MHCO Columns

Miner Minute: Fees for “Additional Occupants” or “Extra Vehicles” May Be Problematic

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Bill Miner


 Fees for “Additional Occupants” or “Extra Vehicles” may be problematic. Rental agreements sometimes contain a space for “extra vehicle fees” or “extra occupant fees.” These fees may be problematic considering the limitations found in ORS 90.302.

Specifically, ORS 90.302 states that, “a landlord may not charge a fee at the beginning of the tenancy for an anticipated landlord expense and may not require the payment of any fee except as provided in this section. A fee must be described in a written rental agreement.” ORS 90.302 then states that a landlord may charge a fee for: a late rent payment, pursuant to ORS 90.260; a dishonored check; removing or tampering with a smoke alarm, smoke detector or carbon monoxide alarm (which would be applicable in a park owned home); a violation of a written pet agreement or of a rule relating to pets in a facility, pursuant to ORS 90.530); or the abandonment or relinquishment of a dwelling unit during a fixed term (also more likely to be applicable in a park owned home). 
ORS 90.302(3)(a) and (b) does allow a landlord to charge a tenant a fee for specific non-compliance of rules relating to a late payment of a utility or service charge, failure to clean up pet waste, failure to clean up the waste of a service or companion animal, failure to clean up garbage, rubbish and other waste, parking violations, improper use of vehicles, smoking in clearly designated non-spoking areas of the premises or keeping on the premises an unauthorized pet capable of causing damage. The specific applications of those fees are governed by ORS 90.302 and prior to charging them, a landlord must first exhaust several steps. Regardless, nowhere in ORS 90.302 is there an allowance of a fee for “additional occupants” or “extra vehicles.” 
With that said, ORS 90.302(7) states that the section does not apply to “Charges for improvements or other actions that are requested by the tenant and are not required of the landlord by the rental agreement or by law, including the cost to replace a key lost by a tenant.”  Is an “additional occupant” or an “extra vehicle” an improvement or other action requested by the tenant? Perhaps, but the best bet is to just deal with it through increases in rent rather than fees.
Installments of Miner Minute will appear every other week through 2022. If you have a question you would like clarification on, or have experienced something you would like addressed, please email MHCO. The above should not be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship.