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Floating Homes

With Oregon’s numerous bays and waterways, floating home marinas are a popular living choice for many people. By statute, floating homes are treated similarly to mobile homes with regard to landlord-tenant issues.

A “floating home” is defined by statute as “a moored structure that is secured to a pier or pilings and is used primarily as a domicile and not as a boat.” Under Oregon case law, a boat can be considered a “floating home” if it is primarily used as a residence and not as a boat. Marina operators should be aware of this broad interpretation before deciding to evict anyone. A “marina” means a moorage where four or more floating homes are kept together and the tenants pay rent to a landlord for their moorage spaces.

Like mobile home tenants, floating home tenants are entitled to the renewal of a fixed term lease upon expiration, or continue as month to month tenants. Practically speaking, this means that floating home tenants can reside in their homes without fear of eviction unless (1) they fail to pay their rent, (2) fail to follow the marina rules, or (3) fail to maintain their home. If the tenants violate these requirements, the landlord can respond with an appropriate eviction notice (i.e., 72-hour rent nonpayment notice, 30-day for cause notice, 30-day repair notice).

One caveat is that tenants can be evicted if the marina closes and the attached land or marina is being converted to a different use. If the landlord gives at least 365 days’ advance written notice of the closure, the tenants must vacate and pay their own moving expenses. If the landlord chooses to close the marina on 180 days’ notice, the landlord must find a space acceptable to the tenant to which the tenant can move the floating home and pay the cost of moving and set-up expenses or $3,500, whichever is less.

Abandoned floating homes (i.e., those left by a deceased tenant) are treated the same as abandoned mobile homes. The landlord must give a 45-day abandoned home notice, which must also be sent to any lienholders. The lienholder or anyone else entitled to claim the floating home must claim it within the 45 days and sign a storage agreement to keep the home in the marina.

Finally, if a tenant sells his or her floating home, the tenant must give the landlord at least 10 days’ written notice if the buyer intends to leave the home in the marina as a new tenant. The landlord then has the opportunity to screen the new tenant before move-in. The landlord must accept or reject the tenancy application after it is submitted.

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