Mobile Home Resident Law 2017

The new 2017 “Civil Codes” or the MRL, as the codes are often referred to, will go into effect January 1, 2017.  Copies will be distributed to park residents by the park management by February 1, 2017.  To get a digital copy of 2017 Mobilehome Residency Law please visit:
http://mobilehomes.senate.ca.gov/publications.

There were not too many changes this year, but it is always good to be familiar with the State laws that govern the community in which you live.

Questions about the Mobilehome Residency Law may be asked of the California Mobilehome Ombudsman at (800) 952-5275.

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.

Mobile Home Improvements that Can Help Seniors Stay Independent and in their Home longer.

No one wants to have to leave their home because it has become too hard to get around or reach things. Even the healthiest seniors can struggle with things that they have never had to worry about before. Here are a few improvements that can keep your home from becoming a hindrance as you age.

Bathroom Improvements

  • Falls usually happen while getting in or out of the bathtub. Installing handles and a non-skid latex mat inside and outside will reduce the chances.
  • Elevated toilets help people that find it hard to squat, bend, sit or stand. It’s a good idea to have grab bars anchored to the wall and floor beside the toilet, too.
  • Set the thermostat on the water heater to a maximum of 120 degrees to prevent burns.
  • Store toiletries, first aid supplies and other bathroom necessities at waist level where they limit bending, stooping or stretching. (This is true for all rooms.)
  • Consider a tub seat or walk-in shower unit.

Kitchen Improvements

  • Raise the dishwasher so bending is not needed for loading and unloading.
  • Use multi-level counter heights with open space beneath to allow for sitting.
  • Replace higher cabinets with lower shelving or drawers. Often used items should be handy.
  • Install a wall oven, lowered for comfortable use. Use a countertop range, lower the height for ease of use.
  • Flat surfaces around the stove are easier to clean and allow sliding of heavy pots instead of lifting.

Other Rooms

  • Replace doorknobs and faucets with lever handles.
  • No step threshold can decrease falls.
  • Building walk-in closets with multiple heights allows easy reaching.
  • Install rocker light switches that are easier to turn on and off compared to the old fashioned flip switch.
  • Make sure there is ample room to maneuver easily between furniture and walls.

Remodels can be expensive but if you do a little at a time the cost of these updates are manageable AND will cost far less in the long run than an assisted living facility.

Frequently Asked Mobile Home Question: Value

How does the county assessor determine the value of my manufactured home?

Manufactured homes are subject to Proposition 13 under which the county assessor determines the base year value of a manufactured home, which is generally the market value at the time of purchase. After the first assessment annual increases to the base year value are limited to the inflation rate, as measured by the California Consumer Price Index, or 2 percent, whichever is less. Any new construction will have its own separate base year value. When the manufactured home is sold, it will be reassessed at its current fair market value and a new base year value will be established. If your manufactured home is located on land that you own, the land will be assessed separately. If you live in a tenant-owned mobilehome park, a different rule may apply.

The basic structure is assessable as well as all accessories, including, but not limited to: awnings, fences, windbreakers, storage cabinets, heaters, carport, water coolers, cabanas, porches, and skirting.

Section 5803(b) of the Revenue and Taxation Code specifically provides that the assessed value of a manufactured home on leased or rental land is not to include any value attributable to the land where the home is located. This means that the county assessor must not increase the value of your mobile home because of positive location nor decrease the value because of negative location.

Mobile Home Park Subdivisions

This year the State Senate signed into law SB 510, which allows (it does not require), a survey of the park residents to be taken into consideration when approving or disapproving the conversion of a park to fee ownership through a subdivision. This means that the government is allowed but not required to take into consideration, the majority feeling amongst the residents in the park, regarding the conversion to fee ownership.

The idea of a mobile home park subdivision is confusing and scary to many residents. Without an “owner”, who will operate the park? Will I be forced to buy the land under my home? Will I be evicted if I cannot or am unwilling to buy my land? All of these questions are valid and reasonable. They are also fairly easy to answer when one looks at past park conversions/subdivisions in the state.

Before a subdivision happens most parks create a co-op, or home owners association that will have the responsibility of running the community. The association is made up of homeowners living in the park.  Residents who purchase their lot become members of the new HOA (Homeowners Association) and those who do not purchase their lots continue to rent their lots from the HOA.

Homeowners pay an association fee to help manage and maintain the community.  It is generally considerably lower than the monthly rent.  Homeowners Associations and the dues they require are present in many stick built housing communities.  Most park residents like this idea because the people managing their rents are their neighbors and fellow community members.  Change is not easy but it is also not always bad.

The bottom line is that it when a mobile home park subdivides it provides the residents with the opportunity to control their own destiny by owning the land they are living on instead of renting the land.  It is a win-win for everyone.

Utility SCAM

Scam artists often target homeowners and many times use well known businesses as a cover to gain your trust. The most recent scam that has been reported to us is one that involves a caller identifying themselves as an employee of the utility company Edison. They state that they have not received payment from you and that they will be sending someone out in the next three days to shut off your electricity. They then ask for your personal information.

DO NOT EVER PROVIDE ANYONE WITH BANK ACCOUNT INFORMATION, YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION OVER THE PHONE WITHOUT VERIFYING WHO THEY ARE!

A resident at a park in Santa Ana was contacted by one of these scammers and took the proper steps by

  1. Providing the caller NO personal information
  2. Contacting the Park Manager to inform them of the Scam
  3. Contacting the local police department (using the non-emergency number) to inform them of the scam attempt.

Keep yourself and your information safe!

Who Really Lives in Mobile Homes? The Perception and Misconceptions of Mobile Home parks and their residents.

Mobile home parks and their residents are beginning to be featured more and more in today’s media. First came Welcome to Myrtle Manor, a reality TV show about a handful of quirky mobile home park residents in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Then, more recently, with the controversial statement made by Miss South Carolina in her intro to the Miss America Pageant, “I’m from the state where 20 percent of our homes are mobile, because that ‘s how we roll.” Some argue that statements like these and TV shows like Welcome to Myrtle Manor only serve to perpetuate the “trailer trash” stereotype. Others say it brings a lighthearted nature to mobile home living that has not been there in the past due to the stereotype of the poor and downtrodden mobile home owner.

So who really lives in mobile homes? According to a recent article written by Tom Geoghegan: Pamela Anderson, Minnie Driver, and Matthew McConaughey are all residents of the mobile home park Paradise Cove in Malibu, California. In this park the homes boast marble floors and sell for around $2.5 Million. The same article alluded to parks in Thermal, California where conditions are terrible and most homes are held together with spit and a prayer. Both of these parks are the exception and not the rule.

If it is neither the exorbitantly wealthy nor the unemployed and destitute that live in the majority of the over 8 million mobile homes (US Census, Manufactured Housing Institute) located in the United States, who really lives in mobile homes? According to the US Census 57% of mobile home owners distinguished as the “head of household” have full time employment and 23% of residents are retired. Young families just starting out and seniors tend to populate the majority of mobile home parks. This is in part due to the cost of the average mobile home, “70% of all new single family homes sold for under $125,000 are manufactured”(Manufactured Housing Institute). The affordability of a manufactured home versus a site built home attracts younger families just starting off. It also attracts many seniors wishing to retire. Many of them sell their site built homes for the ease of Mobile Home living; with little to no yard to maintain and many amenities, including clubhouses and pools, some event boast tennis courts, the value far exceeds the cost. Other than being the average American, the mobile home owner is really just someone who has the opportunity to enjoy, as the old adage goes, “More bang for your buck”.

The Mobile Home Park Lifestyle, Not Right for everyone but it could be right for You!

Living in a Mobile Home park is a lifestyle choice made by thousands of Californian’s. In an industry that was once viewed as lesser, this type of housing and these communities are starting to make a name for themselves as the best value for high quality, well-planned and secure living.

The mobile home, or manufactured home, itself is starting to boast high quality items that were once only featured in site built homes. Many of them with custom cabinetry and granite counter tops. These homes can have all the amenities a site built home has to offer and they cost 20-35% less.

Communities often offer more than most site built HOA’s , with many boasting security that patrols the grounds 24-7, some are even gated requiring a code or clicker to enter the community. This helps to provide a level of safety and protection that might not be offered in a site built community. Many of them also feature clubhouses, swimming pools, play grounds and tennis courts.

If all of this sounds great there are still a few things you must consider before making this choice. The space your home sits on may not be very large, if you have a dream of having a bunch of animals a mobile home community might not be right for you, but if the idea of little to no yard work appeals to you a mobile home community might be right up your ally.

Remember, mobile homes and manufactured housing communities are not for everyone but they could be perfect for you! It is your life and your choice and manufactured housing communities have a lot to offer.

The History of the trailer and mobile home park lifestyle.

Trailer camps began appearing in the late 1930’s and sprung up around vacation destinations near beaches and deserts.  These camps were designed as a temporary land use to provide lodging for people towing “caravans” and travel trailers.  These parks and were usually under 100 spaces and typically provided bathrooms, showers and utility hook ups.  As time passed, these trailer parks either disappeared or made way for new development, or they became long-term housing for people living in small travel trailer or singlewide units.  In the Inland Empire agriculture areas these travel trailer parks became popular for migrant workers and remain so today.

Most of the “typical mobile home parks” in the region were built in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Like the older trailer camps, many were built as interim land uses on former farmland, with temporary conditional use permits (CUP) from local cities and counties to build the parks.  One of the primary incentives to build a mobile home park was the ability to realize income from the land to help pay property tax.  Prior to the adoption of Proposition 13 in 1978 California tax assessors taxed property on the basis of its highest and best use.  Farmland was being developed for housing and the zoning master plan set aside blocks of land for future commercial and industrial development.  It is common to find mobile home parks developed on major highways in commercial and industrial areas of cities.

The parks built in the 1960’s and 70’s focused on providing larger spaces for new doublewide mobile homes and a lifestyle to attract retirees.  Clubhouses, pools, shuffleboard, a place to store RV’s, and organized activities topped the list of amenities.  Retirees could sell their stick built home and purchase a new mobile home leaving behind maintenance and yard work and enjoy the modern facilities at the new mobile home park.  In the mid-60’s a typical new doublewide mobile home sold for $15,000 in a new park and rents were $75 or less – about half the cost of a new site built home of similar size – but with a lot more amenities and literally worry free.

In 1981, the last new manufactured housing community was built in Orange County.  The manufactured homes had evolved in design and quality to match site-built homes and with ground level installation and site-built garages; the neighborhood took on the look of a site-built project, but with “country club” amenities and an attractively affordable price tag.

A few new parks have been built in the Inland Empire in the past ten years, but, with today’s land and improvement costs, building new rental/land lease manufactured housing communities today is not feasible.

Buying and Selling Trailers, Mobile Homes and Manufactured Homes in Rental Parks

A trailer is NOT a mobile home if it is less than 8 feet wide x 40 feet long and is therefore classified as a recreational vehicle (trailer).  The owners of these trailers/RV’s do not have a right to sell them in place.

A mobile home cannot be required to be removed upon a resale if it: 1) is more than 17 to 20 years old or older but meets health, safety and construction standards of state law; and 2) is not in substantially rundown condition or disrepair as determined in the reasonable discretion of management.

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, the buyer must 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.