Are you ready for the next Earthquake?

Earthquakes have been shaking Southern Californian’s and their homes quite a bit over the last week. It is important to be prepared. Especially if you live in a mobile home, as stated on the American Red Cross website, “Mobile homes and homes not attached to their foundations are at particular risk during an earthquake.”

earthquake_steps

First you need to make sure your home is properly insured. Many things can happen to your home because of an earthquake including damage from fallen trees, fire and flooding from cracked pipes.

Next you must prepare a plan to keep you and your loved ones safe.  Choose a safe place in your home to ride out the earthquake far from any windows or other objects that could fall on you. According to the American Red Cross, “Doorways are no stronger than any other part of a structure so don’t rely on them for protection! During an earthquake, get under a sturdy piece of furniture and hold on. It will help shelter you from falling objects that could injure you during an earthquake.”

Bolt down all larger items including bookcases and china cabinets. Make sure you have an emergency kit with water, food and clothing.

Have a plan for after the earthquake stops. Know where you will go if there is damage to your home.

For more information about Earthquake preparedness download this checklist provided by the American Red Cross, or visit their website http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/earthquake.

Register Your Mobilehome California Saves Mobilehome Owners More Than $1.5 Million in Third Year


SACRAMENTO – Register Your Mobilehome California, a state program that provides waivers for past-due registration fees and taxes for mobilehomes and manufactured homes, has saved homeowners more than $1.5 million, collectively in third year of program run.
Besides the savings in fees and taxes, homeowners who have taken advantage of the program will also see additional benefits.They are now properly positioned to legally sell or transfer their property, apply for fire and flood insurance, receive financial assistance and rebates from utility providers, and obtain permits for repairs and upgrades.
The program, administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), allows people who acquired a mobilehome or manufactured home, but didn’t get the proper registration, to correct the issue and not have to pay back taxes
and fees.
“Register Your Mobilehome California gives owners the opportunity to avoid paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars in state and local taxes, fees, and penalties, giving them a more secure situation,” said HCD Director Ben Metcalf. “The program is scheduled to continue through the end of 2019, so please encourage your friends and family
members who are mobilehome owners to apply before time runs out.”
Mobilehome and manufactured home owners who have never applied for registration and don’t have title are eligible for the program. Under many circumstances, the owner never realized the mobilehome was supposed to have proper title and registration. Other owners
may have wanted title but couldn’t afford the back state and local taxes and fees.
For more information, visit http://registeryourmobilehomeca.org or call (800) 952-8356.Assistance is available in all languages. A Spanish-language version of the website, as well as other languages through Google Translate, can be accessed by clicking on the upper right corner of the homepage.
The California Department of Housing and Community Development is dedicated to the preservation and expansion of safe and affordable housing, so more Californians have a place to call home. Our team works
to ensure an adequate supply of housing for Californians and promotes the growth of strong communities through its leadership, policy and program development. For more information, please visit www.hcd.ca.gov.


Sleep – It’s a Valuable Skill!

Whether you are working or retired,
everyone needs sleep. Your mind and body
need to rest and recuperate from the day
before so that you can function well the next
day. But chances are, you have experienced
sleepless nights in your life from many
different reasons and factors.
If you have trouble sleeping, you could be
changing a few things in your daily habits so
that you can get better sleep. According to
W. Chris Winter, M.D., sleeping is a skill that
can be improved if you are not satisfied with
the quality of your sleep. Here are the most
common aspects of your life that could be
affecting your sleep every night, according to
an article written by Paula Spencer Scott:

  1. Too Much Stress — You could be
    causing unnecessary stress and
    anxiety to yourself by thinking too
    much about things that happened
    that day or anticipating what will
    happen the next day. Try to accept
    the fact that instead of worrying,
    you can try to get a good night’s
    sleep and deal with your problems
    the next day.
  2. Being Random — Your body will
    have a hard time keeping up if you
    don’t have a normal sleeping
    schedule. Instead of sleeping and
    waking up at different times every
    day, try to stick with a sleeping
    schedule that you’re comfortable
    with. The article states that adults
    need about seven to nine hours of
    sleep every night, and you probably
    already know if your body prefers
    more or less hours in that range.
    The key is to be consistent.
  3. Not Comfortable Enough — How
    many years have you had your
    mattress or pillows? How about
    your sheets and blankets? What are
    you wearing to sleep? Maybe it’s
    time to explore how comfortable
    you are with your arrangements.
  4. Pet Disturbance — Sometimes our
    beloved animal companions can be
    a little too disturbing at night. The
    author of the article reminds us
    that dogs have different sleeping
    cycles than humans, so they are
    likely to move around while you’re
    sleeping.
  5. Too Much Light — You probably
    already turn off your lights when
    you go to sleep, but do you turn off
    all your technology? There could be
    light coming from the television,
    computer, phone, printer, etc.,
    which can ultimately bother your
    sleep. In addition, close your blinds
    or curtains if you have strong
    moonlight coming through your
    window.
  6. Overthinking — I’m sure we have
    all done this: thinking about not
    getting enough sleep. The article
    states that this is a problem that
    builds upon itself. Thinking too
    much about whether you will fall
    asleep or get enough hours adds to
    your stress and anxiety. Do yourself
    a favor and think pleasant
    thoughts, and remind yourself that
    simply resting in bed is beneficial
    to your body.

Past Rainy Weather Means Roof and Gutter Repairs!

It is important to make sure your roof and rain
gutters are in good repair before and after the rainy season. According to Foremost Insurance, if
your mobile home has a metal roof it needs a
new coating every 2 years and touch-ups after
a storm. Their step-by-step guide teaches you
to make repairs on your own roof so that you
don’t have to hire a professional every 2 years.
They list all the materials you need and
present the following steps:

  1. Check the weather
  2. Inspect the roof
  3. Clean the roof
  4. Make repairs
  5. Rinse and check for puddling
  6. Coat seams
  7. Coat the roof
    Be sure to visit this website to read the detailed information. www.Foremost.com

Billions of Dollars of Unclaimed Property in California Might be Yours

Currently there are more than 48 million items worth $9.3 billion of unclaimed property in California’s custody. The California Controller, Betty Yee, is encouraging people to search the state’s online database to see if any of the property belongs to them. 

The unclaimed funds are a result of California Law protecting consumers by requiring banks, insurance companies and other businesses to transfer unclaimed property to the State Controller’s Office after a period of no activity, which is around three years. The state then becomes the guardian of abandoned savings and checking accounts, insurance benefits, uncashed checks, wages, stocks, bonds, safe deposit box contents and various gift cards.

To see if you have any unclaimed property, you can go to www.claimit.ca.gov. People who find property on the website can submit claims at the site, or by calling 1-800-992-4647. Anyone is able to search the entire unclaimed property database, and see all individuals and organizations who have items protected by the state. 

Time to Address Clean Up Inside & Outside Your Home

It’s that time of year to start focusing
on getting your home clean and organized
– inside and outside. Whether you want to
deep clean, declutter or organize, here are
some quick and easy tips to help you accomplish
your Spring Cleaning goals. Now is the
time to make sure that your parking area and
outside areas are in compliance with your
communities rules and regulations.
• Make a schedule: Evaluate your home and
what areas need the most work. Focus on
what you skip over during routine cleanings
and what you have put off until another time
in your outside carport and landscaped areas,
and start there. Having a plan on what room
and what outside storage and landscape areas
to clean first will keep you focused on the
task at hand.
• De-clutter: Studies have shown that
decluttering makes you more efficient and
keeps you organized. A disorganized home,
porch, storage sheds and carports adds to
your stress level and can take a toll on your
health. In some cases clutter becomes a trip
hazard to you and your family and guests. You
may be surprised at how refreshed you feel
after eliminating clutter from your life – both
inside and outside your home.
• Always Work from Top to Bottom and
Don’t Forget Walls and Windows: People
always remember to clean their floors, but
often forget about the walls and windows.
Keep in mind, not all dust settles on the floor.
When it comes to the windows, hot soapy
water and a squeegee works great, and don’t
forget to remove and wipe down the window
screens outside.
• Kitchen and Bathroom: Clean out the
pantry and refrigerator (throwing out old
items) and clean the appliances inside &
out. In bathrooms be sure to throw away old
toiletries and expired cosmetics.

It’s the Peak of Cold and Flu Season, Are you prepared?

In the United States, flu season occurs in the Fall and Winter.  Influenza viruses circulate year-round, but most flu activity peaks between December and February, and can last as late as May.

The Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs.  It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.   The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that the best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine, but is the vaccine right for you?  

The CDC recommends that you should get a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in your community.  It takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body.  The CDC also recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine.  Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complication from influenza, such as children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, and pregnant women.

As an added convenience, many drug stores and retail outlets provide flu shots.  It is easy to simply get a flu shot during your shopping trip!   For more information regarding the flu vaccine, contact your physician.

Source:  cdc.gov/flu

Thank Goodness for Community Rules

It is hard to imagine a mobile home park or manufactured housing community that does not have rules because in such a place there would be dogs running around off leases, cars parked in fire lanes preventing emergency vehicle access, signs posted everywhere, landscaping overtaking neighbor’s home sites, loud music and parties would go throughout the day and night, and on and on. 

When you think a rule in your community is may not needed, think again.  There are very good reasons for every rule and policy and the primary reason is to protect your quality of life and that of your neighbors.  It is very important to be aware of your community rules and regulations and to adhere to them.  It makes life a whole lot easier!

Understanding Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program administered by Social Security that benefits people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 and older.  Blind or disabled children may also receive SSI.

To receive SSI you must reside in the United States, not be absent from the country for 30 consecutive days or more, and be either a U.S. citizen or national, or a qualified non-citizen.

Many people who are eligible for SSI may also be entitled to Social Security Benefits.  However, SSI and Social Security differ.  Social Security benefits are paid to individuals who have worked long enough and paid Social Security Taxes, where SSI benefits are not based on prior work.  SSI is financed by general funds of the United States Treasury, personal income taxes, corporate and other taxes, and Social Security taxes do not fund the SSI program.

To qualify for SSI you must have limited income and few assets.  Effective January 2019, prior to reaching full retirement age, you will be able to earn up to $17,640.  After that, $1 will be deducted from your payment for every $2 that exceeds the limit.  Social Security requires SSI recipients to have less than $2,000 in assets for a single person, and less than $3,000 for a couple.   

The maximum Federal amounts of SSI that can be received are $771 per month for an eligible individual, and $1,157 per month for an eligible couple.  SSI benefits are paid on the first of the month, and recipients can also receive medical assistance (Medicaid) to pay for hospital stays, doctors bills, prescription drugs and other health costs.

If you are interested in applying for SSI you can schedule an appointment with a local Social Security office by calling 1-800-772-1213 or file an application online at www.ssa.gov.

You May Qualify for a Renter’s Tax Deduction

April 15th is fast approaching and everyone is searching for deductions that they can claim on their tax returns.  California renters who meet income and other requirements, can apply for a Nonrefundable Renter’s Credit of $60 (if filing separately) or $120 (if filing jointly).  Since mobile home owners rent their space they may qualify for the tax deduction.

The following must be met in order to qualify:

  1. You were a California resident for the entire year.
  2. Your California adjusted gross income is: $41,641 or less if your filing status is single or married filing separately. $83,282 or less if you are married filing jointly, head of household, or qualified widow(er).
  3. You paid rent for at least half of the year for property in California that was your principal residence.
  4. The property you rented was not exempt from California property tax
  5. You did not live with another person for over half of the year (such as a parent) who claimed you as a dependent.
  6. You were not a minor living with and under the care of a parent, foster parent, or legal guardian.
  7. You or your spouse were not granted a homeowner’s property tax exemption during the tax year.

Other deductions you may also be able to claim include home office deductions, job hunting costs and charitable giving.  If you have a home office that is used exclusively for business, you may be able to allocate a percentage of your rent, utilities, renter’s insurance and other expenses as a tax deduction.  Remember, if you do have a home office, make sure you are complying with all of the rules of the mobile home community in which you live.  If you looked for a new job, you may be able to get an income tax deduction for your job-search related costs such as the cost for resumes and postage, telephone charges and local travel for interviews.  And last, if you donated your time or goods to a charity, you may be able to deduct the value of the items you donated, the miles you traveled and the expenses you paid on behalf of the charity.

Be sure to check with your tax advisor or tax preparer to see if you qualify for the Nonrefundable Renter’s Credit or other deductions.  You may also contact the California Franchise Tax Board at 1-800-852-5711.