Mark Busch Q&A: Abandoned Recreational Vehicle

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February 18, 2016
Mark Busch
Attorney
Mark Busch P.C.

Question: A mobile home park has a separate RV section.  One long-time RV resident recently moved out because of illness, but left behind his RV, which is old and in poor condition.  Does the park need to file an eviction action to clear out the space for a new tenant?  What can the park do with the RV itself?

Answer: So long as the park reasonably believes under all the circumstances that the tenant has left behind the RV with no intention of asserting any further claim to it, the park does not need to file an eviction action.  Instead, the park can treat the RV as abandoned property and issue an abandoned property notice.

The abandonment process for RVs is similar to that for abandoned mobile homes.  Under ORS 90.425, the park must issue an abandonment notice for the RV.  The notice must state that:  (a) The RV and any other property left behind is considered abandoned;  (b) The tenant or any lienholder or owner must contact the landlord within 45 days to arrange for the removal of the RV;  (c) The RV is stored at a place of safekeeping; (d) The tenant or any lienholder or owner may arrange for removal of the RV by contacting the landlord at a described telephone number or address on or before the specified date;     (e) The landlord will make the RV available for removal by appointment at reasonable times;  (f) The landlord may require payment of removal and storage charges; (g) If the tenant or any lienholder or owner fails to contact the landlord by the specified date, or after that contact, fails to remove the RV within 30 days, the landlord may sell or dispose of the RV; and, (h) If there is a lienholder or other owner of the RV, they have a right to claim it.

The park must send the notice to the tenant’s park address and any other known address for the tenant.  The park must also conduct a title search on the RV and send the notice to any listed lienholder or other owners.  The notice must be sent by regular first class mail, except that lienholders must also be sent the notice by certified mail.

The good news is that after the park issues the abandonment notice, the RV itself can be removed from the rented space to open it up for a new RV tenant.  The abandoned RV simply has to be stored in a “place of safekeeping,” such as an on-site storage lot.

 

Finally, if the RV remains unclaimed after the 45-day period, the park can either throw away or give away the RV if the park estimates that the current fair market value is $1,000 or less, or so low that the cost of storage and conducting an auction probably exceeds the amount that could be realized from a sale.  If the estimated value is more than $1,000, the park must hold an abandonment auction using the procedures described by the abandonment statute.  (As usual, retain experienced legal counsel if unfamiliar with the abandonment process and procedures.)

 

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