MHCO Legal Counsel

Phil Querin Article : Tips for Preparing Bulletproof Notices


Always Assume The Matter Will Go To Court


While most legal notices will have their desired effect – e.g. the tenant will pay the rent, or maintain the space, or do what is necessary to comply – there are a small number of tenants who will fight. Of those who fight, some will secure an attorney. Most attorneys know that the easiest way to win is to attack the notice for some deficiency. If the notice is legally insufficient, the landlord’s case will fail without any examination of the merits of the case. The failure to win in court oftentimes leaves management with an unmanageable tenant.


Accordingly, when landlords and managers prepare notices, they should always assume that the notice will be contested. This approach is the best protection landlords have in securing compliance in those cases where the tenant decides to fight.


What does it mean to draft a notice as if the matter will go to court? It means that someone – the judge or jury - will be scrutinizing the document. It means making sure that everything is filled out correctly before mailing or delivering it. It means using a form, if one is available, rather than hand-drafting a notice. It means making sure that the proper form is used. In some circumstances, it may mean having your attorney review the form before sending it out.



Phil Querin Q&A: Child Care Facilities in Oregon Manufactured Housing Parks


Question:   Oregon passed a law last year that prohibits housing providers from implementing community rules prohibiting residents from having daycare facilities in their homes.  Among other things, the law states that housing providers can require residents with these facilities in their homes to provide proof of insurance.  However, I’m unclear as to what type of insurance and how much we should be requiring.  At our park there are two residents offering daycare services in their homes and we’d like to follow-up and require liability insurance.  What type of insurance should we require of them and in what amounts?  Is there anything more we ought to be doing in response to this change in Oregon law?  Thanks. 



Phil Querin Q&A: Increases in Utility Charges by Provider in Manufactured Housing Facilities


Question: I’m trying to clarify if an existing and lawful utility charge (e.g., sewer or trash), is increased by the provider, do we have to give advance notice of the increase to the residents before we can pass it through?


For example, if the garbage provider increases its rates from $32/mo to $34/mo for the same service, is management required to notify the residents in advance? And if no advance notice is required, but we get the increase from the provider after already passing through the lower charge, may we recoup the shortfall by sending out a “catch-up” notice to the residents?


Phil Querin Q&A: Two Questions on Plumbing

Question  A:  We have a Tenant who has refused to fix the water leaks within their mobile home. The park owner pays for the water and there have been significant cost increases due to the leaks. 

The Lease is the MHCO Lease from 2003 and states under Tenant Agreements F. Maintain the Home in accordance with conditions set forth in Paragraph 12.A(8)(a) through (e) which states in (d) all electrical, water, storm water drainage and sewage disposal systems in, on, or about the Home, are in operable and safe condition, and that the connections to those systems have been maintained.

What recourse do we have in this situation?

Question B:  We have a tenant whose sewage line is routinely blocked.  We have had a plumber our numerous times and unclogged resident’s sewage line.  We have repeatedly told this resident that they cannot put certain items in the toilet - and yet they continue to do so and block the sewage line.  Does this constitute grounds for eviction?  At what point is the resident responsible for the sewage line and the items they are putting in the toilet?



Phil Querin Q&A: Tree Liability

Trees, Limbs and Roots – Liability Issues


Question:  .  What is the landlord’s responsibility when it comes to trees falling on a tenant’s house. Does it make a difference if it is a hazard tree vs. not a hazard tree? What about roots crossing over a space and causing damage to the home on the tenant’s space or the neighbor’s space? What about tree damage that is weather related?


Phil Querin Article: Changes to Applicant Screening Procedures


HB 2680 makes several changes to the procedure for tenant screening under ORS 90.295. These changes will be updated in the MHCO Forms.

Screening Notice. The law specifies that upon completion of an applicant’s screening by a screening company or consumer credit agency, the landlord must provide the prospective tenant with confirmation of the screening and a receipt for the screening service from the company and/or agency.


Phil Querin Q&A: Fences, Damage, and Landlord Liability


Question. I am looking for information dealing with fence liability between landlords and tenants, and between tenants and other tenants.

Our Park Management has not put up any fences. All fences were installed by current and past tenants. Generally, my questions relate to the duty to maintain these fences, liability from trees (hazard and otherwise), and repair issues and fences that were installed by past vs. current tenants.


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