Senate Joint Resolution No. 19

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________

A Joint Resolution of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the state of Montana requesting an interim committee to study landlord and tenant disputes in mobile home parks and in other rental situations; requesting that the committee investigate causes of and possible solutions to the affordable housing shortage in Montana; and providing for a report of findings and recommendations to the 56th legislature.

WHEREAS, the rental vacancy rate in Montana is among the lowest in the nation; and

WHEREAS, approximately 19% of Montana's population lives in manufactured or mobile homes, and 80% of the new housing units created between 1980 and 1990 were manufactured or mobile homes; and

WHEREAS, the property rights of mobile home park owners and the home owners renting space in the parks often conflict; and

WHEREAS, disputes between landlords and tenants take up a significant amount of Justice's and District Courts' resources; and

WHEREAS, considerable legislative time and resources are dedicated to attempts to resolve landlord-tenant problems through changes in statute; and

WHEREAS, efforts to mediate disputes between landlords and tenants have met with limited success; and

WHEREAS, other states have adopted legislation that is aimed at resolving disputes between landlords and tenants while protecting the rights of both parties; and

WHEREAS, members of the Montana Legislature have introduced bills during the 1997 session to expand the resources available for dispute resolution, but none have been adopted.


That an appropriate interim committee be assigned to:

(1) identify the conditions that contribute to disputes between landlords and tenants and the barriers to resolving those disputes;

(2) examine mobile home park rules and evaluate their enforcement for fairness and consistency;

(3) consider the special conditions that exist in mobile home parks where tenants are home owners with property rights that may conflict with the property rights of the park owner;

(4) research and evaluate the methods adopted in other states to address landlord-tenant conflicts and protect the rights of both parties;

(5) explore practical methods of preventing and resolving disputes between landlords and tenants; and

(6) examine the shortage of affordable housing in Montana as a factor impacting landlord-tenant relations and identify the reasons for the shortage and possible solutions to the shortage.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the interim committee seek information and input from the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, other relevant Executive Branch agencies, individual and organized tenants and landlords, and other interested persons before reaching final conclusions and making recommendations for legislative action.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the committee report its findings, conclusions, and recommendations, including drafts of suggested legislation, if warranted, to the 56th Legislature.