LIVING IN A MOBILEHOME PARK # 1
Twenty-nine years ago my husband and I contracted to have our home investment installed in a mobilehome park. We thought it would be a wonderful way to spend our retirement years. We would have a home of our own, we would have the use of the park facilities, as much social life as we liked, and meet and make good friends who helped each other in time of need. Sounded like a wonderful way of life.
We had never lived in a mobilehome park before, so after looking over the models we picked out the one that suited our needs and choose a lot. We contracted with the park owner to install our home investment and to build an attached two-car garage. We were presented with a ten year lease and as we both had been in business for many years and familiar with leases we agreed with the provisions and signed the lease. With the lease we were presented with a copy of the Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL).
I soon learned that Mobilehome Residency Law provisions are unique as to the terms and conditions of park tenancy. MRL Provisions such as the homeowners right to the use of the lot, the lot installations, and the park facilities and services. The park owner is required to give a written Rental Agreements, and that a lease is a rental agreement. A provision whereby the Legislature protects our home investments and there are only five reasons a tenancy can be terminated, only after the homeowner has been given the proper notices, and there is a court hearing where it is up to the management to prove that a rule or regulation has in fact been violated. The MRL also contains many more unique provisions that the homeowner should consider.
Over the years I also learned of the unique provisions in the Mobilehome Parks Act (MPA) (the Health and Safety Code and Title 25). These are all the standards and requirements in the park owner’s permit to construct a mobilehome park. These standards and requirements are to be provided before a Permit to Operate is issued, and maintained for the yearly permit renewal. Under the MRL these standards and requirements of the Permit to Operate are the terms and conditions of park tenancy, and no rental agreement shall contain a provision by which the homeowner waives his or her rights. Any such waiver shall be deemed contrary to public policy and void.
The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is the Governmental Agency responsible for enforcing the provisions of the MPA. When all the standards and requirements of construction are completed HCD issues the Permit to Operate, and if the standards and requirements are maintained HCD issues the yearly renewal. Any change to an existing park requires an application for an alternate permit and HCD approval. MPA provision stated it is a felony to alter an existing park without the proper HCD permit.
I had to learn about these unique mobilehome laws the hard way, and feel there should be better enforcement to protect the homeowner’s home investment. That is why I am thankful of the opportunity to share my knowledge in this Mobilehome Magazine.
LIVING IN A MOBILEHOME PARK # 2 – published July 2014
Because mobilehome parks are unique, and homeowners have been enticed to place their home investment in the parks, agreed to improve and maintain the park owner’s lot, pay an agreed monthly rent for the use of the lot, installations to the lot, and park facilities, it is important for subscribers of the Mobilehome Magazine to be kept informed of their rights and what is happening throughout the state. Gain Information that would be a benefit to them. Education plus Action equals Justice.
Over the years I have learned what the Mobilehome Parks Act standards and requirements are for a park owner’s permit to operate, and it is a mobilehome owners duty to see that the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) the governmental enforcement agency does its statutory duty to see that these MPA laws are enforced. Laws that require the park owner to do his contractual duty to maintain the park, to protect the homeowner’s home investment.
We mobilehome owners cannot enjoy the normal influences of a free market in the same way the apartment or house renters; who have no investment in their living unit and are free to move. Nor do we homeowners in parks have equal bargaining power. This leads to an environment that is inherently fertile for illegal and immoral practices, abuse by greedy or unscrupulous park owners. Therefore the Legislature has enacted these unique mobilehome laws to protect the homeowner’s investment. The laws are there, it is so important that homeowners know their rights, under these laws. Advise the management that they know their rights. Not be intimidated by dictatorial managers, or stand for selective enforcement of the park rules and regulations.
Remember you have rights under the laws. The Mobilehome Residency Law, states a rental agreement cannot contain a provision by which a homeowner waives his or her rights. This would include all the MPA standards and requirements for the park owner’s permit to operate.
The key is to know the standards and requirements for the park owner’s permit to operate and see that HCD Administrators are enforcing these laws.
Donna Matthews, long time mobilehome owner
Donna Matthews, Long time Mobilehome Owner. Contact Donna through Mobilehome Magazine