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Lawyers or Landlords: Who Does the Public Hate More?

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By George Khoury, Esq. on June 28, 2018 6:57 AM

Lawyers may have found a new hero, and the Portland public may want to take a tip from this unlikely protagonist, who got sued by his landlord after she realized she signed a contract that heavily favored her tenant.

The true story, courtesy of the wacky Northwest rental market in Portland, pits two of the public's least favorite stereotypical small business persons against each other: a lawyer and a landlord. And while most of the coverage seems to be sympathetic to the landlord that filed the case, as lawyers, we can't help but see through the anti-lawyer reporting.

Bad Deal Landlord

The scant details of the case are as follows:

Attorney Kevin Preston wanted to rent a house in Portland. A former client of his had a house to rent. That former client's property management company put a lease in front of Preston, and he said the lease was no good (probably because most property management company leases are hot garbage that flaunt conscionability and rely on severability to basically push around renters). Preston drafted a lease himself, then put it in front of the landlord, who signed it. And when the market boomed, the landlord, seeking to capitalize on the swell, reviewed the terms of the lease to find that Preston had made sure his interests in the rental were well protected.

Preston provided in the lease that he had the option to renew every year on the exact same terms, including the thanks-to-the-exploding-rental-market-in-Portland, extraordinarily low rent. However, perhaps the most burning question on most attorneys' minds: Did Preston include an attorney fees clause?

The landlord is seeking to cancel the agreement via her lawsuit.

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