There is almost no greater issue that can create problems for landlords, than whether tenants can retain a pet they have brought into the community. How can owners and managers take control of the issue?
First, landlords should check their current rules and rental agreement. Although landlords who have previously permitted pets in the community, cannot retroactively prohibit them to tenants who already have pets living with them. Nor can they retroactively prohibit a type of pet that had previously been permitted. However, going forward, i.e. for new tenants, landlords should make sure that their rules place appropriate limitations on the size and type of pets that can be brought into the park. Rules should be drafted broadly to prohibit pets, e.g. breeds of dogs, that have a reputation for aggressiveness, or dogs of a particular size, or both.
Secondly, consistency is important. That is, landlords should be careful not to make exceptions or ignore violations of the pet rules. Otherwise, the landlord will be accused of either being arbitrary or “playing favorites.” Selective prosecution of tenants for violation of the pet rules does not play well with judges and juries.
Lastly, in all cases, landlords should make sure that their tenants sign pet agreements for their animals. Oregon law expressly permits this. The MHCO agreement follows the statutory guidelines and assures that the tenant has liability insurance coverage. It also permits landlords to assess fines for violations of the rules.