I have a restraining order against my ex husband. I told my appartments I needed to move and gave notice. The property manager tells me he is not going to let me out of my lease until their legal department looks it over. The problem is I need out now. I am in danger. But I can not afford the $1000 they want to charge me. What can I do to get him to act for my safety and for the kids?
I do not know whether it applies to your situation, but you can be let out of your lease upon a 14 days notice based on your status as a victim of domestic violence, as defined by ORS 90.100. There is a form you can fill out at 90.453 subsection 3. See the link below.
If that does not apply to you, then the other attorneys are probably right, your remedy is to pay the lease termination fee or give 30 days notice if on a month-to-month lease. A lease termination fee is limited to 1.5x rent.
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Family Law Attorney
A restraining order is a court's order in a lawsuit that you filed against your ex-husband. It cannot bind the rights of any third parties, including the landlord. So yes, the presence of a restraining order doesn't excuse breaking a lease, and the manager can charge a fee for your doing so, as long as it's otherwise legal. The point of the restraining order is to protect you against your ex-husband, so it's not clear where this urgency comes from.
(Granted, a restraining order is of limited use in deterring someone who's dead-set on harming you. After all, it's already illegal to harm you; all the restraining order does is make it illegal to approach you. Someone not deterred by the illegal nature of an assault won't be deterred by the lesser criminal consequences of violating a restraining order. If it's beginning to seem like a restraining order isn't much protection, well, I'm afraid that's because it isn't. The law isn't very good at pre-emptively stopping people from doing illegal things.)
I don't want to leave you hanging. There are resources available for people in this situation. I suggest you check out the Gateway Center (online at http://www.portlandonline.com/gatewaycenter/ ). They may be able to give you a grant that you can use to pay the necessary fees for moving.
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1 lawyer agrees
Family Law Attorney
I would just add that if you feel that you are in such danger that you must leave right now, then do what you need to do to protect your family. You are the only one who knows how imminent the threat is, and it is better to owe some money to your landlord than to be dead or seriously injured. I understand that you are worried about the money, and you should be, but worry about the money later (especially if the landlord won't be taking that $1000 from your deposit).
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