg­is­tered domes­tic part­ners.  The Court of Appeals, in affirm­ing a por­tion of the tri­al court judg­ment, used a stan­dard of review from an ear­li­er case that cen­tered on the prop­er­ty dis­tri­b­u­tion in a dis­so­lu­tion of mar­riage case.  The Ore­gon Supreme Court cor­rect­ed the Court of Appeals on the prop­er analy­sis – deter­mi­na­tion of the intent of the par­ties and uphold­ing find­ings of fact from the tri­al court if there unless no evi­dence sup­ports the find­ing.  The Supreme Court left open the door for a future argu­ment that in addi­tion to the effec­tu­a­tion of the intent of the par­ties, equi­ty should be tak­en into account when decid­ing on a dis­tri­b­u­tion of prop­er­ty – an argu­ment that was not presented.

The Supreme Court also clar­i­fied and pre­sent­ed the prop­er analy­sis for dis­tri­b­u­tion of prop­er­ty in a dis­so­lu­tion of mar­riage case as well.  The opin­ion in Stave­land and Fish­er will be help­ful to judges, attor­neys and lit­i­gants in under­stand­ing the prop­er ana­lyt­i­cal frame­work to dis­trib­ute prop­er­ty in cas­es of dis­so­lu­tion of mar­riage and dis­so­lu­tion of domes­tic partnerships.

Court of Appeals Confirms Violations’ Role in Restraining Order Continuations

P.K.W. v. Stea­gall, 299 Or App 820 (2019) involved a push­back on a line of caselaw under the Fam­i­ly Abuse Pre­ven­tion Act that had estab­lished a dis­tinc­tion between actions tak­en while an abuser and a vic­tim lived togeth­er and the poten­tial for fur­ther abuse once they no longer cohab­i­tat­ed.  The Court of Appeals looked to the respondent’s pend­ing con­tempt mat­ters for alleged vio­la­tions of the tem­po­rary restrain­ing order to deter­mine that he posed an immi­nent threat of fur­ther abuse.  The Ore­gon courts have looked to evi­dence of repeat­ed behav­ior and post-sep­a­ra­tion behav­ior to deter­mine whether a respon­dent pos­es an immi­nent threat of fur­ther abuse against a restrain­ing order peti­tion­er.  This case fur­ther stands for the prospect that all recip­i­ents of a FAPA restrain­ing order must com­ply with the tem­po­rary order to avoid con­tempt charges and to avoid pro­vid­ing fur­ther evi­dence of the need for a restrain­ing order.

Oregon Allows Sealing of Eviction Records

A new Ore­gon law, effec­tive Jan­u­ary 1, 2020, allows a ten­ant in Ore­gon to request that an evic­tion case be set aside and the record sealed.

Why Seal a Record?

The seal­ing of the record and set­ting aside of a judg­ment means that ten­ants would not be required to dis­close a pri­or evic­tion mat­ter to future prospec­tive land­lords.  Future prospec­tive land­lords would also not be able to search for and find those records.

When Can the Record Be Sealed?

If a judg­ment of resti­tu­tion is entered against the per­son apply­ing for the judg­ment to be set aside and record sealed, the appli­cant must have sat­is­fied any mon­ey award in the judg­ment and five years must have passed.

If the case was dis­missed with­out a judg­ment of resti­tu­tion and the ten­ant com­plied with any agree­ments made in that case with the land­lord, there is no wait­ing period.

What is the Filing Fee?

There is no fil­ing fee for a motion to set aside an evic­tion judg­ment and seal the record.

How Can You Get Started?

Our attor­neys at The Bridge Law Firm stand ready to help ten­ants clean their civ­il records of pri­or old or dis­missed evic­tion cas­es.  Con­tact us to begin the process.

 

Lack of Address in Move Notice Invalidates Eviction

Crown Prop­er­ty Man­age­ment, Inc. v. Cot­ting­ham, 299 Or App 553 (2019), is a case that reaf­firms the very tech­ni­cal nature of some of the require­ments of being a land­lord in Ore­gon.  In this case, the land­lord had the prop­er lan­guage in the rental agree­ment to allow the ser­vice of notices (such as an ter­mi­na­tion of ten­an­cy notice) to be done by “nail and mail” – a process of post­ing the notice to the door of the rental unit and mail­ing a copy to the res­i­den­tial rental address.  These require­ments include stat­ing in the rental agree­ment a place for the ten­ant to use “nail and mail” to serve notices to the land­lord.  The land­lord moved offices and pro­vid­ed a notice to all the ten­ants telling them that they could find the office at a cer­tain build­ing.  Even though the ten­ant agreed that he knew where the new office was, the fact that the notice failed to con­tain an updat­ed mail­ing address for the land­lord, the Court found that the ten­ant was unable to take advan­tage of “nail and mail” ser­vice.  Because the ten­ant was not afford­ed “nail and mail,” the land­lord could not use it either.  The ben­e­fit of “nail and mail” is that it allows notices to be deliv­ered in a man­ner that avoid an oth­er­wise addi­tion of three days to any notice peri­od on mail ser­vice (72 hour notices become 72 hour plus 3 days).  Because then the landlord’s notice did not pro­vide the ten­ant with as much time as is required by law, the notice was defec­tive.  This meant that the evic­tion was not based on a valid notice.  There­fore, the ten­ant could not be evict­ed and the land­lord was sub­ject to an attor­ney fee request by the pre­vail­ing tenant.

Senate Bill 608 – Some Lasting Effects of Rent Control

What is Senate Bill 608?

The new Ore­gon rent con­trol law will like­ly have a mul­ti­tude of effects.  The main like­ly effects will be to pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble ten­ants, reduce the prof­itabil­i­ty for cer­tain rental units, and increase lit­i­ga­tion sur­round­ing evic­tions.  The leg­is­la­ture, in find­ing that quick increas­es in the rental mar­ket were caus­ing addi­tion­al issues in the hous­ing mar­ket, decid­ed to put a cap on increas­es in rent with­in a 12 month peri­od.  The allowed increase is 7% over an infla­tion num­ber gen­er­at­ed for prod­ucts on the West Coast in the fall on a year­ly basis.

What does Senate Bill 608 Mean for Portland Tenants?

In order to keep land­lords from being able to sim­ply evict a ten­ant and raise the rent on a new ten­ant, the leg­is­la­ture end­ed the abil­i­ty for land­lords to ter­mi­nate ten­an­cies for no rea­son or cause.

What does Senate Bill 608 Mean for Portland Landlords?

While this pro­tects ten­ants and the val­ue of their lease­holds, it also means that land­lords who have prob­lem ten­ants – ten­ants who can­not get along with oth­er ten­ants, cause con­tin­u­ing minor dis­tur­bances, etc. – can­not just no-cause evict them.  Land­lords will have to either make a deal with such ten­ants to leave or be pre­pared to show that there has been a mate­r­i­al vio­la­tion of the rental agree­ment or oth­er ten­ant duties.  Also, cer­tain prop­er­ties will have big­ger issues with get­ting brought into com­pli­ance with hab­it­abil­i­ty standards.

For any land­lord who has a derelict prop­er­ty and has been get­ting by on accept­ing low rents, there is a real risk of being on the hook to make repairs that cost more than any rental income while also being unable to end the ten­an­cies for the derelict building.

How Can The Bridge Law Firm Help with Senate Bill 608 Issues?

If you are a Port­land, Ore­gon Land­lord or Ten­ant affect­ed by Sen­ate Bill 608, The Bridge Law Firm can help you assess your sit­u­a­tion and advise you on your best options.

If you are a Portland, Oregon Landlord or Tenant affected by Senate Bill 608

Con­tact us to help you assess your options.

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