Rental Agreements vs. “Leases”
There are three documents every resident of a manufactured home park should have.
First, the landlord is required to present prospective residents a Statement of Policy before they ever become tenants. The Statement of Policy tells the location and size of the space, the federal fair-housing age classification and present zoning, provides a rent history for the past five years, lists services provided by the landlord, states fees and installation charges, gives the park policy on termination of rental agreement and possible closure or sale of the park, states pertinent information about utilities and services. If a tenants’ association (like an OSTA chapter) exists, the landlord also gives a one-page summary of it as written by the association.The Statement of Policy is a very important document. If you don’t have a copy, you’re supposed to get one with any notice of a rent increase or rental agreement renewal.Attached to the second document, the Rental Agreement, will be the park’s Rules and Regulations.
Month-to-month rental agreements and rules, once signed by the resident and the landlord, can’t be changed unless both parties agree or there are changes in the state laws that govern manufactured home parks. To repeat, there won’t be changes in the rules unless both resident and landlord agree or unless the state laws are changed.Some parks’ residents talk about having leases instead of month-to-month rental agreements. The term “lease” is not used in the Oregon Residential Landlord/Tenant Act (ORS Chapter 90). Instead what many of us think of as leases are “fixed term rental agreements.” These are set for at least two years. Upon reaching the end of the fixed term, these agreements can be renewed for another fixed term. To renew a fixed-term agreement, the landlord “shall submit the proposed new rental agreement to the tenant at least 60 days prior to the ending date of the term. The landlord shall include with the proposed agreement a written statement that summarizes any new or revised terms, conditions, rules or regulations” (Chapter 90.545(2)). The tenant must accept or reject the renewal in writing at least 30 days before the lease expires. If the landlord fails to offer a new lease, “the tenancy renews as a month-to- month tenancy.” OSTA has felt that the 30-day rental agreement is preferable because the rules can’t be changed—unless state laws change—if 51% of the park residents object. With fixed- term agreements, you can be handed new rules at every renewal, as long as they’re the same as new tenants have been offered for the preceding six months. Will 51% of your neighbors object to any new rules your landlord hands you?