There has been some concerns regarding the title of my book laws “Mobile Home Wars.” CoMO-CAL has asked me to discuss why I feel mobile home owners ARE in a WAR with some park owners and managers.
First of all, there are several definitions of the word War(s) according to the Webster’s Dictionary. A couple are; 1. To be in active or vigorous conflict. 2. A state of hostility, conflict, antagonism, or a struggle or competition between opposing forces for a particular end.
From 1978 on, we were in an all out war between the owners of manufactured housing and the landlords in Colorado and many other states. Things were so bad in Colorado, the news media and government officials were calling mobile home parks “Concentration Camps.” Former Richard D. Lamm had to issue an executive order in 1980 for the Colorado Attorney General to investigate landlords and prosecute anyone who was violating state laws. Over 500 official complaints were filed with the Attorney General from the Denver area alone. About 300 complaints were filed from the Western Slope of Colorado by homeowners. There were major conflicts between landlords and homeowners over property rights. Most of the information about this is in my book, “Mobile Home Wars.”
At that time, mobile homes were personal property, and the homeowners had few rights as property owners. The landlords had more power and property rights than any homeowner. We did have a Mobile Home Landlord/Tenant Act, but it only treated us the same as apartment dwellers, not home owners. That is still the case today in 2007 in every state except for Texas.
It is my belief that in 49 states today, we still have a war going on between landlords and the owners of manufactured housing over property rights. There is one main reason for this. The owners of manufactured housing do not have equal rights, and equal protection under state laws that all other property owners have.
In every state, all property owners who own buildings, structures, and yes, housing on leased land are regulated by Real Estate Land-lease or Ground-lease Laws EXCEPT for those who own manufactured housing. Many states use a Mobile Home Landlord/Tenant Law to regulate manufactured housing on leased land. This law was based on apartment dweller laws. In 16 states like Illinois, manufactured housing is classified and regulated the same as motor vehicles or personal property. In Illinois, and some other states, manufactured housing is regulated by the state motor vehicle departments, not real estate commissions.
The 14th. Amendment to the United States Constitution states; No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within it’s jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Today in many states, we have organizations who represent the owners of manufactured housing who are fighting for equal protection, and equal rights under state laws for those who own manufactured housing. The landlords, their corporations, and their organizations are fighting every year to maintain their control over their property, and the property of those who own manufactured housing on leased land. This conflict that has been ongoing for about 40 years! YES, we are in a war over property rights. So far, the landlords have won most of the battles. If the owners of manufactured housing do not want to fight for their property rights, then give up your constitutional rights requiring states to provide you with your equal rights and protection, and surrender. If you do want to fight for your property rights, then join your statewide organizations like the California Coalition of Mobile Home Owners (CoMO-CAL) and support them.
Donald R. DeVore