History of Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL)
In 1978, a variety of statutes relating to mobilehome park tenancies previously scattered throughout the Civil Code were brought together by S.B. 2119 (Mills) under Chapter 2.5, and titled the “Mobilehome Residency Law.” Since that time there have also been a number of additions and amendments to the Residency Law. The entire Hearing may be seen at the following address:
Hearing on MRL Enforcement Problems
The Senate Select Committee on Mobilehomes held a Hearing in Sacramento with Senator William A Craven presiding. The subject of the Hearing was “Mobilehome Residency Enforcement Problems” and was attended by advocate leaders and park owner/representatives from around the State of California.
Foreward by Senator Cravens Note: Senator Cravens was the Chair Person of the Senate Select Committee on Mobilehomes.
The reason for this hearing is to delve into the question of enforcing the Residency Law. The Mobilehome Residency Law provisions, being Civil, not Criminal in nature, are basically self enforcing. That is, when you have a violation or dispute that cannot be resolved between the park owner and the resident, their ultimate recourse is through the legal system. Some, however, feel, because of the costs of hiring an attorney and the delays in already clogged court calendars, that court solutions are a very inadequate method of enforcing the law.
This Committee, as well as a number of legislator’s offices from whom we have heard, have had many complaints concerning enforcement of the Mobilehome Residency Law. I understand the Golden State Mobilehome Owners League has made enforcement of existing provisions of law one of its priorities in terms of problems that need to be addressed.
There are two things we want to determine here. There are some 5800 mobilehome parks in California, including RV parks. Although I know there are difficulties which many residents are having, certainly not all of these parks are violating the multi- ple provisions of the Residency Law. What we need to do, then, is assess the extent and seriousness of these problems. Your testimony in this regard will be helpful.
Secondly, we need to take input on alternatives–alternatives to the present system of enforcing the Mobilehome Residency Law through the courts. Bear in mind that any alternative enforce ment mechanism requiring stepped-up local or state government involvement will mean the need for some kind of funding, whether through public tax dollars, fees on park owners, fees on park residents, or all three. Any enforcement mechanism has to take into consideration the question of cost. Nothing is free, and the question of cost is something on which we deliberate every day in the Legislature, on almost every one of the 4,000-plus bills we consider. With these guidelines and these caveats in mind, let us then proceed with the agenda.
Witness Testimony – MH Owners & Advocates
The following are excerpts from the testimony of a several MH owners and MH owner advocates:
Blanch Wynn, MH owner, Sacramento County.
We know that the California Legislators have, for more than quarter of a century, worked very hard to put in place a body of law to show their concern for and their understanding of the almost half-a-million mobilehome owners in this state. The problem to address now is, after the Legislature has done its work and passed a law, we have to hire an attorney to get the law enforced. The problem is, we have to buy enforcement.
Harry Foulks, Regional Director, Region 14, GSMOL:
Something has to be done so that a publicly financed enforcement effort can be made and if such attorneys as district attorneys were to do that, if the actual costs involved, first, they would screen any complaints. And complaints that did not have merit, you would not see showing up in the courts.
And those that did show up in the courts, if they were successful and if they had merit, which many of them do that are not now being prosecuted, I think the costs to be assessed against the violator in favor of that particular, in this case District Attorneys- County District Attorneys, would be able to cover the cost with out too much of an additional cost to be borne by taxpayers.
Sure, there are a lot of administrative costs that are probably never going to be recovered other than through tax dollars and so forth.
John Bertaut, resident of Meadowbrook Mobilehorne Park, Sacramento and representative of Home Owner’s Protectorate Entity (HOPE).
Mobilehome owners generally accept a lowered standard of living from a need based on financial circumstances. We live in flimsily-built structures, crowded next to our neighbors, near a busy thoroughfare and/or railroad track, and we accept these conditions based on a belief that the trade-offs will compensate us. The trade-offs we expected were in the form of a stabilized space rent and the security of living within the friendly confines of a park with others like ourselves. These trade-offs are seldom realized.
First, we find that space rents increase at a rate much greater than the rate of inflation as gauged by the Consumer Price Index. Space rent relates to only about 15% of a family’s annual budget, according to government figures, yet space rents increase at about twice the inflation rate. This wipes out completely any cost-of-living increases received by those of us on fixed incomes.
Secondly, the vast array of rules and regulations governing us, and used selectively as needed at the whim of the resident managers, cause us to feel as if we are living in a tightly run military camp, governed not by a benevolent dictator, but by a stern drill sergeant who insists he is our mother, father, uncle, sister and big brother. And to whom can we turn?
Here in Sacramento County we have thus far been unsuccessful in finding any substantial support or assistance from governmental agencies toward the enforcement of Mobilehome Residency Laws. We are generally told by government and by GSMOL and attorneys that the only way we can resolve these issues is by litigation.
Unfortunately, those of us who suffer most from these abuses are the ones least able to carry the financial burden of litigation. Something must be done. We are hopeful that this, the Senate Select Committee on Mobilehome Residency Law will take action necessary to see that some teeth are put into this law.
John Buril, Equity Stabilization Taskforce:
The problems I am going to dimension for you have to do exactly and precisely with the imbalance in the power relationships in the mobilehome parks of this state. The problems arise out of the captive status of the mobilehome residents and the lack of competition between the mobilehome parks. This senior citizen group that lives in these parks has become a target in many cases of coercion and harassment, and they’re denied effective, peaceful possession of their own home.
In too many parks, they’re subjected to intimidation and threats of evictions by autocraic park managements who are not controlled or restrained at all by the present Mobilehome Residency Law.
The specifics of these complaints include the following: In many parks our senior citizens are threatened with eviction if they dare to question a rule or an interpretation of a rule. Conform or move is the ultimatum given them.
Park managements have no compulsion, too, in imposing illegal pre-sale fix-up requirements on the mobilehorne resident when he’s trying to dispose of his mobilehome. This includes orders to fix up even the inside of the mobilehome. They want these residents, at their expense, to fix driveways, trim trees, remove bushes, remove fences and all manners of improvements so-called, all of which legally are the responsibility of the mobilehome park owner.
These elderly people, almost all of them over 65 years of age, are subjected to endless harassments and verbal harangues to get them to sign these leases that they don’t want to sign and shouldn’t sign. Together, these offenses against the dignity of these senior citizens is, again, a denial of peaceful possession.
There are threats to terminate tenancy for these senior citizens who do not agree with these rules. Despite the fact that there’s a failure of park management to demonstrate a meaningful rule violation, there are threats of eviction. In consequence, we have an autocratic, unrestrained rule by intimidation as a way of life in too many parks. And this is a certifiable return to feudalism.
Let me summarize it quickly. The mobilehome way of life in many California parks has come to be characterized by threats of reprisal, by fears of eviction, by intimidations of many kinds. Our senior citizens are being inflicted with a level of emotional distress and a deterioration in their personal health as a result.
We need enforcement by the state. There is no agency of the government at present, including the district attorney’s offices that are doing anything. Here’s what happens. You call the district attorney, and he will tell you in Sacramento County they want a complaint and an investigation by another government agency. They won’t accept your word. They won’t accept the group that you represent. They want a public agency to make a formal complaint, then they’ll act. Consequently, with a failure to vigorously enforce the Mobilehome Residency Law, there is no law in those mobilehome parks, except what the owner decides it’s going to be.
The simple fact is, and this underlies the problem as I see it, this mobilehome way of life really represents a joint venture. The biggest contributor of capital to a going mobile home park are the residents and the purchase of their homes.
Their combined purchases is a big investment. The second supplier of capital is the mortgage lender, and third and last is the park owner, who sets the quality of life for everybody. We assume the risks, we pay the profits, we pay the bills, we pay the taxes, and we have nothing to say about life in the mobile home park. The park owners, solely, determine the quality of life for us, and they will continue to do so as long as society is indifferent to the plight of these captive people.
The absence of competition I previously mentioned makes a mockery of any reliance placed on a competitive economic system to self adjust or self correct these abuses. Society needs to redefine the power relationship in the housing system which has come to be the housing system of choice for senior citizens. I believe that society has both a right and an obligation to specify how this housing system is going to function for seniors.
Society must deal with it; society in the persons of the Select Committee, in my opinion, should now enter meaningfully into an active investigation of the true situation in these mobilehome parks.
The Mobilehome Residency Law needs a major rewrite with comprehensive and consequential change. Thank you, ladies and gentlement.
Joyce Kuehn, ex-Associate Director of GSMOL, San Jose:
The California Civil Code lays down the basis for the relationship between the residents and the park owners with protections on both sides. Yet the residents seem forced to deal with an inordinate number of abuses to that Civil Code by park owners who ignore it, violate it and then ignore the protests of the residents. If residents are not organized and don’t have the funds for an attorney, they just have to sit back and accept the situation.
Owners of older homes have been told they cannot sell in the park because “they don’t meet code”, but no code violation is cited, and when the homeowner pays for a city and/or state inspection, no violation is found.
Upgrades for resale have been demanded and after compliance, have been changed. For example: new skirting, only, then new siding, and then remove the new skirting and put siding all the way to the ground. Upgrade demands have been made just before the close of escrow, have exceeded requirements of park rules and regulations and even commercial or industry standards. Upgrades have been unreasonable, inconsistent and per our lawsuit “were incorrect, arbitrary, negligent, reckless or bad faith interpretation of grounds for removal on sale”.
One of the primary causes of our lawsuit against the owner was the abuse of the section on the resales as just described and the subsequent disruption and obstruction of sales to the extent that homeowners have suffered substantial losses on the market value of their homes due to the stigma attached to the park among brokers and, in fact, the entire mobilehome community.
Abuses such as all of these are statewide, continual and on an ever-increasing scale. The “message” of what one park owner tries seems to travel the state and gather new participants in the practice to see what’s going to fly.
There must be some way for mobilehome residents to protect their rights and the value of their homes without having to fight one battle after another and to pay the enormous cost for good legal advice and effective action. I hope you can find a way.
Eileen Kapaunik. GSMOL Chapter Sec., Redwood City.
Currently , when we sue what we consider to be a violation of the Residency Law, our only recourse is to attempt court action. In order to do that, we must ask our residents to donate money to cover attorney and court costs, money they can ill afford. Even with sufficient money donated or through the use of the Legal Aid Society, our efforts appear to be in vain.
For example, Harbor Village has cases now pending regarding harassment by park managers of at least 12 residents. Illegal entry on the property for non-emergency or abandonment reasons and closing of recreational facilities without proper notification or just cause. These cases have been pending since February, 1984, and we have yet to even have a hearing. Where will we go for help?
We have a Mobilehome Residency Law which does not provide any specific protection from the park owner’s continued violations. When we appeal to local city councils and local mediation boards, all they do is suggest that maybe something ought to be done. Where is the incentive for the park owner to mend his ways or change his tactics?
Help us, the homeowners, find a vehicle that can help us resolve our problems; some means that is efficient, effective and, above all, timely.
Patricia Dean, Director of Legal Line
Let’s start first with the plight of the prospective purchaser. Whether they are right or not, the park owners are interpreting the Civil Code as not applying to somebody who does not yet have their residency in the park. It is probably the most common complaint I have right now. The definition under 798.9 of a homeowner is somebody who already is a resident in a park. Therefore, they are saying that none of the rights provided by the Civil Code apply to the prospective purchaser.
That purchaser, as you have already heard, is being subjected to invasions of privacy with demands for full and complete listings of all of their assets. They are also being required to do additional repairs to a home before they can take possession.
More importantly, they are being told that their only way of getting into the park is to sign a long-term lease. They are being presented with horrendous documents, sometimes as long as 30 years and told that that is the only way they can get in. Now, that action happens to be a violation of Business and Professions Code 11000, but unfortunately, we have as much problem getting Department of Real Estate to enforce anything as we do other departments of government. So far, I do not know of a single complaint that has been acted upon by the DRE.
The most common complaint we have about park rules is not just their general enforcement, it’s the fact that the most flagrant violators are the managers, themselves.
Now, you can talk about court judgments, and you can talk about hiring attorneys, but you have a double-barrel problem there. One, you can’t find the attorneys. It’s already been mentioned that mobilehome law is quite unique; it is quite thorough; and it is quite extensive, sometimes far in excess of what attorneys in general practice realize. To find an attorney who is knowledgeable about even a reasonable portion of the mobile home law is almost impossible. After seven months of work, I managed to list 50 in the entire state of California.
Nancy Quigley, member of GSMOL and Homeowners’ Protectorate Entity.
In speaking for the members of my community in my park, we need somewhere where we can turn to and say, “This is happening, we need help in here” and not be, said, “Well, you’ve got to contact that place,” and we contact that place, and they say “Well, you’ve got to contact that place,” we contact them and everybody comes up with, “this is a civil matter. “ We’re low income families; it’s very difficult to hire attorneys.
Ron Twilley, former resident of West Sacramento park:
My wife and I were forced to move out of a West Sacra mento trailer park due to the lack of the Mobilehome Residency Laws not being enforced.
We secured a restraining order signed by Judge Agley, which, a restraining is just almost impossible, but we got one, from Yolo County. This restraining order was against the management of the park in West Sacramento for threatening my wife’ s life and myself. I was subject to harassment, discrimination, verbal abuse, discrimination based on association, against the law, renting discrimination and increases, all to the use of mobile home sites. The unreasonable rules, illegal entries upon your space day and night, overcharging of utilities, which I’m involved in now. Western Mobilehome Association, I just, I can’t believe anybody would want to cheat you over a penny, but they will. And the list goes on and on.
For almost two years, my wife and I have documented dates, times and photographs of these violations for our own protection. Several times a Yolo Sheriff was called. On several of these occasions, we were insulted and treated like a criminal by the sheriff’s officers as if we were in the wrong simply by calling. And unable to find an attorney who knew anything about civil rights and the laws of the trailer parks. We could not afford to move, but we could not afford to stay.
My wife and I had to find some legal way to fight them. We called GSMOL. All they had to say was, “See an attorney.” We called several state agencies over a long period of time, seen attorneys, talked to District Attorney’s office, television sta tions, local newspapers. “See an attorney,” that’s all we heard.
Well, we paid out to three different attorneys. The first attorney that helped us retain the restraining order. The attorney said, “If the management does continue this harassment and breaking the restraining order,” that he would have him or have her arrested. Well, the attorney received $350; I received a restraining order and nothing done to protect our rights.
The second attorney was referred to us by GSMOL. And that attorney said they could not raise our rent and three others simply because they didn’t like us. And that was in a park of 55 people. The attorney wrote the letter. By the way, they took two and a half weeks to write, why, I don’t know.He said he could work this out on the phone with the owner of the park.
They never did answer the letter. The attorney received $250. I received a letter and still nothing done over protecting our rights. But he did offer to accept another $1500 to continue it.
The second attorney said that he could see by looking at what we had that we could win our case, but that I wouldn’t be satisfied. I asked why; the attorney said, “It will cost you about four to five thousand dollars and 14 to 16 months of your time to get to court. And you know you probably won’t get back all the money that you spent.” “I don’t care,” I said, “about the money so much, but I want someone to put a stop to these park managers and owners taking our rights away.”
Where does a person go? To whom do you see to get your legal and constitutional rights? There was over a thousand new laws going on the books again this year, and one of them were for mobilehome parks. Who is going to enforce them? How much is that going to cost me and others to receive our rights under the law and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and to which we are entitled? Most important, who is going to tell our senior citizens about their rights, who cannot afford to live and pay big attorney fees? And these owners and managers of these parks taking advantage of this and do whatever they damn well want.
And I think it’s pitiful. And there’s not one thing I can do to help, nor anyplace to turn for help. I would like to thank John Buril. If not for him, I’d probably been put out in the middle of the street to begin with.
That’s why it’s up to you and the lawmakers’ hearing and taking a better look at our mobilehorne park systems and laws. We, the people, need you and we need your help. Thank you.
Alva Brown, resident of Cactalandia MHP, Paramount.
Anyway, if these agencies (HCD), don’t take their code enforcement seriously, and if they aren’t doing what they’re designed to do, they’re worthless. And I can provide any photographs or documents of any of the problems that I’ve mentioned today. And I ask you to support a bill which I understand will be introduced by Senator Ralph Dills, authorizing the State Attorney General and the County District Attorneys to enforce the Mobilehome Residency Law.
Susan Statzell, ex Associate Manager, GSMOL.
It’s time for the people of mobilehome parks, if they want a better life, to also stand up and fight. Don’t let the owners and managers push you around. They, if they serve you an eviction notice, they are the ones who have to take you to court and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are guilty. The burden of proof is on them.
The Civil Code is overwritten. It needs to be changed, and in fact, to be shortened and better read and the wording not so omnibus. Behavior within mobilehome parks goes both ways. If a person pays their rent, maintains their yard and something happens, they have every right to complain.
Please, all entities, Golden State Mobilehome Owners, WMA, and Len Wehrman from PUC. We need you all to get together with all of the legislators, and we need the legislators to think of us as people, not votes. We have rights just as you do, and if you would think of living in a mobilehome park, which I doubt seriously our legislators do at this point, perhaps you ought to come out and look at a few of them.
James Brandaw. resident of Park Terrace Mobilehome Park, Santa Ana, California.
We are, we, the people, as referred to in the constitution. Yet most interpretations that come down say, “We, the people, unless you are a mobilehome owner.“ Desegregation and discrimination was fought for the line. Mobilehome owners have been chosen by parks as easy marks, becoming prisoners in our own homes.
The retired, elderly, middle-aged or young families live on a day-to-day basis with the fear that the park owners will throw them out, out into the streets, which can be accomplished by raising the rents so high that they can’t afford to stay there, and they cannot afford to live there, and they cannot afford to sell them.
Somewhere we think that we should be able to enjoy retirement and the pursuit of a little happiness somewhere along the line.
The somewhere along the line as the immortal words of Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream,” our dream to see our elderly residents protected by our government; our once upon a time affordable housing to be affordable again; park owners made accountable for the injustices they commit against the American people; a district attorney’s office to say, “Bring your facts forward, we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” instead of, “We can’t get involved with the Residency Law.”
We want you to have the facts; we will give you the facts. You want proof; we will give you proof. You want solutions, we will try to give you solutions.
Appoint a mobilehome board that consists of mobilehome owners. Set up a arbitration mediation service. Give them authority to deny rent increases, deny the park owners a lease that is not based on CPI or equivalent. Make park owners open their books. Give us voters and taxpayers justice and freedom and the right to live among our neighbors in peace and without fear. Thank you.
Testimony By Park Owners & Their Representatives
This group of three spoke after the testimony of 4 MH owners (Blanch Wynn, Harry Foules, John Bertaut and John Buril). As such, they did not hear the testimony of the other 13 MH owners and their representatives.
Bill Schweinfurth, WMA, Vedder Communties.
I’m the Director of Operations for Better Park Management. We operate 20 mobilehome parks, representing approximately 5,000 spaces, which are home to approximately 8,000 people. We’ve heard many comments here this morning that rules in mobilehome parks are too stringent, that the enforcement is too severe and so forth.
Our management philosophy is we never want to evict anyone. We would love to enforce rules, but we don’t take any great pleasure in serving notices or giving anyone a hard time.
I see our problem enforcing the rules as one of two chilling effects that really make it difficult for us. The first is that the remedies provided by the Mobilehome Residency Law are either too lenient or too strict. If we do all that (serve 7 day notices, the only other remedy left to us is too severe. That’s going to court for an eviction, and we don’t want to evict people. That’s not our goal in running our business.
The second problem is the laws have become so complex, and they pit us so much against our residents, that when we really do have a bad apple and we really do need to take some action, some times we’re paralyzed because we’re afraid that if we don’t do everything perfectly, we’re going to get nailed.
Enforcement of rules is a mutual problem. And my suggestion is that rather than have more laws and more regulations today, rather than have more attorneys involved in this business, what we need to do is we need to get the two groups together to sit down seriously, for once, and study all of these issues to come up with some private solutions that are really workable in these unique conununities.
Dick Bessire, of Bessire and Casenhiser, Walnut, CA.
I can remember back in the good old days when we had good neighbor policies, and everything was basically done on hand shakes, and the tenants lived up to their responsibilities and the majority of owners lived up to their responsibilities.
And how do we enforce, probably one of the only most controlled living environments left in this state? We have residents that move into those parks specifically for that reason, because they know what their neighbor is going to do.
The only people that are making out are the attorneys as we see it at this point in time.
I think one of the biggest problems that I could ever tell you about with the problems with the residents and ourselves is the interpretation of the law. The reason that we have some of the problems is, as you’re well aware, the law has changed quite drastically over the past few years. Can you remember when it was, the first Civil Code was one-quarter of a page. We now have four pages that, you know, my eye sight’s pretty well, I’m surprised some of our residents can even read the Civil Code as it’s printed today because it is four pages of minute print that, you know, you have to really sit there, and you have to be an attorney to really understand.
You can be assured, the WMA tries to comply with the law. It’s not our intent to violate it.
Craig Biddle, WMA Attorney
I know it will be unusual for me to say this to you, but short of going to the attorney, short of getting the funds from both sides and short of the eviction and the court proceedings, if we can devise something like that so that we can have enforcement of the park rules for the tenants as well as for the management, we’d like to work with you and with GSMOL and hopefully we can work out some type of effective mechanism to do this.
Senator Craven response:
I think it becomes increasingly obvious that there’s going to have to be a taskforce, whatever you choose to call it, composed of people from both sides of the issue who are knowledgeable, who are interested and enthusiastic, to solve the problem, and I don’t believe that it is an insolvable one.
Summary of Hearing Testimony
The testimony from twenty witnesses was not unlike that heard at some other Select Committee hearings.
Many park residents characterized California’s mobilehome parks as problem plagued, and there were allegations which ran the gamut from threats and intimidation by park managers to adult or senior only problems, rent increases, lack of upkeep in the parks, unequal enforcement of the park rules, and replacement of garbage service with dumpsters . Not all of these complaints, however, relate specifically to the Mobilehome Residency Law.
Spokesmen for the Western Mobilehome Association, represent ing a fair portion of California’ s park owners, attempted to minimize these problems by assuring the committee that member parks and their managers know the law and deal carefully with park residents. Park residents often expect too much of management in regulating the behavior of other tenants, according to the park owners, and the law imposes too many limits and costs on the ability of management to deal with and evict “problem” tenants.
Although none of the witnesses addressed the major questions outlined in the committee’s background paper concerning alternatives to the legal system in enforcing the Residency Law, and the cost thereof, there were a number of individual suggestions.
Some called for specific changes of existing sections of the Mobilehome Residency Law dealing with prospective purchasers and the so-called “meet and consult” provisions. A few suggested increases in monetary penalties for violations of MRL provisions, with an increase in penalties for each subsequent judgment involving the same violation. Several letters addressed to the committee have recommended the establishment of a state licensing mechanism for mobilehome park managers.
A taskforce or ad hoc committee of park residents (GSMOL) and park owners (WMA) to look into Residency Law enforcement problems and come up with voluntary guidelines was mentioned by both GSMOL and WMA representatives.
A call for legislation to give greater authority to local district attorneys and public prosecutors to take on Mobilehome Residency I,aw cases was proposed. Presumably, this is the con cept embodied in Senate Bill 1169 by Senator Dills, introduced in the State Senate just recently (see appendix).
Another witness suggested that both park managers and resi dents be provided with more information on the Mobilehome Residency Law, and that a “legal handbook” or guidebook on how to deal with problems and violations under the Residency Law would give residents a better understanding of what they can do, including the filing of Small Claims Court actions.
Implied but not stated in the testimony of many witnesses, however, was the prospect of some kind of state enforcement of the Mobilehome Residency Law, presumably not through the legal system but through some governmental or bureaucratic monitoring and disciplining of alleged code violations in each park.
Even given the fact that some park residents may not be in a position to defend themselves or stand up for their rights under the Mobilehome Residency Law, because of their age or lower income status, or both, there are no instant answers to the enforcement problem.
The committee cannot recommend a massive state or governmental program to monitor and discipline civil code violations in mobilehome parks . Questions on the cost of such a program and how it would work have not been adequately answered. How such a program – within the due process protections of our system of government – could circumvent appeals to the courts – and thus avoid what witnesses feel are the complexities and costs of the legal system – is not clear.
Some of the specific suggestions to the committee, however, are worthy of consideration. These include:
First, the necessity of greater awareness on the part of both management and residents of their rights and obligations under the Mobilehome Residency Law, what the parties can and cannot do, means of enforcement, and the penalties for violation. This can be accomplished through the dissemination of material by GSMOL, WMA and the state’s Mobilehome Ombudsman as well as the sponsorship of seminars in different areas of the state.
Second, the establishment of volunary mediation panels or committees in local areas by park owners and park residents associations working together to try to resolve complaints short of legal action.
Third, the changing of specific provisions of the Mobilehome Residency Law, such as increasing damages for intentional violations or increasing damages for repeat violations order to bring about greater compliance.
Lastly, the grant of authority to local District Attorneys, at their option, to prosecute Mobilehome Residency Law Violations in the courts, as a means of helping to deal with at least the most flagrant cases.
Again, there is no magic wand of government which will assure compliance by private parties to disputes involving civil cases, including violations of the Mobilehome Residency Law. The thrust of change in this regard should be to improve on the dissimination of information, upon the procedures, upon the evidence, and means of access to the legal system, through which greater enforcement of these civil provisions can be obtained.
Observations by MH Life Magazine
We have read through the document titled “Mobilehome Residency Law Enforcement Problems.” The testimony of GSMOL leaders and MH owners was outstanding. They were eloquent! COMO-CAL, THE VOICE (COMO-CAL’s newsletter from 2005 thru 2011), and now MH Life Magazine have been writing about these issues for 10 years. Why? Because we have experienced similar issues.
What Issues Were Mentioned In The Hearing? Here is a list (not complete)
- interference of sales
- coercion, harassment and intimidation by managers
- threats of eviction; threats of reprisal
- senior abuse
- emotional stress and detoriation in personal health
- buyers of homes have no rights (they are not protected by the MRL)
- buyers are forced to sign long term leases
- illegal pre-sale fix-up requirements
- MH owners have the biggest investment in their park
- older homes don’t meet code requirements and must be moved out of the park
- park owners share tactics
- government is doing anything to help
- the present process (hiring an attorney) doesn’t work
- few MRL versed attorneys
- using present method of enfocement is often in vain
- difficult to hire an attorney
- seniors and fixed income folks least able to carry the financial burden of litigation
- HCD doesn’t take code enforcement seriously
- no incentive for park owners to change their ways or their tactics