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

Rain Weather Means Roof and Gutter Repairs!

detail_1104_cnx_coolroofIt is important to make sure your roof and rain gutters are in good repair before rainy season arrives!  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

Thank you to Foremost Insurance website for this valuable information. Be sure to click on the link below to read the detailed information.

Resource: http://www.foremost.com/mygreathome/mobile-home-repair/exterior/coating-your-roof.asp

Image Credit: http://www.askgeorgeparks.com/orange-county-roof-tips/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/detail_1104_cnx_coolroof.jpg

Selling or Moving Your Mobile Home

Have you ever considered selling, or even moving a mobile home?  The following are some important facts you need to know.

What rights do I have to sell my mobile home in the park?

Despite the “mobile” connotation, once installed in a park most mobile homes are not moved but are resold in the place of the park. Mobile homes can be expensive to move, but sometimes that alternative is a consideration if the rent in the new location is significantly lower than the current location or you are moving your home to a lot you own.  The use of a private parcel for relocation of a mobile home from a park is subject to local laws.

The resale of a mobile home in the park involves management’s approval.  The Civil Code regulates home sales as follows:

  • The park management can require notice that you are selling your home in the park but they cannot require you to sell it to them unless you have signed a legal document that states differently.
  • The park management cannot charge you or your agent a fee as a condition of the sale of your mobile home in the park unless you give them written authorization to perform a service in the sale.
  • The park management cannot require the selling owner or owner’s heir to use the management or a dealer or broker approved by the management as an agent in the sale, and the management cannot show or list the home for sale without first obtaining your written authorization.
  • The park management cannot require you to remove your mobile home from the park upon sale to another party, unless the home:
    1. Does not meet minimum health, safety and construction codes standards; or
    2. Is in significantly run-down condition and disrepair, as reasonably determined by the management; or
    3. Is not a mobile home or manufactured home (i.e. smaller than 8 x 40 feet in size).
  • The homeowner has the right to put up a ‘for sale’ sign in the window or side of the home, or the yard facing the street on A or H type frame if it does not extend into the street. The sign face cannot exceed 24 x 36 inches in size and may include the name, address and phone numbers of the owner or agent. Information tubes for leaflets about the home for sale may be attached to the sign or the home.
  • The park management has the right to approve the buyer of your home if it remains in the park. The management must inform you and the buyer in writing within 15 business days whether they accept or reject your buyer for residency. The management may only reject the buyer for two reasons:
    1. Buyer’s inability to pay the rent and charges of the park – usually based on an income-to-rent ratio and the buyer’s credit history; or
    2. Buyer’s inability to comply with the park’s rules and regulations – usually based on past rental history or conduct in other mobile home parks or apartments.
  • Mobile home owners and their sales agents must provide their buyers with a mobile home resale or transfer disclosure statement (TDs) on used mobile homes that lists the home’s features, defects, and code violations, if any. The park management must also provide buyers of homes in the park with a park disclosure check-off form indicating any problems with specified park facilities before they sign a rental agreement to move into the park.
  • Every mobile home sold or resold on or after January 1, 2009 must have a smoke alarm installed in every sleeping room.

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

 

Worries of Eviction as a Mobile Home Owner

As a mobile home owner, are you familiar with the rules and regulations that you need to comply? The following are some important facts you need to know, taken from the pamphlet What Every Mobile Home Owner Should Know, published by the Senate Select Committee on Manufactured Home Communities.

Eviction – As a homeowner, can I be evicted from the park?

Yes. The park management may evict you if:

  • You have received notice by a government agency that you are violating a local ordinance or state law and have not complied with the law within a reasonable period of time.
  • Your conduct in the park constitutes a substantial annoyance to other residents or homeowners.
  • You don’t pay the rent, utilities or reasonable charges within five days of the due date. IF you are late in paying the rent, you will be notified that you have three days to pay or vacate the tenancy. Full payment within three days puts you back in good standing, unless you are late in paying the rent, utilities, or reasonable charges three times within a 12-month period.
  • You are convicted of specified crimes, such as prostitution or drug offenses, committed in the park.
  • You don’t comply with ‘reasonable’ park rules and regulations (management must attach them to your rental agreement when you move into the park). The management must give you a written notice that a rule has been violated, after which you have seven days to adhere to the rule before the management can issue you a termination notice. If you have violated a rule three or more times within a 12-month period, the management may issue you a termination notice without waiting seven days for you to correct the rule violation.
  • Your mobilehome park is condemned or is closed for conversion to another use.

Unlike most apartment tenancies, however, the park management must give homeowners a 60-day notice of termination and can evict you only for these specified (just cause) reasons. Upon a termination notice, the park not only may terminate your tenancy but also require you to remove your home from the park by the end of the 60-day period. During this 60-day period, you also have the right to try to resell your home in place in the park.

In the termination notice, the management must specify why you are being evicted and include such facts as the date, place and circumstances concerning the reasons for the termination. If you stay in the park beyond the time allowed in the notice, the park management must file an action in court to evict you, known as an ‘unlawful detainer.’ In order to preserve your right to defend yourself in an unlawful detainer action, you must follow certain procedural requirements, including the filing of specified documents within a short time frame, usually five days. Most defendants in unlawful detainer actions are best advised to obtain legal representation so they can properly comply with these requirements. If you lose, the court may order your eviction carried out by a peace officer in a matter of weeks and you will probably lose your home if you cannot sell it or move it from the park. If you are actually evicted, the park management will file a warehouseman’s lien on the home, or through an abandonment proceeding, conduct an auction, and eventually gain title to it.

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

How to Make 2017 the Best Year Ever

As we welcome the new year, many of us wish to make it the best year ever. But how can we have a great year without putting some effort into it? There is one thing that we all can do — that many of us haven’t done in a long while — that will improve the quality of your life and the life of others around you.

It’s volunteering.

Let’s be honest. Volunteering sounds like a lot of work, especially for those who have full-time job.  But for those who are retired, it turns into a tremendous blessing. With any lifestyle you may have, consider the following benefits and values of volunteering:

  • The feeling of accomplishment: Giving up your time to do something for others can make you feel wonderful. Knowing that you chose to help others instead of sleeping in on the weekends will make you feel accomplished and productive. Helping kids with their homework at the local libraries or in your mobile home park club house instead of spending time watching television shows will make you feel like you make a difference.
  • Meet new people, make new connections: In any place that you volunteer, you will definitely meet new people. Depending on the type of the organization, you can even make new friends and new connections. Volunteering in your mobile home community will help expend your friendships. Talk with your park manager about starting a home work club and tutoring for children in your park, or ask about residents who are unable to get out much. Stopping by for a visit would mean a lot to them.
  • Learn something new: A great thing about volunteering with non-profit community organizations is that you can choose an organization that interests you, or you can choose one that is completely different and challenge yourself to something new. And through volunteering you can acquire new skills, new ideas, new hobby, or even a new perspective.
  • Get a new perspective: As long as you keep an open mind while volunteering, you will definitely gain some new perspectives. You will be humbled by your experiences of helping others. Perhaps you will realize how much you have rather than how much you don’t have.
  • Help save a life: There are many places that you can volunteer to help save a life other than hospitals. You can volunteer at a youth center or local Boys and Girls clubs to inspire young minds to stay above the influence and to stay in school. You can also volunteer at your local animal shelter to help improve the quality of life of the animals until they are adopted.

These are only some of the values and benefits of volunteering. But you can make your 2017 the best year ever if you can spare some time to volunteer. Many organizations are very flexible and will coordinate with your schedule so that you can make a difference. You can search for volunteer opportunities by reading your local newspaper or visiting your city website.  If you are a senior, contact your local Office on Aging.

If you live in Orange, Riverside, or San Bernardino Counties, you can use the links below to your county’s Office on Aging website.

Orange County: http://officeonaging.ocgov.com/opportunities/volunteer

Riverside County: http://www.rcaging.org/programs_services#vol

San Bernardino County: https://hss.sbcounty.gov/daas/ 

Thinking of Selling Your Home?

There are some very important things to do before you sell your home – whether you sell by owner or real estate agent.  First, review your Park’s rules and regulations, rental or lease agreements for important information regarding selling your home and signs that may be posted regarding the sale.

Prior to purchasing a manufactured home located in a rental park, the prospective buyer must be approved for tenancy in the park by the owner of the park.  The sale of a mobile home located in a mobile home park is a three-party, not two-party transaction. The buyer and seller must not only agree to terms on the sale of the home, but the buyer must also be approved for residency in the park by the park owner/management.

Park management can withhold approval on the basis of:
1) the buyer’s inability to pay the rent and charges of the park and 2) the buyer’s inability to comply with park rules and regulations as indicated by prior tenancies.

Although guidelines used by other landlords or public agencies for rental housing may be more lenient, many park owners impose higher income requirements to assure buyers will be able to afford future rent increases without causing the park problems, such as evictions.

The seller of a manufactured home must provide the buyer with certain disclosures, electrical equipment and appliances.