Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Oregon

Hi, I'm wondering if I have the right to break a lease if I live in a "hostile" environment? My boyfriend and I recently made a complaint against the next door neighbor because of her loud noise and nocturnal schedule. A couple nights later, my boyfriend's soft-top jeep had been completely vandalized. We made a police report and when we told our property manager, she completely agreed that all fingers pointed at the next door neighbor. However, she told us that we couldn't break our lease (even though it was completely justified), because she claimed that she "was not responsible for our safety". I've talked to a few people about this and they say that property management is responsible up to a point, especially since they are renting to people who create this hostile environment, AND because this person is our next door neighbor, who we share the staircase with. So basically there is no way to get out of this situation except to break our lease and move, which is something we had wanted to do months ago when we were having other problems with this same woman who has been the property manager for almost a year. What is your take of this situation? Thank you.

Asked on 11/05/09, 6:23 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Steven Parker Steven Parker Law Office
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If the hostile environment rises to such a level that your apartment is not habitable then you probably will be successful in breaking your lease. If you do so, you need to give notice that you are vacating the premises and explain exactly why you are doing so. I you fear for your personal safety and that fear is reasonable under the circumstances, you will succeed against any claim for further rent. You need to document everything and basically explain in writing that you can not tolerate living there any further. You need to give notice that you are moving and then move out when you say you will. You need to try to come to an agreement with the property manager about the issue before you decide to move. Good Luck.

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11/10/09, 6:35 pm

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