Mark Busch Q&A - What’s The Quickest Way to Get a Tenant Out of My RV Park?

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January 23, 2017
Mark Busch
Attorney
Mark Busch P.C.

 

Question:  I own a decent-sized RV park with quite a few long-term tenants living there, but with also a few seasonal guests and overnighters.  I have one tenant in particular who is constantly abrasive towards other tenants and guests (for example, walking thru the park and telling people that they need to fix their awnings, stack their firewood in a certain way, etc.).  He has no qualms about interjecting himself in other people’s conversations even when his input is clearly unwanted.  I have already lost several tenants and others have complained.  Before this person ruins my good park, how can I get rid of him quickly?

 

Answer:  You haven’t indicated whether this person is a long-term tenant or perhaps just a “vacation occupant.”  Under Oregon law, a “vacation occupant” is someone who: (1) Rents the RV space for vacation purposes only, not as a principal residence, (2) has a principal residence other than at the RV park, and (3) does not occupy the RV park for more than 45 days.  You would need to have these facts documented in some type of written agreement.  “Vacation occupants” are not “tenants” under Oregon law.  They can be asked to leave without any eviction proceedings and the sheriff can be called to assist if necessary.

Assuming this person is an actual “tenant” (weekly, monthly, or fixed-term), then in the hierarchy of the quickest ways to get him out is cash.  While this might sound counterintuitive to many landlords, I always advise my clients that it is sometimes far cheaper and quicker to get a tenant out by simply paying them to leave.  This tactic is most effective when done shortly after issuing an eviction notice to the tenant using a “carrot and stick” approach. If the tenant isn’t willing to settle by accepting a payment to leave, then you can rely on the eviction notice.

The type of eviction notice will depend on the type of tenancy.  Fixed-term tenants will require a for-cause notice (i.e., for breaking a park rule).  Weekly tenants can be given a 10-day, no-cause eviction notice. Monthly tenants can be evicted with a 30-day, no-cause notice during the first year of their tenancy.  After the first year, the no-cause notice to a monthly tenant would need to be a 60-day notice. (Caveat:  Portland and Milwaukie both have city ordinances requiring 90-day no-cause notices to all monthly tenants, regardless of how long they have been tenants.)

Also keep in mind that 72-hour rent nonpayment notices can be used if the tenant isn’t timely paying the rent. This is sometimes an effective and quick tool in getting a tenant out of the park as well.  Even if you’ve already issued a no-cause notice, you can still use a 72-hour notice in the meantime if the tenant decides to stop paying his rent.

If the tenant refuses to vacate by the deadline in whatever eviction notice you have used, then you will need to file an eviction case against him in your county’s circuit court.  That process can take anywhere from 3-6 weeks.  However, even during that period you can still use the settlement tool of a payment to have him leave if he is willing to accept.  You can point out to the tenant that if he is evicted by a court judgment, he may have a harder time finding a landlord who is willing to accept him as a tenant.

A final word of warning to seek the assistance of a competent attorney if you are unfamiliar with the strict statutory process that must be followed when issuing eviction notices.  A good attorney can also help you try to settle the case with the tenant, and ideally obtain a written settlement agreement confirming the move-out terms and releasing all legal claims between the parties relating to the tenancy.