Wrongful eviction can have big consequences in Oregon.

Wrongful eviction mistakes can result in tenants suing for damages. They may get to remain on the property, while illegal eviction could result in your removal from the estate. Need to evict from a property in an estate? Here’s what not to do and what to be aware of.

Damages and wrongful eviction

Oregon law lays out strict procedures for what constitutes a legal eviction. Property owners also must adhere to limitations on rent increases, disposal of personal property, serving an eviction notice, and more.

If property owners or landlords fail to comply with Oregon’s legal requirements, the illegal conviction can result in a wrongful eviction settlement, with monetary damages paid to the tenant. If the wrongful eviction claim is successful, the eviction may also be invalid, and the tenant or occupant may not even have to leave the property.

Wrongful eviction could result in your removal from estate

Under certain conditions, a false eviction could be grounds for a probate court to remove you from the estate, either in part or altogether.

Destitute relatives may occupy the property rent-free for up to one year

If a family member currently lives at the property, then they have the right to remain. That right to remain is in force even while the real estate in question goes through probate or changes hands to a beneficiary.

Under Oregon law there can—in some, very limited, circumstances—be a legal path to evict a destitute relative. However, a family member already living on the premises has the right to live in the property for up to one year. They may also be legally exempt from having to pay any rent.

Surviving children and spouse have an automatic right to occupy a property for a year

More narrowly, surviving dependent children and/or a surviving spouse also have the right to occupy the property for up to a year. They also don’t have to take any steps to legally enact this right. The right to occupy the property is automatic under Oregon law.

This specific right to occupy also supersedes an estate representative’s right to claim possession of property assets that are part of the estate. In certain cases, Oregon law does allow alterations or waivers to this one-year occupancy right.

Failing to give notice the right way is illegal

Failure to serve an eviction notice, or failure to serve notice correctly, is illegal. It could also be grounds for a wrongful eviction claim. Eviction notices can only be legally served in certain manners (such as in writing, not orally) and within certain timeframes. Notice requirements may also vary depending on the nature of any written lease agreement.

Procedures may also vary county to county. It’s useful to talk with your attorney and the local court to check what steps you’ll need to follow.

Locking out a tenant, changing locks, or shutting off utilities is against the law

Removing a tenant’s access to a property can seem as simple as changing the locks while they’re out, or shutting off the utilities.

Taking such actions is also against Oregon law. It could result in the tenant filing a wrongful eviction claim.

To evict unlawful tenants, you’ll need to take legal action in probate court

When the rental property in question is part of a deceased person’s estate, the legal procedures also vary slightly. File eviction actions in the county where the property is located. The relevant probate court takes up matters related to the personal representative’s rights and obligations.

If an estate property eviction is approved, you do not carry it out

A tenant can be legally evicted from an estate property. If the court where the property is located approves eviction, it is not you who may remove the evicted tenant. Only the county sheriff department is responsible for carrying out a lawful eviction. If you attempt to evict the tenant, it could nullify the eviction.

Avoid wrongful eviction

An illegal eviction can have big negative consequences for you and the overall estate. It is possible to legally evict a tenant from a property that’s part of an estate. However, the limitations and legal factors at play can be complicated.

Are you trying to figure out how to handle an occupant of a property that’s part of an estate?

Image: FreeImages.com/Jason Morrison