The Manufactured Housing Landlord – Tenant Coalition (negotiations) convened again the end of last month (August 2014) to further discuss a number of issues that may potentially be adopted into legislation in 2015. Here is a summary of the latest developments on several key issues.
The $6 Assessment. The coalition spent a considerable amount of time discussing the $6.00 assessment that community residents pay to finance Oregon Housing & Community Services Manufactured Communities Resource Center. Oregon counties are increasingly not collecting property taxes on homes in communities and hence the $6 assessment is not being collected. Both the residents and the agency are concerned about continued funding. MHCO is concerned that community owners will be given the responsibility of collecting the assessment from the residents and handing it over to the government. MHCO is adamantly opposed to landlord’s becoming tax/assessment collectors.
The tax assessor association floated the idea of the residents paying more – sort of a surcharge on the assessment in order to cover the cost of the counties in collecting the assessment. No decision was made on this issue – we will see what the next meeting brings.
Abandoned Manufactured Homes and Unpaid Taxes. The coalition continued to discuss ORS 90.675. Currently, Oregon law causes a landlord to throw or give away a manufactured home worth more than $8,000 if the back taxes exceed the value of the home. The back taxes owed on some abandoned MHs may be significant, even exceeding the value of the manufactured home. In these cases, the financial incentive for the landlord, assuming there is no purchaser at the required abandoned property sale, is to destroy or give away the manufactured home. This creates a vacant space in the park.
MHCO would like to see all taxes on an abandoned manufactured home waived. The tax assessor association proposed waiving the first $8,000 of taxes owed to be waived if the landlord buys the home. At this time the MHCO is considering options to raise that amount or to completely waive the taxes owed. Again, no final decision has been made and negotiations continue.
Cure Period for Discrete vs. Ongoing Violations. As we have mentioned in earlier legislative updates, MHCO would like to see the 30-day “cure” (ORS 90.630) period reviewed with some changes. Allowing a resident to continue disruptive behavior for 29 days and then correct the behavior just before the 30 day “cure” period ends does not seem fair to the other residents in the community and management. We continue to discuss options. MHCO has proposed that anything that impacts the resident’s “peaceful enjoyment” should require a shorter “cure” period. Again – no final decision was made and we will continue to discuss this at the next coalition meeting.
Manufactured Home Sales – Conflict Community Owner Sales vs. Resident Sales. The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) has been investigating conflicts between community owner sales of homes and resident sales. DCBS has met with the coalition on several occasions but no specific proposal has been put on the table. This is the issue that MHCO is most concerned about as we head into the 2015 Legislative session. There will be a more in depth discussion on this issue at the next meeting. MHCO will keep you posted as this issue develops.
Fixes to Resident Purchase. There are several issues that have been discovered regarding the resident purchase program (HB 4038) that was passed in the 2014 February session. Below is a brief summary of the issue and the proposed solutions.
A. The loophole is in favor of tenants, the fix being in favor of community owners. The loophole is this: Current statute (1) allows the tenants to give notice to the landlord if they are interested in competing to buy, within 10 days of the landlord’s notice of interest in selling. (2) within that 10 day period, the tenants may request certain financial information. (3) the landlord has 7 days to provide the financial info. (5) the tenants have 15 days after delivery of the financial info to form an entity capable of buying the park and to make an offer. Finally, if the tenants miss these deadlines, the landlord doesn’t have to do anything more. The loophole is that the deadline is only triggered if the tenant’s request the financial info packet and the landlord delivers it. Solution would be add language such as: within 15 days after the end of the 10 day period described in subsection (1) of this section if the tenants do not make a request for financial information. Final language will need further discussion and agreement.
B. The bill passed in February 2014 failed to amend the capital gains statute to refer to the new section of law. After the effective date of HB 4038, 1/1/2015, the capital gains exemption will only apply to marinas, and not to manufactured home parks. This was a mistake made by Legislative Counsel (the folks in the Capitol who convert concepts into actual law to be passed by the Legislature). There will need to be a discussion on language that continues this capital gains waiver for community owners who sell their community to the residents.
No Decisions – No Commitment – It’s Election Time. The coalition will continue to meet thru the autumn discussing these issues. Much will depend on the November election and the eventual make up of the 2015 Oregon Legislature. In the meantime, there will be a lot of talk, analysis and a few sleepless nights.