Oregon

Mobile Homes and Recreational Vehicles: Title Issues

 

                  The objective of most mobile home and recreational vehicle park owners is to earn money.  However, certain things, when not done diligently, can cost park owners and operators money. Title issues may not seem like a “sexy” issue or concern, but title problems can impact park operations. While parks are not in the business of “monitoring” title, there are at least three scenarios as outlined below that can impede the park’s business if neglected. First, it is important to follow through on the transferring of title of a mobile home sold by a resident or third party to the mobile home park or vice versa. Similarly, the park needs to ensure that title is properly perfected in any sales within the park from an existing resident to a new resident. Finally, with respect to recreational vehicles specifically, it can be actual to obtain title paperwork before allowing such a recreational vehicle to remain in the park for an extended period of time.

                 

Generic MHC Rules and Regulations

Over the years many MHCO members have asked for a generic set of rules and regulations.  Attached is a copy of a generic set for your review.  Please be advised that any changes to  existing rules will require following a process outlined in statute (ORS 90.610) for residents currently living in your community.  MHCO has developed FORM 60 to use when changing your rules and regulations.  Your community rules are for you to develop and implement.

Park Improvement Tips

 

 

The first key to successful park operations is perhaps self-evident: human resources. In simple terms, successful park operations depend on the people that your customers (park residents) interact with on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Taking the time to recruit personnel who are personable and help your operations run smoothly and efficiently is time-consuming. Effective and consistent recruiting take place both internally and externally. The watchword from industry experts is to “be slow to hire and fast to fire”. That means take your time in interviewing and do background checks to be sure you have the person who will both enjoy the job and do the job properly. Mistakes in hiring are costly. Training takes time and money. If you’ve made a mistake, admit it and quickly terminate the relationship before it gets worse.

 

 

Phil Querin Q&A: Issuance of Form 55 to Repaint Home

 

Question:   We issued a 30-60 day notice to a tenant to paint their home. Every tenant was sent a letter along with the notice requiring them to get prior approval for the paint color. This tenant did not get prior approval and painted his house a color that is too bright.

 

We have reached out to him several times requesting he come and discuss this with us and he has not responded. Extensions were given to August 31, 2018 for everyone who received a notice to paint, due to the extreme heat we had this summer. Some tenants have requested additional time and we have written agreements with them giving an additional 30 days until Sept 30, 2018.

 

We are making a final request to the uncooperative tenant to come to the office and talk with us. My question is would we be able to proceed under the 30-60 day disrepair notice, or do we start a new 30 day notice? He did paint like we asked him, but it was not a color approved by management.

 

 

Phil Querin Q&A: Good Resident - Bad Family

 

Question:   An existing resident who has been a good tenant in the past has currently had a life change that has resulted in multiple family members visiting daily, every week. Many of the visiting relatives appear to be associated with bad actors, e.g. drug dealers, etc., although much is hearsay.  The visiting relatives are not living in the house.  What steps can I take to get the unwanted guests off the property once and for all?

 

Phil Querin Q&A: Issuing Trespass Notices To Community Visitors

Question:  A former resident who was a major problem while living here, voluntarily left the community and removed his home. However, he continues to visit the community and neighbors. This person has been seen on his old space (currently vacant and not in his possession) and also visiting existing tenants’ spaces. Can I trespass this person from the community? If so, what grounds do I need to trespass someone?

 

Portland City Council to Consider Limits on Security Deposits and Screening Criteria/Background Checks

 

By Gordon R. Friedman – The Oregonian/OregonLive

Published 8-20-18

The Portland City Council will soon consider an ordinance to cap what landlords can charge for security deposits and limit how they may use renters' credit and criminal conviction history to deny them tenancy.

"Screening criteria and security deposit reform" will be the subject of an upcoming council agenda item, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly wrote in an August 14 post to her Facebook page. The ordinance is scheduled for a hearing September 20, said Eudaly spokeswoman Margaux Weeke.

To Train or Not to Train? This shouldn’t even be a question.

 

In my many years as a rental housing professional, I have discovered that there are two camps with differing philosophies regarding continuing industry training.  The first camp seeks out training with the belief that it is valuable and beneficial; not only for the employee, but the organization as well.  The second camp believes that training is a waste of time and resources and avoids it.

Unfortunately, the second camp seems to be in the majority.  While most Directors, Vice Presidents, and Regional Managers fall into the first group, they often work for a member of the second group.

Costs vs. Benefits of Training

Training costs are directly measurable.  For example, sending an employee through an association sponsored training program will incur tuition costs, possible travel, and time away from their site.  Let’s not forget the employee’s wages while attending the course.  And, perhaps overtime or additional work load burdens for the other employees. Having a trainer come to your organization will also incur costs.  The speaker will have a fee as well as material costs.  Bringing everyone together will cost mileage dollars and refreshments.  Not to mention closing the offices down for a few hours and the possibility of missing that cherished rental/sales opportunity.

There is no question that training can be expensive.  But with proper planning and budgeting, the cost can be reduced.  The real question to ask is “What is the cost of liability if the team is NOT receiving training?”

The benefits of training are easily measureable.  For example, I have numerous clients tell me that leases increased the same afternoon as a morning leasing session, or the closing ratios improve dramatically.  Customer complaints decrease after training, and employees tend to be more cautious about Fair Housing once they have proper understanding of the laws and guidelines.  The right training can increase an employee’s motivation and enthusiasm. Continued, regular training will increase productivity, team morale, self-confidence, sense of importance, and communication skills amongst your team.  Training should be viewed as a reward for continued employee loyalty.  If training is marketed correctly as an investment in the employees, your team will be excited to attend and see this as an additional benefit to them.

Excuses for Avoiding Training

I have heard all the typical excuses for avoiding training.  Here are some examples and my particular spin on how to turn these negative attitudes into positive solutions.

“It’s too expensive”    Yes, it can be expensive. Or, it can be viewed as an investment into the future of your organization.   What is the cost of defending a Fair Housing law suit?  What is the cost of homes/spaces sitting vacant because your staff does not understand the concept pre-leasing? How much does your Worker’s Compensation insurance increase due to injuries that could have been avoided with proper training? What is the cost of defending a sexual harassment claim, or a wrongful termination?  Each one of these scenarios has the potential to cost your organization thousands and thousands of dollars.  Proper staff training can save you money due to increased knowledge and professionalism; not to mention decreased staff turnover.

“We don’t have time.”  I hear this often enough to wonder if trainers are the only ones who have time for training!  Property Management has its own monthly timeline that we all understand.  Training should be scheduled after rent week, not on Monday mornings, and not on the day of month end for accounting.  Yes we have renewals, inspections, move outs, move ins, bills to process, resident issues to address, and turnovers to complete.  But each of these tasks can be scheduled around training.   Try seeking input from your front-line team to determine the best time to schedule training. It is not okay to have our teams performing below standard or being assigned tasks that they do not fully understand.  Taking a little time to show them the correct procedures will make their time spent on the job much more productive and therefore saving precious time.   Not making time for training could prove to be costly to your organization.

“We can’t afford to have our team away from the property.”  Understandably, closing the office may not be realistic as no one wants to miss a potential sale/rental.  There are other options to employ; such as having two sessions in one day and alternating employees so the office remains open. Or, have staff participate in an on-line course or webinar.  Blended learning opportunities, (offering both live and on-line training) has proven to be very successful as employees get a global perspective of the topic.  

“Why do we need training when HR or a Manager can handle some teaching?” Your in-house experts are indeed valuable to your organization and they should be involved with training company policies and procedures.  But what if they have not been brought up to speed with new laws? Or what if their work load is too heavy to expand into training?  Even if you have an in-house trainer, sometimes the message needs to be heard from an outsider who is not entrenched with the various personalities and histories of employees.  A knowledgeable in-house trainer will know when to outsource some of the training.

“Training is a chore, and boring!”  Hire the right trainer!  It is difficult for rental housing professionals to relate to someone who has not actually worked in our field.  The most successful trainers are those who have paid their dues in the industry and have walked the same walk as their students.  The stories we tell, of both successes and failures, are the best way for students to completely understand this wonderful, crazy world of housing management.

So, To Train or Not?

Housing continues to grow in sophistication and complexity.  Our team members must continue to learn how to operate our communities with the newest ideas and technology.

Remember, the success of any property is a direct result of the competency of the front line team.  Training breeds competent professionals.  Competence improves performance

Whether you embrace it, tolerate it, deny it, or avoid it, regular consistent training is necessary in housing management.  It always has been and always will be.  I am still thankful to all the leaders I have worked with for investing in my career by exposing me to great training.  Bringing in the right trainer, or sending your employees to industry training, will have your employees feeling privileged and thankful too!

Angel Rogers has over 30 years of Property Management experience.  She has been teaching for various Apartment Associations for 15 years and has successfully launched her own training company, S.T.A.R. – Specialized Training by Angel Rogers.   She is dedicated to providing educational sessions that are motivational and create a fun learning environment.   Angel can be reached at (909)725-2700 or angel@angelrogers.com – check out her website: www.angelrogers.com