Mark Busch Q&A: RVs: Can I Rent to RVers

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September 16, 2014

Question:  We have RV spaces at the front of our  mobile home park on a well-traveled highway near the coast.  We have been renting only to long-term RV’ers, but want to expand our business opportunities to include overnighters.  Is that permissible and how do we do that?

 

Answer:

It is permissible to rent to overnighters, but there are some important differences that you must keep in mind when you do.

The first and most important difference is that overnighters are not considered “tenants” under Oregon law if the landlord follows Oregon’s “vacation occupancy” requirements.  The requirements are: (1)  The “guest” is only staying for vacation purposes, not as a residence; (2) the guest has a principle residence other than at the park; and, (3) the guest’s stay cannot exceed 45 days.  (Hint:  Make a copy of each guest’s driver’s license to keep on file to prove that they have a permanent residence elsewhere.)  If you ensure that the “guest” meets these requirements, they do not have the rights or remedies that RV tenants have under Oregon law.

If you follow these requirements, you do not have to file an eviction case if the guest fails to vacate or fails to pay.  You can simply ask that they immediately leave or have the sheriff remove them.  You should not have to worry about any “tenancy” complaints or threats of habitability claims, etc.

The caveat is that some sheriff officers won’t make an overnighter leave, telling the park owner that it is a “civil eviction matter.”  There are two main ways to avoid this problem.  The first is to maintain a good relationship with your local police officers.   A little bit of good will can go a long way towards gaining their cooperation with this type of problem.  The second thing to do is make sure you have the “guest” sign a short term RV registration agreement that acknowledges his or her status as non-tenants.

An RV registration agreement should list Oregon’s vacation occupancy requirements mentioned above.  (My office or a knowledgeable attorney can easily draft a registration agreement for this purpose.)  It should also contain a specific acknowledgment that the guests are not “tenants” and can be immediately removed at any time.  Showing a sheriff this acknowledgment – signed by the overnighter – should make it much easier to have the sheriff show the RV’er the front gate, if necessary.

One caveat on renting RV spaces to overnighters is that Oregon law requires that bathroom facilities be provided to vacation campers.  If your park doesn’t have bathrooms available, you should not rent to overnighters.  However, depending on the circumstances, you may be able to meet this requirement with portable facilities, although always check with an attorney before making that decision. 

Mark L. Busch, P.C.

Attorney at Law

Cornell West, Suite 200

1500 NW Bethany Blvd.

Beaverton, Oregon 97006

Ph: 503-597-1309

Fax: 503-430-7593

Web: www.marklbusch.com

Email: mark@marklbusch.com

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