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Sailboats Can Be “Floating Homes” in Oregon

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The OSB Real Estate and Land Use Digest, vol. 30, no. 5, December 2008) discusses Ramsum v. Woldridge, 222 Or App 109, 192 P.3d 851 (2008):

Excerpt from the case:

“EDMONDS, P. J.

Defendants lived on their sailboats at Eagle’s Cove Marina, where they rented moorage slips from plaintiff, the owner of Eagle’s Cove.(1) Plaintiff served defendants with 30-day eviction notices under ORS 91.070. When defendants refused to vacate the slips, plaintiff filed Forcible Entry and Detainer (FED) actions under ORS chapter 91 to evict them. At trial, defendants defended on the ground that ORS chapter 91 was inapplicable because their sailboats qualified as “floating homes” under the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (RLTA) in ORS chapter 90. The trial court entered FED judgments in favor of plaintiff and supplemental judgments for costs and disbursements, concluding that the RLTA did not apply. The cases were consolidated for purposes of appeal. On defendants’ appeal, we reverse for the reasons that follow…

The final issue under ORS 830.700(4) in this case is whether defendants’ sailboats are primarily used as their domiciles and not primarily used as boats.(5) The findings by the trial court (not contested by the parties) and the undisputed evidence that none of the defendants sails his boat more than 15 days a year establish that fact. See findings No. 15, 16, 17. It necessarily follows from the legislature’s incorporation of ORS 830.700(4) into the RLTA and the trial court’s findings, that the slips in which defendants’ sailboats are moored are “dwelling units” for the purposes of the RLTA. Consequently, defendants are correct when they contend that 30 days’ notice was not sufficient to lawfully evict them without cause, and it was error for the trial court to enter the FED judgments and the supplemental judgments for costs and disbursements. (read full case)”

(Real Estate and Land Use (RELU) section newsletter is not free online, but local law libraries will either have it or can get a copy of the article for you.)

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