Tenant Obligations Under Oregon Law

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November 22, 2016
Phil Querin
MHCO Legal Counsel
Querin Law

When understanding tenant responsibilities in manufactured housing communities, it is important to remember those statutes found in Oregon’s landlord-tenant law.  One such statute, ORS 90.740, bears closer examination.  Under this statute, there are several obligations that frequently are not contained even in the community’s own rules.  This means that even though the rental agreement or rules fail to address the issue, it is still something that the landlord may enforce if violated.  Conversely, of course, if the rules or rental agreement impose less stringent requirements upon the tenant, those provisions in the community documents will control.  What follows is a summary of the law:

  1. Installation of the Home.   Both the home and any accessory buildings, such as sheds, and other structures, such as fences and decks, must be installed in compliance with all applicable laws, such as local ordinances and state building codes.
  2. Disposing of Debris.  All ashes, garbage, rubbish and other waste must be disposed of in a clean, safe and legal manner. With regard to needles, syringes and other infectious waste, the tenant may not dispose of these items by placing them in garbage receptacles or in any other place or manner except as authorized by state and local governmental agencies. 
  3. Conduct.  Both the tenant and other persons in the home or on the space must behave in compliance with any laws or ordinances that relate to the tenant’s behavior as a tenant.
  4. Use of the Space and Common Areas.   The tenant may not misuse or unreasonably use the space or common areas, taking into consideration the purposes for which they were designed and intended. 
  5. Debris. The tenant must keep the rented space in every part free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents and vermin as the condition of the rented space permits and to the extent that the tenant is responsible for causing the problem. The tenant must reasonably cooperate in assisting the landlord in any reasonable effort to remedy the problem.  For  example,  if  the space  becomes  infested with vermin  due to the unkempt  nature of the space, the tenant must do those things necessary to accommodate the landlord’s extermination efforts.
  6. Hazards of Fire.  The home and the rented space must be kept safe from the hazards of fire.  This means that any conduct or conditions occurring inside or outside of the home must be corrected by the tenant if it poses a fire hazard.
  7. Smoke Alarms.  The tenant is required to install and maintain a smoke alarm approved under applicable law. 
  8. Storm Water Drains. The tenant is required to install and maintain storm water drains on the roof of the home and connect the drains to the drainage system, if any.
  9. Use of Systems.  The tenant is required to use all electrical, water, storm water drainage and sewage disposal systems in a reasonable manner and maintain the connections to those systems.
  10. Destruction of Property.  The tenant may not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any community property, other than the tenant’s own home – nor may he or she knowingly permit any other person to do so.
  11. Landscape Maintenance.  Unless the rules or rental agreement provide otherwise, tenants are required to maintain, water and mow or prune any trees, shrubbery or grass on the rented space.
  12. Peaceful Enjoyment.  The tenant is required to behave, and require his or her guests to behave in a manner that does not disturb the peaceful enjoyment of the premises by neighbors. This is an all-too-frequently overlooked provision of the law.  Many times a tenant’s offending conduct, while not specifically prohibited in the park documents, is nevertheless bothering to other tenants.  Landlords would be well-advised to remember this provision of ORS 90.740 in those difficult cases in which the activities, such as voyeurism or stalking, cause undue concern to the neighbors. 

What happens if the tenant violates any of these statutory provisions?  Is there a remedy?  Assuming that the tenant will not comply with the landlord’s requests for voluntary compliance, and there are no other reasonable alternatives, enforcement action is available in the same manner as a violation of the rental agreement or rules, i.e. issuance of a 30-day notice of termination.  Under ORS 90.630, this means that the landlord must issue a written notice to the tenant advising that the tenancy will terminate in 30 days if the violation is not cured.  The law provides that a second violation occurring within six months of the date of the preceding 30-day notice will entitle the landlord to issue a written non-curable notice terminating the tenancy in 20 days.  As with all such notices, members are advised to use the MHCO forms, making sure that they are complete in all respects before delivering or mailing them to the tenant.

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