Still, not everyone has gotten the message. I’ve personally seen many owners – and real estate brokers! – list parks for sale without giving proper notice to residents, and I know of at least one lawsuit filed by residents against an owner for allegedly failing to comply.
Unfortunately, in addition to exposing owners to more potential liability, this law complicates the park sale process and can easily add an additional month before an owner can legally accept an offer.
This is important stuff! Get online and look up ORS 90.842, 90.844, 90.846, 90.848, and 90.850. Yes, it’s a mind-numbingly boring read, but familiarity with it may save you from being sued.
Below, I’ve written a summary of the basics you’ll need to know. For brevity, I’ve left out some details and exemptions, and added my own abbreviations.
THE GUTS OF THE LAW:
An owner (“O”) must give written notice of intent to sell the park to Tenants (“T”) before marketing the park, or when O receives an unsolicited offer to purchase that they intend to consider – whichever occurs first.
- The notice must be given to all T’s of the park, or to a tenant’s committee (“TC”) if one exists.
- The notice must include the following:
- The O is considering selling the park.
- The T’s have an opportunity (through a TC) to compete to purchase the park.
- Within 10 days of delivery of notice (An attorney would likely recommend first class mail with a certificate of mailing; and adding 3 days for mail delivery), T’s must form or identify a TC, and notify O in writing of T’s interest in competing to purchase the park, and give the name and contact info of the representative of the TC.
- The TC representative may request financial information from the owner within the 10-day period (which the O must provide within 7 days of delivery of the request).
- Information about purchasing a manufactured dwelling park is available from the Office of Manufactured Dwelling Park Community Relations of the Housing and Community Services Department. (O must also send a copy of the notice to this same office!)
THEN: Within 15 days after delivery of the O’s financial information (or within 15 days after the 10-day period if TC does not request financials), if the T’s want to continue competing to purchase the park, the TC must form a corporate entity and submit a written offer to purchase the park to the O. The O may accept, reject, or submit a counteroffer, as they would with any typical market transaction.
THAT’S IT! Simple, right? NOPE. I just boiled down almost 2,000 words of state statute into a tenth of that; and I left out a bunch of important details. But as a park owner and licensed real estate broker, here’s my basic takeaway:
- If you want to sell your park or have received an offer to purchase, give your tenants the proper notice – and don’t formally accept another offer until you’ve worked through the process! There are several ways to accomplish that. You can still seek or negotiate with other potential purchasers during this process, after you’ve sent the initial notice.
- I recommend delivering notice to all tenants. I believe that even if you have a solid tenant’s committee in place at your park, there’s still exposure to liability if not every single tenant knows about the opportunity to compete to purchase.
- If you are purchasing an Oregon park: make sure that before closing, the seller supplies an affidavit of compliance to you, your attorney, or the title insurance company, per ORS 90.850.
- There are some important exemptions from this requirement to give notice of sale – see 90.848. The most applicable is section (i): “Any sale or transfer in which the park satisfies the purchaser’s requirement to make a like-kind exchange under section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code.” I’ve asked John VanLandingham, the tenant’s attorney who drafted these laws, “What if the purchaser is a group of partners wherein only one partner is completing a 1031 exchange?” He assured me he believes the exemption would still apply.
- I recommend to all my selling clients: Forget the exemptions, err on the side of caution, and give the notice to all tenants, even if you believe your sale or transfer is exempted from the burden. The statutes are written with too much unintended ambiguity, and people are too prone to filing lawsuits if they feel slighted.
MHCO will soon have a “Notice of Sale of Manufactured Dwelling Park” form available to use in compliance with these laws – but you still must carefully follow the statutes, mind those deadlines, and be aware of the overall process! I am not an attorney, and recommend your attorney review all tenant notices.