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.

 

Cupid’s Bow and Arrow Shine Strong on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is celebrated annually on
February 14, originating as a Christian Feast
day honoring Saint Valentine. This holiday
celebrates romance and love throughout
many regions of the world.

In Roman mythology, Cupid is the son
of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.
Cupid is often depicted with a bow and
arrow to pierce hearts, and cast a spell of
love. This spell is expressed in many ways on
Valentine’s Day, and Americans spend a lot
on love.

According to a survey by the National Retail
Federation, Americans spent $19.6 billion
for Valentine’s Day in 2018, and that figure
is projected to increase in 2019. Some of the
most popular items purchased on Valentine’s
Day are red roses, the flower of love, and
fancy heart shaped boxes of chocolates where
caramels and chocolate covered nuts are
among the most popular.

There are over 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards
exchanged every year in the US, and even
though Valentine’s Day has become one of the
most popular days to get engaged, 30% of all
adults skip celebrating the holiday entirely.
So, whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day
with a significant other or by yourself, this
day of love is to be enjoyed by all.

Source: www.womansday.com

It’s 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

Fresh Groceries and Prepared Meals Delivered to Your Door

Are you aware that fresh groceries can be
delivered to your door when it’s most convenient
for you? Instacart and many of your
local grocery stores offer same dame grocery
delivery service. Customers select groceries
through a web application and the order is
delivered by a personal shopper. Simply go
online to www.instacart.com and type in
your zip code.

You can shop from several stores and
retailers, where groceries can be delivered
to you in as little as an hour. You can also go
to your favorite grocery store’s website and
order home delivery directly through them.
Ordering fully cooked and prepared meals
from your favorite restaurants and having
them delivered to your door is easy too!!!
Grubhub and DoorDash are restaurant
delivery businesses that make life easy. You
can order online at www.grubhub.com or
www.doordash.com, and/or download their
apps on to your smartphone. Ordering is quick and easy,
and you are guaranteed to have hot food delivered to your door
and you are guaranteed whenever it is most convenient for you.

Meals on Wheels is also a program that
delivers meals to individuals at home who
are unable to purchase and prepare their
own meals. Meals on wheels operates
in every community. To find your local
Meals on Wheels Program you can call
1-888-998-6325 or visit their website at
www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/find-meals

Mobilehome Residency Laws Distributed in February

The California Civil Code Sections 798 regulate mobile home parks.  Another term for the Civil Codes is “Mobilehome Residency Law” or “MRL”.  These laws change depending on new laws or amendments adopted by the California legislature each year.  Park owners distribute the new updated laws to park residents by the first of February each year.  If there are no changes to the laws, then the park owner/management may make the MRL available to residents and not distribute to each household.  In 2019 there were no significant changes.

However, there is a new poster notifying mobile home owners of the change in the name of the Mobilehome Ombudsman to the Mobilehome Assistance Center.  Park owners/management are required to post this notice at the Park.  It is also on line at the following link:

www.hcd.ca.gov/manufactured-mobile-home/mobile-home-ombudsman/docs/MAC-Poster.pdf

Why are legal documents in English?

The California Civil Code addresses the management of legal documents in the State
of California in Section 1632. This section of the law states, among other things, that if a business owner negotiates contracts, including rental or lease agreements in a language other than English, then the business owner is required to translate legal
documents into all other listed languages, which are Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog,
Vietnamese, and Korean. It is not only time consuming, but difficult to translate
accurately into many different languages.

It is for this reason that attorneys representing business owners, including
mobile home parks, recommend that all legal documents and negotiations be done in
English.

When it is necessary for translation of the documents, the prospective resident or
current resident of a mobile home park, as an example, must provide their own interpreter
who must be 18 years of age or older.

Source: Insurance Information Institute.

Winterizing Your Mobile Home

When winterizing your mobile home, there are certain goals you want to achieve,
such as, eliminating cold air from coming in, preventing hot air from escaping and
preventing any water from leaking in. Here are few tips that will help prevent any these
from occurring.

Roof: A well-maintained roof can lower your energy bills and prevent costly water
damage. The edges and seams of a metal roof should be sealed every year. In most mobile homes, there is a cavity between the roof and the ceiling with only an inch
of fiberglass insulation running under the roof. Filling in this area will help properly
insulate your mobile home.

Skirting or Foundation Enclosure: Skirting helps to maintain a steady
temperature under the home, preventing pipes from freezing and other humidity
issues. Check the skirting, skirting vents, and entry places around your home, and
make sure it’s secure and undamaged. Replace individual panels if needed.

Plumbing: When setting out to winterize a mobile home, this should be one of the
biggest areas of concern for any mobile home owner. Mobile home plumbing is
prone to freezing over during the cold winter months, so if you live in an area that may pay attention to exposed pipes. One of the easiest methods to prevent water pipes from
freezing is heat tape. Heat tape contains a heating element encased in tape that is
wrapped around water pipes, it warms the pipes and prevents freezing. And, if you
are going to leave for an extended period of time, make sure you drain all water from the
plumbing.

Heating, Furnace: It’s very important to make sure your manufactured home furnace
operates safely and efficiently during winter weather. Most furnace manufacturers
recommend a professional inspection every year, and your utility company may
provide a free inspection. You should replacedisposable furnace filters regularly, and
wash, brush or vacuum permanent filters.

Source:   www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com

New Year New Mobile Home Improvements

The new year is on its way, and it is time
to start making plans to renew and refresh.
Perhaps a mobile home makeover is in your
future? Your home is your safe space. This
is where we do most of our living. It’s where
we work, play, rest and spend time with our
families. This is why you want your home to
reflect who you are, and what you enjoy in life.

There are many different and affordable ways
to renovate a mobile home, but you have to
decide what you want. You can renovate the
inside, outside or both, or only small areas of
these spaces. Renovation can be as simple as                                                           freshening things up, or it can be an
overwhelming and stressful process.

There are a few areas of concern to keep in
mind when renovating a mobile home. First,
money will be an issue. Avoid disappointment
by making a budget and planning around
it. Doing things yourself can be a great way
to save money. Second, renovations can be
disruptive, some measure of stress is to be
expected. Third, depending on what you are
doing, consider how long it will take, some
renovations take a significant amount of time
to complete. Finally, renovations are usually
a long-term change, so take your time before
making any decisions.

If your renovations may include the need
to obtain a permit from the California
Department of Housing and Community
Development (HCD) and approval from the
owner of the mobile home park where you
live. Be sure to check with HCD and your
park owner. HCD provides considerable
information on line about permits: www.hcd.
ca.gov. Review your park rules and regulations
and lease agreement and meet with
the on-site manager or owner of your park to
obtain approval for improvements made to
your site or home.