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Ask Maverick Your Own Question
Maverick, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 6391
Experience:  20 years experience as a civil trial and appellate lawyer
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I know a person who has a physically abusive roommate. This

Customer Question

I know a person who has a physically abusive roommate. This person feels unsafe and needs to leave, but has signed a lease with 4 months remaining on the agreement. This person lives in Portland, Oregon. I have researched OR laws regarding this, but it is not clear to me whether it covers roommates or only family members/intimately involved partners/former partners. Chapter 90.453 allows victims of domestic abuse to be relieved of their lease agreements, provided they give 14 days notice and proper documentation. Domestic violence is defined in 90.100(10). The definition refers to 107.705-735. The definition outlined here is not clear to me whether roommates would be covered. If they are not, is there another legal means available for this person to break their lease?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Maverick replied 11 months ago.

Based on what you have stated it does not appear that the roommate are qualify as "family" or "household members" as per these 6 definitions.


(b)Former spouses.

(c)Adult persons related by blood, marriage or adoption.

(d)Persons who are cohabiting or who have cohabited with each other.

(e)Persons who have been involved in a sexually intimate relationship with each other within two years immediately preceding the filing by one of them of a petition under ORS107.710

(f)Unmarried parents of a child.

Unless the landlord is somehow responsible for contributing to the abuse, there is not a way to break the lease without consequence here. The landlord does not generally have a duty to protect roommates from each other. So, the best course of action here may be to obtain a restraining order against the physically abusive roommate which may cause that roommate to have to move out due to a geographic restriction placed in the order such as the abusive roommate must at all times maintain a 150 foot distance from the abused roommate.