Yep, you read right. $5 for an attorney. It’s happening in Washington State. The website for the Washington State Dispute Resolution Program is:
http://www.atg.wa.gov/MHDR.aspx#.UitHbDnn-po If you have a computer, just copy and paste this address, it will lead you to the home page of the Washington program. The following information is from their website:
How Did It Start
The 2007 WA State Legislature recognized that there are factors unique to the relationship between a manufactured/mobile home tenant and their landlord. The difficulty and expense of moving and relocating a manufactured/mobile home creates unique challenges. The Legislature found that many tenants who experienced violations of the manufactured/mobile home landlord-tenant act (MHLTA) were often left without protections or access to legal remedies. In response, the State Legislature passed into law RCW 59.30. This law authorizes the Attorney General’s Office to administer the Manufactured Housing Dispute Resolution Program and enforce the Manufactured/Mobile Home Landlord-Tenant Act. It also authorizes the Department of Revenue to register manufactured/mobile home communities and collect registration fees.
Who can use the MHDR program?
Homeowners are covered by the MHLTA and eligible to participate in the dispute resolution program if they own a manufactured home or mobile home and rent a lot for that home in a community or park. A community, by legal definition, includes rental space for two or more homes that are owner occupied. Homeowners are entitled to protection under the MHLTA only if they are current on their rent.
Landlords are also covered by the MHLTA and eligible to participate in the dispute resolution program. We encourage landlords to use the dispute resolution program as a low-cost alternative to the 15-day notice and eviction process provided by law.
We do not represent landlords or tenants but advance the public interest as a neutral third party negotiating an agreement that complies with the MHLTA. If an agreement cannot be reached we may formally investigate and move forward with enforcement action.
How can this program help me?
Homeowners and landlords may file a request for dispute resolution if they believe that there may be a violation of their rights under the MHLTA. The Attorney General’s Office may negotiate with opposing parties, determine whether further investigation is needed, decide whether a violation has occurred and issue fines and other penalties when appropriate in order to bring compliance with the law.
How is this program funded?
By law, landlords are required to register each pad in their community or park with the Department of Revenue and pay $10 per year for each space that is rented to a person who owns their home. Landlords may charge each homeowner a maximum of $5 per year of this assessment. The fee is then used to fund the MHDRP and cover the DOR registration and licensing costs.
Does the Program Work?
In one word, YES! And the program has some teeth. If a park owner is found to be violating the law, he can be fined. Most disputes are resolved between the parties, without further action by the State Attorney General.
Where can I get information about program statistics and case outcomes?
Please visit our website where you will find information about program statistics and case outcomes following formal investigations. We have also posted our Annual Reports to the WA State Legislature here as well.
Supported by COMO-CAL?
Remember, we were COMO-CAL (the Coalition of Mobilehome Owners – California) before we were Mobilehome Magazine. In 2006 both COMO-CAL and GSMOL attended the national convention in Minnesota where they learned about the Washington State program. Almost immediately COMO-CAL started promoting it; however at that time we reached only a few mobilehome owners. The real push should have been with GSMOL. After all, they are the “go-to” organization for new legislation.
COMO-CAL published the following article in their March 2010 newsletter The Voice:
Finally There Is Hope. We are excited to learn that Assembly member Pedro Nava is introducing a new bill, AB1803, patterned after the Washington State Manufactured Housing Dispute Resolution Program (MHDRP).
As per Nava: “My legislation will help both residents and park owners resolve issues in a more amicable and cooperative process,” said Assembly Member Nava. “The mediation process will help to level the playing field and reduce the need for costly and lengthy litigation between residents and park owners.”
CoMO-CAL was founded on the premise that laws require enforcement. We have promoted the MHDRP for over eighteen months, writing about it eleven times in THE VOICE. COMO-CAL. See page 11 for more information.