Retaliatory Eviction

I’ve had it with the cats.  I cannot stay under the same roof with cats who will deceive me into signing a release under fraudulent pretenses.   I have given them notice to vacate. They forwarded the notice to their San Francisco attorneys, who had just returned from a convention in New Orleans. Two weeks later I receive a six page letter from the cats’ attorneys denying that the cats engaged in any fraudulent conduct and threatening to sue me for retaliatory eviction under the Oregon Uniform Landlord and Tenant Act.  The cats’ attorneys assert that my notice to vacate is in retaliation for the cats’ complaint that they were forced to live in uninhabitable premises with their litter box not cleaned for two days in a row and their unfinished cat food left in their bowls until it smelled.

These claims have nothing to do with my notice to vacate, but the letter from their attorneys at least explains the anonymous complaint to the ASPCA that I spent two months defending last fall.

I look up the Oregon Uniform Landlord-Tenant Act, and, sure enough, if the cats can show that my evicting them is in retaliation for their complaint about uninhabitable premises, the cats will have the right to recover damages and attorney fees from me.

After calming down, I assess the situation and realize that although the cats’ claim against me for retaliatory eviction is totally false, it  would be costly to defend, and the outcome of any litigation is uncertain, so I decide to withdraw my notice to vacate.  The cats agree to sign a release of their claim against me as part of a mutual release of all claims, including my claim against them for their misuse of my credit card in Mexico.  I agree to their terms.  The cats’ San Francisco attorneys have left for a three week cruise of the Mediterranean so the settlement documents take time to process, but, in the end, the cats and I make peace, once again.

Allen Drescher has practiced law in Ashland and Southern Oregon since 1973.  His practice areas include real estate, business law, estate planning and elder law.

© Allen Drescher