MH Abandonment in Progress - Home Is Sold to Non-Resident Just Before 60 Day Letter Expires

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Question - A landlord is near the end of an abandonment notice. The former resident and owner of the home without notice to the landlord sells the "abandoned" home to another person. Does the landlord have to send a new abandonment notice to the new owner and restart the 60 day clock?

Answer: [Note: This answer presumes that the landlord has legally declared the abandonment, and following the statute regarding issuance of the 45-day letter. It also presumes that there are no liens on the home, since they would have prior right to determine what happens.]

Interestingly, I find nothing in the abandonment statute [ORS 90.675] that prohibits the tenant from selling the home during the 45-day period following the landlord’s issuance of the 45-day letter. In fact, I believe that possibility was contemplated when the statute was drafted and/or amended. [My answer might be different if the tenant sold the home after expiration of the 45-day letter, since the statute says that under that circumstance the home is “conclusively presumed” to be abandoned. To me this means that the tenant had nothing to convey. But we’ll deal with that issue another time.]

So the real issue is not with the abandonment statute, but with ORS 90.680, which deals with on-site sales of the manufactured home. In relevant part, the statute provides as follows:

1. If the new purchaser wants to live in the home, prior to a sale, they “… must submit to the landlord a complete and accurate written application for occupancy of the dwelling or home as a tenant after the sale is finalized”;
2. They may not occupy the space or the home until after the prospective purchaser is accepted by the landlord as a tenant;
3. If the sale is not by a lienholder [it wasn’t] the prospective purchaser “…must pay in full all rents, fees, deposits or charges owed by the tenant *** prior to the landlord’s acceptance of the prospective purchaser as a tenant”;
4. The landlord must accept or reject the prospective purchaser’s application within seven days following the day the landlord receives a complete and accurate written application. If a tenant has not previously given the landlord the 10 days’ notice, this period is extended to 10 days;
5. The landlord may not unreasonably reject a prospective purchaser as a tenant;
6. The following apply if a landlord does not require a prospective purchaser to submit an application for occupancy as a tenant:
• The landlord waives any right to bring an action against the tenant under the rental agreement for breach of the landlord’s right to establish conditions upon and approve a prospective purchaser of the tenant’s dwelling or home;
• The prospective purchaser, upon completion of the sale, may occupy the dwelling or home as a tenant under the same conditions and terms as the tenant who sold the dwelling or home; and
• If the prospective purchaser becomes a new tenant, the landlord may not impose conditions or terms on the tenancy that are inconsistent with the terms and conditions of the seller’s rental agreement unless the new tenant agrees in writing.

So in this case, the landlord should immediately contact the new buyer, notify them that if they intend to occupy the home, they must submit an application for tenancy and bring current all unpaid accrued rents, etc. They may not occupy the home or space until they have done so and been approved as a tenant.

If the purchaser is a dealer, or intending to flip the home to another prospective buyer/tenant, these same requirements would apply. Although this may require a legal opinion before proceeding, if the current buyer intends to remove the home, I would consider asserting a possessory lien on the home [i.e. it cannot be removed until payment of the past due rents, etc.] Note this is not “legal advice” so you must secure an opinion from your own counsel.