Phil Querin Q&A: Large Tree Damaging Sewer Lines

Question. I read some articles that MHCO published about trees, but am still seeking a little clarification about tree roots. Our situation is this: A long term resident has a very large tree on their space.  I don't believe the tree was planted by them or their family. It is not a hazardous tree but does have a DBH of more than 8". The tenant recently reported a blockage with the sewer lateral on their space (not the main park line).  We hired a company to clear the blockage which was tree roots.  Is the park owner or the resident responsible for tree roots growing underground that affect a resident’s plumbing? Is the resident’s sewer lateral (and other underground utilities for that matter) considered their personal property and the repair or upkeep to keep roots clear the park owners responsibility?  Any clarification you can provide is much appreciated. 



Phil Querin Q&A: Push Back from Resident on Interior and Exterior Inspection of Home

Question.  I am getting push back from a resident in our Park who says that I cannot enforce Section 8 in MHCO Form No 11 (Ten Day Notice of Intent to Sell Manufactured Home) relating to the requirement that the selling resident must provide us with a “….copy of a current written inspection report from an Oregon-certified and licensed home inspector, verifying that as of the date of the inspection:

  • the dwelling, including, but not limited to all heating, cooling, and electrical systems and all appliances located therein, are safe from the hazards of fire;
  • the dwelling has a smoke alarm approved under applicable law;
  • the dwelling has operable storm water drains on the roof;
  • all electrical, water, storm water drainage and sewage disposal systems in, on, or about the dwelling, are in operable and safe condition, and that the connections to those systems have been maintained, and
  • that any modifications to the home or its heating, cooling or electrical systems comply with all local, state and federal codes and regulations in existence at the time of the modification.”


Section 8 also provides that “The cost of this inspection shall be the responsibility of the TENANT, but may be negotiated with the prospective purchaser as part of the sale transaction.”



Phil Querin Q&A - A Potpourri of Topics - Tips and Traps



Pet Issues. 


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. 



Phil Querin Q&A: Landlord Liability For Acts Of God?


Question.  Our park is on a well water. A few weeks ago, several homes had their pipes underneath their homes burst, leaving no pressure for water to deliver to the other homes in the community. The park was out of water for 6 days. A tenant in the park has told my onsite manager that he will deduct $15 a day from the rent. I told my manager not to accept his rent fearing that I will waive my rights to collect full rent which I feel that the park is entitled to. I have further instructed my manager to charge a late fee on the 6th day of the month, and then issue a 72 hour notice.


It is my belief that what occurred was not the fault of the park. I cannot allow this to occur, because every other tenant will then think that they can withhold rent when minor incidents happen. The tenant remains firm in his stance. I see my only avenue here is to file an eviction. Any suggestions?



Phil Querin Q&A - Resident Sales in Community – Tips for Management


Question:  When residents want to place their home on the market, we tell them we have a preferred real estate agent we want them to use.  Some residents oppose this and want to use their own agent they’ve already been working with.  How can we resolve this?  Also, is it permissible for us to insist that if they use their agent, we receive a portion of the commission at closing?  We have a similar arrangement with our preferred agent, and it’s worked out quite well. 



Mark Busch: Portland Doubles Down Against Landlords

The City of Portland upped its economic attack on the city’s landlords last week by passing a “tenant relocation assistance” ordinance. The ordinance requires landlords in the City of Portland to pay relocation expenses to tenants evicted for no-cause, or tenants forced to relocate if a landlord raises rent 10% or more within a 12-month period. This is on top of a city ordinance passed in 2015 requiring 90-day rent increase notices (which is now also state law) and 90-day no-cause eviction notices.