Legislative Update: MHCO Pushes Tax Reform in MH Abandonment

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Last month the 2014-15 Manufactured Housing Landlord-Tenant Coalition held it’s first meeting in preparation for the 2015 Oregon Legislative Session. The “coalition” meets once a month to discuss issues impacting manufactured home communities and has drafted legislation for each of the past Oregon Legislative session since the mid 1990’s. MHCO is a regular participant with 4-5 MHCO Board members in attendance. Other participants include resident organization, government agencies, home manufacturers and finance companies.

One of MHCO’s top priorities (see “Legislative Wish List” posted 5-28-14) is to change ORS 90.675 (14) (c) to allow county tax collector to cancel all unpaid property taxes when the community owner (landlord) purchases the home. MHCO raised the issue at the May 28th meeting. There is a reasonably good chance that some changes to the statute. The extent of those changes will be negotiated in the months to come.

Here is a brief summary of last month’s meeting:

1. With David Tatman from the Oregon Department of Business and Consumer Services, we discussed a concern about possible conflicts of interest between park residents trying to sell their homes in place and park owners or managers who sell homes – both on behalf of others and homes that they own – via a limited dealer license. This issue can be complicated by deferred maintenance on the home for sale. The coalition agreed to outline the issue for our next meeting, for continued discussion.

2. With Diane Belt, Washington County Assessment & Taxation, and Tami Little of Clackamas County, we talked about the issue of unpaid back taxes owed on abandoned homes; current law causes landlords to demolish or give away low-cost homes with big tax arrearages, bigger than the value of the home, instead of allowing those homes to continue to provide affordable housing and rents. At MHCO's request the coalition agreed to outline the issue, in the context of existing ORS 90.675 (14) (c). Diane agreed to talk to the tax collectors. Also to be continued.

3. Also with Diane Belt, we discussed the concern by some counties, Multnomah in particular, over their statutory duty to collect the $6 assessment on MHs, that supports the Manufactured Communities Resource Center at OHCS. There are several reasons why counties have concerns, including the cost to bill and collect this fee, especially in the four counties where low value manufactured homes are exempt from property taxes. Is there some other collection mechanism? Ken Pryor will get us up-to-date numbers on revenues from the #6 assessment and costs for MCRC. Diane will talk to some other assessors about what it would take to cover the counties’ costs (if we were to raise the fee).