Important Provisions To Consider In Your Rules and Regulations

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December 8, 2014
Manufactured Housing Communities of Oregon

Community Rules and Regulations along with your rental agreement are critical for the successful operation and management of your manufactured home community.  Here are some provisions that should be part of your community rules.  Remember, good rules are the first step in maintaining an orderly relationship with your residents.  You must also apply and enforce the rules consistently and fairly.

Here are some suggestions:

 

  1. Manufactured Home Set-Up
  1. Include provisions limiting owner’s responsibility for such conditions as soils, site preparation, foundation stability, final grading, and settling.
  2. Include provision that homeowner has examined the home site and accepts the condition, “as-is.”

 

  1. Manufactured Home Removal

Include a provision notifying resident that they will be held liable for any damage to the home site or manufactured community in the event there is any damage during removal of the home.

 

  1. Manufactured Home Standards

Include provisions addressing the following items pertaining to the manufactured home itself:

  1. Description of the home and all other structures and accessories that will be sited on the home site.
  2. Age, make and model of home.
  3. Installation of skirting, gutters and downspouts (within prescribed period of time).
  4. Awnings, decks and patios (within prescribed period of time).
  5. Above ground piping.
  6. Landscaping (Within prescribed period of time).
  7. Will fences be allowed, and if so, what height, material and color?  Who’s responsibility will it be to maintain?

 

  1. Maintenance of Home and Home Site.
  1. Add provision making resident responsible for maintaining and keeping the exterior of the home clean and in good repair.  Require painting or staining of all wooden structures such as decks, hand railings, storage buildings etc. to prevent their visual and/or physical deterioration.
  2. Make resident responsible for maintaining all lawn areas, flowers and shrubbery within their space (e.g. regular mowing and weeding of lawns).
  1. Can/should owner reserve the right to perform or have performed landscape maintenance which resident fails to perform?
  1. Who owns the landscaping improvements upon termination of tenancy?  Address exceptions.  Have in writing.
  2. Storage of personal property (e.g. firewood, toys, tools, patio furniture, garbage cans, etc.)
  3. Clothes lines or clothes line poles.
  4. Play equipment, its location and visibility.

 

  1. Homeowners and Guests
  1. Limit amount of rent to the persons identified in the rental agreement.  Require that any additional residents must be approved by the owner prior to move-in, and an additional monthly amount paid as rent.
  2. Limit the total number of permanent residents in any home (rule of thumb 2 persons/bedroom plus one).
  3. Make resident responsible for the actions of other occupants of the home, its guests, licensees and invitees.
  4. Will there be a limitation on conducting business out of the home?
  5. Limitations on “obnoxious or offensive activities which owner believes are an annoyance or nuisance to the community.”
  6. How long may guests remain in community?  Consider placing limit (e’g’ 14 days consecutively or cumulatively) after which time they must be qualified as a resident.
  7. Have prohibitions against unreasonably loud or disturbing noise through parties, radios, televisions, stereo equipment, etc. and include a time.  (e.g. 10:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m.

 

  1. Subletting
  1. Will subletting of a home be permitted or must they be owner occupied?
  2. Require approval of house sitters for any extended period of time (e.g. in excess of 30 days) prior to occupancy.

 

  1. Sale of Manufactured Home
  1. Require that prospective resident-purchasers submit an application for residency and be approved by owner prior to occupancy.  See ORS 90.680.
  2. Size and location of “For Sale” signs.

 

  1. Utilities
  1. How are electrical, garbage, sewer and water services going to be paid?
  1. ORS 90.510 permits direct pass through, but only if the rental agreement specifically provides the right to do so.
  2. Problem:  How do you “convert” from including utilities in base rent to direct pass-throughs?
  3. Who pays for T.V. cable service? Can owner contract with provider, and add on an extra charge?
  1. Pets
  1. Place limits on control, sanitation, number, type and size of pets.  Note ORS 90.530
  2. May require that pet agreement be signed and proof of liability insurance making landlord co-insured.

 

  1. Common Areas
  1. Limit use and address owner’s liability (e.g. streets shall not be used as playgrounds by resident or guests.  Sidewalks are not meant for use by bicycles, skateboards, tricycles, etc.)
  2. Require resident to assume liability for their guests and invitees.
  3. If there are recreation facilities, describe them and place limitations on their use.
  1. If there is a clubhouse, describe how it may be used.  Consider requiring pre-registration for use; strictly limit or prohibit the use of alcohol; limit use of guests without resident present.
  2. Note: can require reasonable cleaning deposit; cannot require bond or insurance; cannot prohibit tenant association meetings there.

 

 

 

 

  1. Automobiles and Motorized Vehicles

 

  1. Strictly limit the dumping of motor oils and other caustic or non-biodegradable substance in street drains, sewer systems or the grounds within the community.
  2. Place limitations on car repair and storage of inoperable cars.
  3. Limit the number of vehicles and location of parking.  Be careful about towing violators.
  4. Place limits on the parking of commercial vehicles in the community.
  5. Limit overnight parking on streets by guests or homeowners
  6. Limit speed and vehicle noise within the community.
  7. Limit storage of motor homes, campers, trailers, boats, snowmobiles, etc. on residents’ space.
  8. Limit use of motorcycles and ATV’s within the community.

 

  1. Occupancy Guidelines (ORS 90.510(7))
  1. Statute provides that “if adopted, an occupancy guideline in a facility shall be based upon reasonable factors and shall not be more restrictive than limiting occupancy to two people per bedroom.
  2. Reasonable factors are defined to include (but not necessarily be limited to):
  1. The size of the dwelling.
  2. The size of the rented space.
  3. Any discriminatory impact for reasons identified.
  4. Limitation placed on water or sewage disposal.

 

  1. Dispute resolution (ORS 90.610)
  1. What is dispute resolution?

It is an alternative to court litigation and most frequently includes mediation and arbitration.

  1. Mediation – non binding dispute resolution
  2. Arbitration – binding dispute resolution
  3. ORS 90.610(1) states that resident and owner “…shall provide for a process establishing informal dispute resolution of disputes that may arise concerning the rental agreement for a manufactured dwelling.”
  4. Parties to dispute resolution – Resident vs. owner disputes (not resident vs. resident disputes).
  5. Types of disputes:
  1. Should be limited to rules violations (as opposed to rental agreement issues such as rent).
  2. Exceptions:
  1. Statutory (Facility closure, facility sale, rent including but not limited to amount, increase and nonpayment) ORS 90.610(7).
  2. Charges and fees due under the rental agreement.
  3. Matters for which a non-curable notice could be issued (e.g. 24-hour notice; 3-strikes notice; 20-day repeat violation notice).
  4. Approval of new residents purchasing home in park.
  5. Lease renewal.
  1. Query: What about claims (generally arising against the landlord) such as tort claims (e.g. personal injury, trespass, fraud, misrepresentation, Unlawful Trade Practice claims, Fair Housing claims, etc.)?  Any such clause must be in writing and signed.

 

  1. Miscellaneous
  1. Address the services and facilities you do not provide.
  1. For example, security patrol or security systems – encourage residents to exercise reasonable diligence and caution in securing their homes.  Ask that if they observe any suspicious or illegal acts to notify the manager and/or the police department.
  2. If there are dimly lighted and/or dark areas within the community, say so, and ask that the resident agree to carry a portable light source when walking at night.
  1. Include a non discrimination provision.
  1. For example, a recital that the owner will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, marital status, familial status, religion, national origin, or handicap, etc.
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