Tuesday, October 3, 2023


A new class-action lawsuit filed over RV park rent hikes

Another West Coast RV park is being sued over the escalating issue of surging rents for RV dwellers and the legal implications of long- versus short-term RV park tenants, this time in Green, Oregon.

The class-action lawsuit, Mary Gilbert v. Rising River Resort LLC, was filed by Troy Pickard of the Portland Defender law firm.

The lawsuit mirrors other recent legal disputes that hinge upon the issues of whether or not rent increases exceed legal limits under state and local tenant protection and rent control laws, and whether RV park tenants are even protected by such laws and ordinances.

As an example, in April of this year, the City of San Rafael, California, settled a lawsuit, City of San Rafael v. Chessen, et al. The lawsuit was brought by the City in December 2021 to enforce its Mobile Home Rent Stabilization Ordinance. The RV Park of San Rafael was acquired and managed by Harmony Communities of Stockton, CA.

Back to the current lawsuit, in mid-2022, plaintiff Mary Gilbert received a notice that her rent would go from $432 to $472 per month, a 10% increase. Then, not long after, in October, she was notified of another increase to $649 starting in December — a 37.5% increase, making the total increase in rent for 2022 more than 47%.

Legal question for RVers staying indefinitely in RV parks

Here lies the crux of the legal question for RVers staying indefinitely in RV parks: Is Mary Gilbert, a long-term resident of the Rising River Resort RV Park, and “those similarly situated” members of the class, protected under the Oregon Revised Statutes that apply to residential rental tenants? If so, then under Oregon’s Landlord and Tenant Law, ORS 90, landlords are allowed to raise rent by up to 14.6%. Or is the resident of an RV park instead a transient and not a tenant?

Jessica Nichols, director of operations for northern campgrounds of Bluewater — the company that recently acquired the RV resort — told the Roseburg, Oregon News Review, “Rising River is a transient campground not a mobile home park. As a campground the rates fluctuate. They (guests) don’t sign a yearly lease or anything like that,” Nichols said. “They have an agreement that they apply so they may stay for an extended period of time.”

Troy Pickard, a 13-year veteran of tenant law, disagrees. “Generally speaking, once a tenant has lived somewhere for more than 30 days, then they would be covered by the landlord tenant law.”

What’s an unfair increase in RV space rent?

Reasonable people may disagree on what constitutes an unfair increase in RV space rent. Some will argue that monthly rent of $430 or even $649 is reasonable for a well-kept waterfront RV park like Rising River RV Resort and River House.

Another issue at the core of every such rent dispute is the question of private RV park property owners’ rights to set rents and fees at levels that provide a reasonable return on their considerable investment in infrastructure and upkeep. Undoubtedly today, there is the question of what the RV site rental market will bear. However, with the ever-increasing numbers of people who live in RVs as housing of last resort, even the rent increases allowed by the Oregon state statute become a financial burden.

The rising controversy: transient or tenant?

On the one hand, some RV parks like the predictable cashflow of long-term monthly tenants as an offset to the unpredictable and often seasonal itinerant RV park trade. But on the other hand, some states declare tenants of certain duration, e.g., those remaining for 30 days or more, as tenants like mobile homeowners renting space.

This case will turn upon the Oregon courts’ view of the difference.


Update: Settlement reached in long-running RV park battle


Randall Brink
Randall Brink
Randall Brink is an author hailing from Idaho. He has written many fiction and non-fiction books, including the critically acclaimed Lost Star: The Search for Amelia Earhart. He is the screenwriter for the new Grizzly Adams television series and the feature film Goldfield. Randall Brink has a diverse background not only as a book author, Hollywood screenwriter and script doctor, but also as an airline captain, chief executive, and Alaska bush pilot.


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1 month ago

Most if not all RV’s are recreational and casual and not meant for long term residency. They are not constructed to codes for permanent or mobile homes. We continually read about the poor quality of these units but that is the part that is casual. They are not constructed the same. Energy use is off the charts in cold weather and I’m sure many take dangerous steps to try and stay warm. Electrical circuits maybe over loaded as are plumbing issues. No skirting to protect from the elements.
So the confusion is that some have chosen to live in a casual rig in a transient campground.I’m sure you recognize high and low season, costs and an owner ROI competing in an inflationary market.

1 month ago

I see this as just another example of West Coast overcrowding and liberal state policies making it almost impossible for many to live in these Western states. The campground “is a campground” and if the plaintive doesn’t like their rate increase then they supposedly should be able to pick up and move to a less expensive CG.

If the cost of living and housing is rising at unforgiving rates throughout the West and North West why shouldn’t the rates at campgrounds with “seasonal residents” be any different?

Richard Kucken
1 month ago

Living in any RV or any trailer park communities should most certainly be governed by strict law in regards to renting space for your RV or Trailer home. Otherwise you are constantly taken advantage of by the greedy at the top. My rent went up 20.00 a year, because I’m disabled and that was my pay increase. Not horrible on a fixed income, enter 2022 & 2023, 2022 was a 40.00 dollar increase and 2023 was a 75.00 increase, because they knew that the cola was high those year’s, in 2022 it took my whole cola raise of 40.00 and 2023 it took just over 50% of my cola increase. It is getting ridiculous that these “management” companies take advantage of the poor!

1 month ago

Most of these comments are by people who don’t live in there r.v. my wife lost her job due to health reasons. We lost a lot of her income, she’s now retired on ssi. We had to sell our house, due to the shortage in income. We have no other option but to live in our r.v. we should have a voice in rent, or rent control. If the parks want to raise our rent, they should be able to. However, not 47% within 6mos. Be reasonable is all I’m saying.

Grayling Drummond
1 month ago

If you are in an RV and staying long term then you should sign a lease and if not move on to another place, also why live in an RV. Interupting other travelers opportunity to visit nice places, those folks need to go rent an apartment and stay long as they want.

1 month ago

Pretty ridiculous what you just wrote.

1 month ago
Reply to  Pat

Sorry, I agree with Grayling. The place is a camping resort, not as they state a mobile home park or community which would make a big difference.

1 month ago

Let’s get real! RV’ers are mobile. Long term permanent residents are ‘living’ in the park. What they are really doing is taking up rv sites while living there.

T & S
1 month ago

We just stayed long term at an RV park in CO. Several months prior to our stay, We signed a contract and paid a non refundable deposit with a set price for the term we were there.

1 month ago

It’s refreshing to know people and law firms are willing to fight against high rising costs for recreational and RV living.
Many RVer’s travel and live for work. Many choose to live the RV lifestyle for personal reasons. But we are looked at as a bottom line profit machine by companies that have bought out an industry, campgrounds, they care nothing about but for profit.

1 month ago
Reply to  Edna

But you have those who want the profit machine companies to subsidize their living expenses. That’s what you get with Bidenonmics!

Mike Willoughby
1 month ago

I would presume when one stays in a RV park long term (Snowbird, road worker, long term visitor, whatever), one signs a contract establishing a start and stop date, price, rules, etc… After the stop date, if parties mutually agree, then a new contract would be setup and negotiated. New rates established at that time. Otherwise contract expired and you depart.

At least logically how I would run it if it were my business.

1 month ago

Nope. I have been where I am for 10 years this month. The longevity was due to my husband’s illness. But many other long term have been here that long or longer. We have no signed contract and run on a 30 day rental which means about every 3 years we pay an extra month of rent. They raise our rent $50 every 3 years as the park services go downhill. You either pay or leave. But where are we to go? Majority have RVs older than 10 years and are grandfathered in. But if we leave we won’t be.

1 month ago

Hi Mike. I’m in NH where very very few campgrounds are open past Columbus Day. I’m seasonal at a campground from the first weekend in May til Columbus Day. While we live in state, we have many “snowbirds here”. We all sign the same contract whether we live there or come & go (weekends, long weekend). In September, we pay our deposit for the following season. This is our third year; we paid $2300 the first two years and $2400 this year (very cheap). When we pay our deposit, we sign our contract for the following season.

So yes, this is how it’s done where we are and from what I read, it’s much the same at most campgrounds.

Larry Lagerberg
1 month ago

The overarching issue here is rent control itself and if it will be applied to rv parks as well. Rent control has a long and well documented history here and around the globe of discouraging the production of more housing and therefore creating more shortages. This would be no different.

1 month ago

In my opinion, yet another frivolous lawsuit . It’s an RV park, not a mobile home community (somewhat of a misnomer-if it doesn’t move, it ain’t mobile). Mary Golbert needs to hit the road or buy an RV lot somewhere if she wants to be a “permanent resident.”

Bob P
1 month ago
Reply to  GrumpyVet

I would beg to differ on the subject. Snowbirds are usually in their location for several months at a time, some community’s actually consider a person such as a snowbird as a resident after a certain amount of time in the park that are subject to taxation, jury duty, etc. If you are considered a resident for these reasons, why would you not come under the protection of resident laws just because you live in a non-permanent home?

1 month ago
Reply to  Bob P

Bob P. -you’re incorrect and I have nev seen a snowbird called for jury duty. We have a contract and that is what we pay – 6 month duration. RVing is short term and living there is just that – living in a trailer.

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