Answer: Yes, there are a few new laws plus a few new twists on existing laws. In a shameless plug, I encourage all park owners renting RV spaces to attend my RV Law Seminar at the MHCO Annual Convention. The RV seminar is on Monday, October 20th at 3:30.
One of the new laws we’ll cover is the tenant liability insurance statute. This new law allows landlords to require RV tenants to obtain and maintain liability insurance during their tenancy. The amount of coverage may not exceed $100,000. To implement this policy, landlords can give RV tenants a 30-day notice informing them of this requirement. New RV tenants can be required to obtain insurance as long as you notify them in writing when they apply for tenancy.
If you have long-term RV tenants, it might be worthwhile to make liability insurance a requirement in your park. It adds another layer of protection for you as a landlord if a tenant does something causing major damage or injury in the park. (NOTE: The law does not apply to mobile home park tenants.) There are some restrictions on the insurance requirement, which we will cover in more detail at the RV seminar.
Noncompliance Fees Charged to RV Tenants
There have been a few changes to the laws which allow a landlord to charge tenants a noncompliance fee for certain violations. These fees can be a useful tool in getting tenants to follow the park rules without having to issue an eviction notice. Landlords can charge fees for (1) late utility payments, (2) failing to pick up pet waste, (3) failing to clean up garbage, (4) parking violations, (5) improper use of vehicles on the premises, (6) smoking in non-smoking areas, and (7) keeping unauthorized pets. The fees can’t be charged without first giving a written warning and there are several other restrictions that we will cover at the RV seminar.
Section 8 Rental Payments
A new law now makes it unlawful for you as a landlord to refuse to rent to Section 8 tenants for that reason alone. The rationale is to give low income tenants the opportunity to rent anywhere regardless of how they make their income. While this doesn’t usually arise in RV park rentals, all landlords should be aware of the new law.
Prior Evictions, Arrests of Crimes
RV tenant applicants now cannot have their evictions considered if the case was dismissed or a judgment entered in the applicant’s favor. Eviction cases 5 or more years old at the time of the rental application similarly cannot be considered in evaluating the applicant.
The law also specifies that only certain types of crimes can be considered in evaluating an applicant: (1) Drug related crimes, (2) crimes against another person, (3) sex offenses, (4) financial fraud, and (5) a “catchall” provision that includes any crime that might affect the landlord’s or other tenants’ property or safety. Arrests in the person’s past on any of these issues that did not result in a conviction cannot be considered. However, pending arrests that have not been adjudicated at the time of the application may be considered.
RV Restroom Requirements
While not a new law, Oregon law requires that parks provide bathroom facilities to “vacation or recreational” campers. Less clear is whether parks are obligated to keep or install restrooms if they only rent to long-term residential RV tenants. At the RV seminar we will explore this issue and how it might affect your park – particularly if you have a mixed-use park of both RVs and mobile homes.