Phil Querin Q&A: Repairs Upon Resale

Want access to MHCO content?

For complete access to forms, conference presentations, community updates and MHCO columns, log in to your account or register.

February 21, 2018
Phil Querin
MHCO Legal Counsel
Querin Law


Question:  Can management require of a resident selling their home in the community that the space be removed of all attachments and outbuildings that were added upon initial occupancy? E.g. the removal of all decking, sun rooms etc.?  What kind of notice does the landlord give while the home is up for sale with potential buyers are considering the home with these amenities?  Can the landlord restrict colors for the home and even restrict the size and type of fencing?  How does this all fit into the new law on disrepair and deterioration passed by the legislature in 2017 (SB277)?



Answer:  The answers to some of your questions can and should be found in the rules and regulations. For example, addressing whether attachments and outbuildings stay or are removed.[1] It is problematic to me to permit a resident to make such additions at the outset, without addressing what happens when the home is put up for sale.  If additions have been made for which consent was never obtained, or which do not conform to the applicable building codes, management should move quickly, since acceptance of rent with knowledge of the noncompliance could lead to waiver.


Assuming that the attachments and outbuildings are in a state of disrepair, SB 277 provides a remedy to management at any time, including the time of sale. However, without knowing the exact nature of these “improvements” it is hard to know whether insisting upon complete removal is appropriate or legal. 


Also, much depends upon other factors. How much will this cost the resident? How long will it take? Are the “improvements” not really beneficial to the space, and detract from the appearance of the whole area? Are they code-compliant, or can they be made so? As discussed below, SB 277 continued parts of the earlier disrepair/deterioration law found in ORS 90.632, but tightened up portions of it, due to resident complaints about abuses.[2] And interestingly, it now includes reference to “aesthetic” and “cosmetic” improvements, which may be helpful in your situation.


MHCO has significantly changed its current form No. 55 to address the changes in the new law. The major issue going forward is for managers and landlords to be able to recognize when to use Form No. 55 to address disrepair and deterioration conditions, versus Form No. 43C, which is appropriate for violations relating to maintenance and appearance of the space.


Tip: Although Form 55 is only for use when there is disrepair or deterioration to the exterior of the home itself, the definition of a manufactured dwelling in ORS 90.100 includes “an accessory building or structure,” and that term includes sheds and carports and “any portable, demountable or permanent structure”. Accordingly, even though the damage or deterioration may relate to accessory buildings or structures – and not to the home itself – they too are subject to the new law. 


If the disrepair or deterioration to the exterior of the home or related structures creates a risk of imminent and serious harm to dwellings, homes, or persons in the Community (e.g. dangerously unstable steps, decking or handrails), there is a 30-day period to repair.


For all other (i.e. non-dangerous) conditions, the minimum period to cure is now 60 days.  As before, the new Form 55 provides a place for landlords and managers to specifically describe the item(s) in need of repair.


Trap: If there is imminent risk of harm, and the landlord/manager intends to give the tenant 30 days rather than 60 days, SB 277A requires that they not only describe the item(s) in disrepair, but also describe the potential risk of harm.  There is little question but that the failure to do so would invalidate the notice. The new Form 55 prompts users to describe both the violation and the potential risk of harm.


Tip: The new Form 55 contains a prompt at several places to attach additional pages, documents or photos, if doing so would be helpful in identifying the disrepair or deterioration, and the necessary repair. Remember, you cannot expect the tenant to be a mind reader – just because you know the nature of the problem and the appropriate repair, does not mean the tenant is on the same page. If there is any ambiguity in the notice, a court would likely rule in favor of the tenant. Why? Because the landlord/manager filled out the Notice and had the ability at that time to draft it with sufficient clarity. 


SB 277A now provides that at the time of giving a prospective purchaser the application and other park documents, the landlord/manager must also give them the following:


  • Copies of any outstanding notices of repair or deterioration issued under ORS 90.632;
  • A list of any disrepair or deterioration of the home;
  • A list of any failures to maintain the Space or to comply with any other provisions of the Rental/Lease Agreement, including aesthetic or cosmetic improvements; and
  • A statement that the landlord/manager may require a prospective purchaser to complete the repairs, maintenance and improvements described in the notices and lists provided.


Tip: Note that the new law combines not only the original ORS 90.632 notices relating to damage and deterioration of the home or structures, but also a list of failures to maintain the space and other defaults, including aesthetic or cosmetic improvements. This may or may not include 30-day curable notices under ORS 90.630 for failure to maintain the space. But in both cases (i.e. defaults relating to structures, and those relating to the space), the new tenant appears to get the six-month period to comply. It may be that if the “improvements” are aesthetically an eyesore, SB 277A may be of use in getting them either cleaned up or removed.


This represents and interesting shift in Oregon law, and possibly for the better. Many parks historically gave “resale compliance notices” to tenants who were placing their homes up for sale. However, until now, there was some question whether a landlord could “require” as a condition of resale, that the existing tenant make certain repairs – absent having first sent a 30-day notice.[3] Now, under the new version of ORS 90.632, it appears landlords may make that list, and let the tenant/seller know that unless the work is completed before sale, it will be given to the tenant’s purchaser upon application for tenancy.


So, if the landlord/manager accepts a prospective purchaser as a new tenant, and notwithstanding any prior landlord waivers of the same issue(s), the new tenant will be required to complete the repairs, maintenance and improvements described in the notices and lists.


Under Section (10) of SB 277A, if the new tenant fails to complete the repairs described in the notices within six months from commencement of the tenancy, the landlord “may terminate the tenancy by giving the new tenant the notice required under ORS 90.630 or ORS 90.632.”  This appears to say that a new tenant who fails to complete the items addressed in the notices and lists within the first six months, will thereafter be subject to issuance of a curable 30-day or 60-day notice to complete the required repairs. Accordingly, this is how the new MHCO Form 55 will read.





[1] Caution should be exercised in drafting, however.  If the rule says the “improvements stay” but they are an eyesore, management may be left with more than it bargained for. So whether it stays should be phrased as an option for management, if and when the time comes.

[2] Without commenting on the nature or cause of the complaints, suffice it to say that when the press gets ahold of a tenant/park dispute, the legislators are not far behind, and the end result is not usually helpful to landlords. The not-so-subliminal message here is that such disputes are better resolved quietly and quickly, lest they become a cause célèbre.


[3] This is because ORS 90.510(5)(i) provides that the rental or lease agreement for new tenants must disclose “(a)ny conditions the landlord applies in approving a purchaser of a manufactured dwelling or floating home as a tenant in the event the tenant elects to sell the home. Those conditions must be in conformance with state and federal law and may include, but are not limited to, conditions as to pets, number of occupants and screening or admission criteria;

Location Tags: