Do residents have to pay the cable TV service fee even if they don’t use it? Also, can the park prohibit satellite dishes?
The park can charge a fee for services actually rendered with a 60-day notice if it is not already provided for in the rental agreement. (Civil Code §§798.31, 798.32) If the resident has signed a long-term lease agreeing to pay the fee, they may be obligated to continue to pay it until the end of the term of the lease. A 1997 California appellate case, Greening v. Johnson, held that cable TV is not an essential utility and a park cannot charge a resident a fee for such a service not actually used by the resident. Moreover, the Telecommunication Act of 1996 provides that community rules and regulations or local ordinances cannot prohibit the installation of a dish antenna on one’s home or property if it is not more than 39 inches in diameter and does not constitute a health and safety problem. Park rules can regulate placement or design of the antenna on the home if reasonable (e.g. rules don’t preclude acceptable reception) but cannot ban satellite dishes outright.
Some residents’ water usage is down, but their water bill has increased. How do they find out if they are being overcharged?
Contact the park management. If the park cannot help, call the County Sealer (Weights and Measures) and ask them to check the accuracy of the meter. Check for plumbing leaks under home or in fixtures. If none of these steps resolve the problem, the resident may wish to file a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) about rate issues and overcharges but only if the park receives water from a water utility or supplier regulated by the CPUC. If water is CPUC-regulated, resident may only be charged a water rate that the regulated utility would be able to charge residents if they were served directly by the utility. This would include a usage rate and a customer service charge (for meter reading and service). However, the majority of parks are not served by regulated water utilities but by municipalities, water districts, utility districts, or even the park’s own water well system, and are not regulated by the CPUC. One exception is that the CPUC may take complaints from residents of parks regarding service or rates charged by parks using their own water systems or underground wells. If the park is subject to local mobilehome park rent control, rent control authorities may be able to provide some relief depending upon how the rent ordinance is written or administered. Otherwise, the resident would have to complain to the appropriate governing board of the municipality, water or utility district actually furnishing water to the park.