As much as I enjoy owning mobile parks in Oregon, I can’t say it’s always a walk in the park. The problem is, once someone’s in, they’re usually in for good. It’s hard to get rid of problem tenants in a mobile home park because you’ll have some pretty convoluted ownership to deal with.
Usually, your tenants own the dwelling and you own the land underneath it. Evicting someone isn’t just a matter of removing a person from a property. You have to remove an entire dwelling from a property. So, when your park is looking run down because you have a lot of outdated homes, you’re better off working with your tenants than you are threatening them with eviction.
How to Write a Lease Within the Oregon Law
In Oregon, you’re not allowed to remove someone from a park simply because their dwelling is older or outdated. As long as it’s in good repair, and not a hazard, that home is likely there to stay. But if you’re dealing with a case where your tenant is not living up to the terms of their lease, like not maintaining their space, that is a valid reason to evict based on the Landlord/Tenant Law in Oregon.
The thing is, you don’t want to evict. I’ve already gone over how much of a pain it is before, so I won’t reiterate it. But when you’re able to show tenants that they agreed to certain conditions when they moved in, then you’ll be in a better position to get them to keep their property up to date. That all starts with a properly written lease.
Don’t try to write one up yourself and definitely don’t do handshake deals. In Oregon, there are a lot of laws specific to what you can put in a lease when the tenant owns the dwelling and you own the park. You can’t evict someone without cause. You have to have a reason, and often that reason will be a violation of lease terms. But in order to use the lease terms to evict someone, you have to have a valid lease.
To make sure the lease is valid, join a statewide park owner’s association and get a template from them. That way, you’ll be sure to have a written agreement with the tenant that they must keep their space maintained. Having the agreement is just the first step, though. You’re also going to have to make sure they follow through.
“I can’t afford it” is probably the number one excuse I hear when I’m asking someone to clean up their property. While this might be true in the cases of major repairs, it isn’t true when it comes to basic maintenance. It doesn’t cost a fortune to remove junk and slap a fresh coat of paint on a home—it just requires a little bit of effort. While cost might be the excuse, laziness is usually the real reason homes fall into disrepair.
That’s why when I’m trying to get someone to clean up their property, I eliminate the “I can’t afford it” excuse. They can’t afford paint? I’ll provide it. If they have a yard full of junk, I’ll rent a dumpster. These are both minimal expenses that remove excuses and can go a long way towards getting your tenants to keep up their spaces.
If they still won’t fix up their property, it’s pretty much a game of cat and mouse. You’ll have to give them written notice, along with 30 days to fix the problem. If they don’t fix it within that time frame, you’ll have cause to move forward with eviction proceedings. The Oregon law states a landlord “can start an eviction case if [the tenant has] not lived up to a condition of [their] rental agreement.”
Most of the time, the tenant will fix the problem rather than go through an eviction, but sometimes, it takes a notice to get them motivated to do so. Even though it might be a pain, don’t let it slide, because once you have one problem property, you could run into the domino effect.
Fix One Home, Not Hundreds
I bought a park in Beaverton, OR a while back. In 2009, it was a beautiful property. By the time I bought it, there were about 250 homes in disrepair that had to be fixed up. The thing is, 250 homes don’t fall apart all at the same time. Here’s how it happens.
A park owner has one or two homes that are problem properties. They decide to let those owners slide—and the other tenants notice. They think, “Why am I working so hard to maintain my home when my neighbor has junk everywhere?” The more owners stop maintaining their lots, the bigger the problem snowballs until you have a park full of trashed homes.
So never think “well, it’s just one lot” because, eventually, that one lot is going to turn into ten, twenty, and onward. Deal with problems when they’re small by giving tenants written notice, and 30 days to fix the issue, according to Oregon law. If it’s still not fixed after 30 days, you’ll need to start the eviction, even if you want to avoid it in the long run. That’s why you might have to buy a home or two as a last resort.
When Eviction Is Unavoidable
Sometimes, a home is in such disrepair that your tenant honestly can’t afford to fix it up. When it comes to a case like this, you might pay anywhere from $500 to $1000 to get them to deed the property over to you so you can sell it. Usually, this is a lot cheaper than the expense of going through foreclosure or abandonment procedures. While sometimes it might not be worth it, just about anything you can do will be cheaper than eviction in the long run.
Your hands might feel tied when it comes to removing a mobile home from your park in Oregon. Sure, sometimes you’ll have to live with outdated homes as long as they’re in good repair. You can’t kick someone out of your park because their property is old or outdated. But you do have cause for eviction if they’ve violated the agreements they made in their lease, or if they’ve let their home fall into such a state of disrepair that it’s a hazard. Just remember to stay on top of problems cases, before your whole community goes downhill.
If you have a park that’s in a state of disrepair and you don’t want to deal with it, send me an email or give me a call. I’ve rehabbed more than a few parks in my day, so I know what I’m doing when it comes to rebuilding a community. I buy parks to run them and run them right, so you can be sure your good tenants won’t lose out because of a few problems.