MHP Residents Rental Agreement Options

Renting a site in a mobile home park is far different than renting an apartment, condo or single- family home. The State of California has adopted many laws that specifically apply to mobile home park tenancies and not to other types of rentals. Because of the different rules that apply in mobile home parks, the rental agreements and leases are longer and more comprehensive than the short few pages of a “standard” rental agreement for renting an apartment, condo or single-family home.

When a mobile home buyer makes the decision to move into a rental mobile home park, the process is more involved than just purchasing the mobile home. In fact, as a prospective mobile home park tenant they need to complete transactions that do not apply to other forms of rental housing. The purchaser of a mobile home that is located in a mobile home park must first apply to the mobile home park for residency and be approved. The mobile home purchaser may not finalize the purchase of the mobile home without first receiving the approval from the park owner to move into the park and completing and signing all of the park documents. Once this is done the sale of the mobile home may be finalized.

Included in the “move-in” documents to be signed by the prospective mobile home park resident are various disclosure forms, the parks rules and regulations, pet agreements and the rental agreement. In mobile home parks, the State law requires a park owner to offer the tenants a 12-month lease. The prospective tenant, or current resident, is responsible for picking between a month- to-month rental agreement or a one-year agreement. Additionally, many parks offer a third choice of a long-term lease agreement, which is defined as being longer than 12-months.

Typical long-term agreements are five, ten or fifteen years, but some extend to 20 years or longer. These long-term lease agreements outline in detail what the rent increases will be and under what circumstances rents may be increased. As an example, if government imposes tax increases or fees on the mobile home park, the lease will outline how those increases will be passed through to the residents. Often the lease will address the change in rent upon resale and will also address how disputes will be resolved.

A long-term lease provides certainty to mobile home owners regarding future costs. However, at any time if a mobile home owner wishes to sell their mobile home and move, they simply provide notice to the park owner.

Long term lease agreements are indeed complex legal. It is similar to other legal documents signed by business owners to lease land or a building or office space. Additionally, all legal documents must be written in English.

In this case, the mobile home owner is leasing or renting a site for the mobile home they own. Along with the site comes the various amenities offered within the mobile home park community including various facilities, as well as management and maintenance.

When considering signing a lease document — regardless of the term — it is important to review it very carefully and to fully under- stand the legal document. Park owners encourage park residents and prospective residents, who are considering long term leases, to have their legal advisor review the lease contract.

Affordable Housing vs Low-Income Housing

There is lots of talk these days about the need for more low-income affordable housing in the Southern California region. It is important to recognize the difference between “low-income” housing and “affordable” housing.

Low-income housing is subsidized by the government. There are several projects throughout the region that are monitored by local government housing authorities. An on-line search or call to the regional housing authorities will provide a list of available low-income housing rental units. Some are for veterans, seniors and others for all-ages. There are also low-income for-sale housing projects sponsored by housing authorities and by organizations like Habitat for Humanity.

In these low-income housing developments, renters or home buyers must meet strict income guidelines. Only low-income can qualify to live in these developments.

The income is determined by the income of individuals or families, and includes funds in the bank and investments.

Affordable housing, on the other hand, is not limited to low-income renters or purchasers. There is no limit to the amount of income a person or family has. It is their choice to live in the available affordable housing. Apartments, condominiums, and mobile home parks/manufactured housing communities are generally considered affordable housing stock

in the various individual jurisdictions’ housing plans. However, the location of the housing also dictates the cost. The same apartment or mobile home will sell/rent for far different rates on the beach vs. inland, as an example.

Mobile home Parks/Manufactured Housing Communities, offer a lifestyle choice that attracts a wide range of renters and home buyers. Mobile Home Park residents are both home owners and renters. They own the mobile home or manufactured home and rent the site or lot within a Mobile Home Park for their home. The Park is a little city that provides all of the services and facilities to the renters of individual home sites. The owner of the Park is responsible, just like a city, to maintain the streets, utility systems, public areas facilities, and amenities.

Living in Mobile Home Park is a lifestyle choice, not necessarily an income driven decision. Residents living in Parks may be high income retirees or may have moderate incomes. Many Mobile Home Parks are senior housing communities and attract seniors who are down-sizing after selling a home.

Other Parks are attractive to families because, unlike an apartment and many condominiums, most lots/sites rented in a Mobile Home Park have yards, patios, and parking spaces adjacent to the home. In addition, these communities often offer many amenities such as a clubhouse and pool, which are attractive to both seniors and families.

There is no doubt that the cost of housing in many areas of Southern California is higher than many other regions. Inland counties such as Riverside and San Bernardino, a region referred to as the Inland Empire, offer considerably more reasonable housing than most areas of coastal Orange County, as an example. While rents in a typical Orange County Mobile Home Park may be over $1,200 a month, a similar Park in areas of the Inland Empire monthly rents are as low as $600.

Living in a mobile home park provides a unique lifestyle for all ages and all income groups