Resident-Owned Parks

Can residents buy their rental Park and convert it to resident ownership?

There are an estimated one hundred and fifty resident-owned mobilehome parks (rops) in California, the majority of which have been purchased by the residents and converted to some form of resident ownership. In a rop, residents have a voice in setting park policies and controlling park rents. Since residents own their spaces or shares in the park property, they have an incentive to maintain the park in good condition. Resident owners also gain equity on their interest in the park, which they can cash in on when they sell. But the conversion process can be complicated, as park owners are often reluctant to sell to residents, residents may not be able to agree to purchase the park, and initial costs of purchasing may be challenging. The state and some local governments may be able to provide some loans or other limited financial assistance. More information can be found in the booklet A Guide to Mobilehome Park Purchases by Residents, found at www.dre.ca.gov.

Resource: What Every Mobile Home Owner Should Know, published by the Senate Select Committee on Manufactured Home Communities.

How is my mobilehome taxed?

Mobilehomes manufactured and sold new prior to July 1, 1980 are usually subject to an annual state vehicle license fee (VLF). Mobilehomes manufactured on or after that date and those permanently fixed to the land are subject to local property taxation. The sale of new mobilehomes and the resale of used mobilehomes subject to the VLF are also subject to a sales tax. Homeowners may have to pay property taxes on their mobilehome accessories (carports, cabanas, etc.), depending on the value of the accessories. In newly developed parks or spaces, new buyers may also have to pay a school impact fee. Mobilehome owners in parks may also be subject to a rent ‘pass through’ of certain government fees, such as rent control space fees or park inspection fees.

Resource: What Every Mobile Home Owner Should Know, published by the Senate Select Committee on Manufactured Home Communities. 

Mobilehome vs. Manufactured Home

Are you aware of the difference between a mobile home and a manufactured home? They sound interchangeable but they actually have two different definitions, according to the California Health and Safety Code. Read the two definitions below and see if you had the correct knowledge of the two:

HSC 18007: “Manufactured Home”

Means a structure, that was constructed on or after June 15, 1976, is transportable in one or more sections, is eight body feet or more in width, or 40 body feet or more in length in the traveling mode, or when erected on site, is 320 or more square feet, is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a single-family dwelling with or without a foundation when connected to the required utilities, and includes the plumbing, heating, air conditioning , and electrical systems contained therein. Manufactured home includes any structure that meets all the requirements of this paragraph and with the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.

HSC 18008: “Mobilehome”

Means a structure, that was constructed prior to June 15, 1976, is transportable in one or more sections, is eight body feet or more in width, or 40 body feet or more in length in the traveling mode, or when erected on site, is 320 or more square feet, is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a single-family dwelling with or without a foundation system when connected to the required utilities, and includes the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems contained therein. Mobilehome includes any structure that meets all the requirements of this paragraph and complies with the state standard s for mobilehomes in effect at the time of construction.

Now that you are aware of the difference between the two terms, will you be able to identify the home you or your neighbors live in?

Resource: California Department of Housing and Community Development, and California Legislative Information

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=HSC&division=13.&title=&part=2.&chapter=1.&article=

Park Rules & Regulations

The following is an excerpt taken from the pamphlet, What Every Mobile Home Owner Should Know, published by the Senate Select Committee on Manufactured Home Communities.

Why do parks have rules and regulations?

Most mobilehome parks have rules that restrict or regulate resident conduct relating to such issues as pets, parking, noise, recreational or common facilities, or home and lot maintenance, among others. Rules may be short and simple, or lengthy and restrictive, depending on the type of management and size of the park.

How are parks rules and regulations enforced?

Park rules and regulations accompany the park rental agreement and are enforceable under the

MRL. The MRL provides that a park may change a rule or regulation by issuing a 6-month written notice to residents, or a 60-day written notice if the rules relate to park recreational facilities. Violations of rules are enforced by the park through termination of tenancy (see the following Eviction section), a court-ordered injunction, or with regard to lot maintenance by assessment of reasonable fees, but park rules have to be “reasonable” as interpreted by a court in the case of an injunction or termination of tenancy for a rule violation. The management must provide prospective park residents with a copy of the park rules and the MRL if they ask for them at the time of application for tenancy.

Resource: What Every Mobile Home Owner Should Know, published by the Senate Select Committee on Manufactured Home Communities

Fee and Tax Waiver Program

Do you own your mobile home? Can you provide an official Certificate of Title from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD)? If you have purchased your mobile home but you do not have the proper papers for ownership, you may not legally own your home.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has started a program, effective since January 1, 2017, for a fee and tax waiver for eligible manufactured home and mobile home owners, so that they can become the registered owner. You are eligible for this program if ALL of the following apply to you:

  1. Your home was registered in California in the past
  2. You have not registered your home with the California Department of Housing and Community Development
  3. You are not participating in HCD’s Fee and Tax Waiver Program

If you have questions about the program, call (800) 952-8356, or email 587questions@hcd.ca.gov.

More information on this program can be found at the following link:

Resource: http://www.hcd.ca.gov/manufactured-mobile-home/registration-titling/587.shtml

Mobile Home Fire Prevention

According to a study done by AARP and Foremost Insurance Group, the leading cause of mobile home fires is insufficient maintenance of the home and its mechanical system. For example, your clothes dryer needs to be cleaned for lint after every use and the attached lint vent needs to be cleaned about twice a year. You can accidentally start a fire in your dryer if you don’t property clean and maintain appliances as instructed in the manual. This applies to other appliances and heating systems that you own, such as space heaters, woodstoves, water heaters, fireplaces, and furnaces, to name a few.

There are other careless accidents that cause many fires in mobile homes.  It is important for everyone to be prepared for these types of situations. Regardless of the type of mobile home you reside in, do you have an exit plan? Do you have a smoke detector installed with sufficient battery to alert you? Do you have family, friends, or caretakers that you can call to assist you in the time of need? These are only a few questions you need to ask yourself so that you can be prepared in case of emergencies. Most people live thinking such disaster could never happen to them, but it never hurts to take some time to think about being prepared.

Make sure to read the full article by AARP and Foremost Insurance Group on Fire Prevention.

Resource: https://www.aarpforemost.com/mobile-home-safety-fire-prevention.asp

Also, visit the links below for additional information about fire safety and disaster preparedness.

http://www.gardusinc.com/safety-tips.html

http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/safety-in-the-home/escape-planning/fire-safety-in-manufactured-homes

http://emergencyplanguide.org/neighborhood-organization/survive-a-disaster-in-a-mobile-home/

Possibility of Park Closure or Conversion

If you are a mobile home owner or you live in a mobile home park, you probably already know the possibility of park closure or park conversion. But are you familiar with the details of your rights in those scenarios? The following are some important facts you need to know — an excerpt from the pamphlet What Every Mobile Home Owner Should Know, published by the Senate Select Committee on Manufactured Home Communities.

What are my rights if the park is closed for conversion to another use?

Normally, a permit from the city or county planning agency or approval of a zoning change will be required to convert a mobilehome park to another use. If no local permits are required to convert the park to another land use, the management must give you a minimum 12-month written termination notice. Where permits are required, the park management must give homeowners at least a 15-day written notice that management will be appearing before the local agency to obtain a permit for the park’s change of use. The local agency must require the park to submit a report on the impact that the park’s conversion will have on the ability of residents to find alternative places to relocate, and the local agency, at its discretion, may require the park to pay the reasonable costs of residents’ relocation as a condition of obtaining the permits. Once all permits have been obtained, the management must give homeowners a six-month written termination notice. The park management must also give prospective homeowners a written notice of any planned park conversion before they move in.

Resource: What Every Mobile Home Owner Should Know, published by the Senate Select Committee on Manufactured Home Communities

Mobilehome Assistance Center

What was formerly known and still is referenced on the California Housing and Community Development Site as the Mobilehome Ombudsman, is now called the Mobilehome Assistant Center.

The Mobilehome Assistant Center is a great resource to use when you have questions regarding mobilehome ownership, compensation for a fraudulent mobilehome sale, unlawful practices by dealers or salesperson, installation and inspection on manufactured homes, and so much more. They also have forms you can download, such as request for assistance on manufactured home sales and mobilehome park assistance.

Be sure to visit the link below to see all of the resources and forms they have.

Mobilehome Assistance Center: http://www.hcd.ca.gov/manufactured-mobile-home/mobile-home-ombudsman/index.shtml

Who is Responsible for Maintaining Your Mobile Home Site?

If you don’t know the answer to this question, it is time to review your Park’s Rules and Regulations!  In almost every mobile home park, the rules are very specific that it is the mobile home owner’s responsibility to maintain the site (lot) upon which your mobile home sits.  The mobile home owner rents the site, but is the one who takes care of the landscaping, porch, and carport.  Most parks restrict the storage of appliances or other items outside of the mobile home and also require that the landscaping on the site be properly planted and maintained.  Some parks restrict the types and number of potted plants, as an example.

Section 798.12 of the Mobilehome Residency Law states, “‘Tenancy’ is the right of a homeowner to use of a site within a mobilehome park on which to locate, maintain, and occupy a mobilehome, site improvements, and accessory structures for human habitation, including the use of the services and facilities of the park.”

Furthermore, section 798.15 (g) of the Mobilehome Residency Law states that the rental agreement should also contain the following:

A provision stating that management may charge a reasonable fee for services relating to the maintenance of the land and premises upon which a mobilehome is situated in the event the homeowner fails to maintain the land or premises in accordance with the rules and regulations of the park after written notification to the homeowner and the failure of the homeowner to comply within 14 days. The written notice shall state the specific condition to be corrected and an estimate of the charges to be imposed by management if the services are performed by management or its tenancy.

If you have a question about what your park rules require, be sure to take time to sit down and review the rules with your park manager.

Reference: The 2017 Mobile Home Residency Law, http://mobilehomes.senate.ca.gov/publications

Energy-Efficient Mobile Homes

As a resident in any type of home, wouldn’t it be great to reduce the cost of utility bills in the long-run? Manufactured homes produced in recent years are able to be designed in a way that allows them to be energy-efficient, much like a traditional home. If you already live in a manufactured home, you can make modifications to it so that you can improve its energy efficiency. The following are several changes you can make to your manufactured home to prevent heat loss, provided by the US Department of Energy:

  1. Install energy-efficient windows and doors
  2. Add insulation to the belly
  3. Make general repairs (caulking, ducts, etc.)
  4. Add insulation to your walls
  5. Install insulated skirting
  6. Install a belly wrap
  7. Add insulation to your roof or install a roof cap.

The US Department of Energy reported that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory conducted experiments by making these modifications on pre-1976 manufactured homes, and found that there was a 31% reduction in heating fuel usage.

There are many more modifications you can make on your mobile home so that it can be energy efficient. Be sure to visit their website to read the full and detailed information, and also discuss your ideas with your park manager before starting a project.

Resource:  https://energy.gov/energysaver/energy-efficient-manufactured-homes