Safety Tips for Your Home During Holiday Seasons

We are approaching a very joyous time of the year – whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or the New Year, it is a time to celebrate by gathering with family and friends. With many gatherings and parties, there’s usually a grand display of foods that someone has worked very hard to put together.  Whether you are given the opportunity to host a party for the first time, or you have been doing it for many years, it helps to take a minute and review some safety tips.

According to Foremost Insurance and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), Thanksgiving and Christmas are known for cooking-related home fires. You can imagine millions of people cooking in the kitchen, many of them pressed for time and stressed out from wanting to make everything perfect. It’s more than likely that just a few carelessness or inattention in the kitchen will lead to big disasters. Although the following tips were written to advise people for holiday feasts, you can apply these same tips for whenever you are cooking in the kitchen:

  1. Make sure that no flammable objects, such as kitchen towels, oven mitts, paper towels, hot pads, and food packaging, are away from your stove top. If you are rushing or not fully paying attention, it’s easy to forget about where you put these objects. It helps to clean off your kitchen counter as you cook so that you have space to put your kitchen tools and can keep track of where things are.
  2. Stay in the kitchen at all times if you have something boiling, frying, grilling, or broiling. If you are an experienced cook at home, you probably think that you can leave the kitchen for a short period of time. But why risk having a tragic accident in your kitchen right before an important gathering? Always keep an eye on your stove, or turn it off if you need to leave the kitchen.
  3. Always check on your foods that are simmering, baking, or roasting. Just because your pumpkin cheesecake recipe states to bake for one hour and to not open the oven door while it’s baking, you can still look into the oven every now and then to make sure that everything is going smoothly. If you are a forgetful cook, always use a timer, especially for dishes that calls for long hours of cooking.
  4. Don’t use the stove if you are feeling sleepy or have consumed alcohol. It’s very easy to start cooking and fall asleep while you are waiting. Pass the torch to someone else who is alert and wide awake to do the cooking.

It’s very easy for anyone to be a victim to kitchen disasters, especially when you are busy entertaining guests or if you are preparing everything by yourself. Make sure you stay safe by reading the Foremost Insurance article as well as visiting the National Fire Protection Agency website.

Resources: http://blog.foremost.com/thanksgiving-fires-turkey-fryers-and-safety-choirs.asp

https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/cooking.html

Is Your Mobile Home Level?

Many homeowners choose mobile home living as a long-term housing arrangement. There are many reasons for choosing the mobile home lifestyle including affordability, community setting, and convenience. One major reason, especially for seniors, is the accessibility of a single-floor layout. As your mobile home ages, it becomes increasingly important to keep up with maintenance. Although the manufactured homes that are built these days are very durable and can even look like a traditional home, one of the most crucial and often overlooked necessity is re-leveling of your mobile home.

As the years pass, all manufactured homes begin to settle. This can cause problems such as creaks and leans in your floor, as well as doors not closing properly. What does all this mean? Well you can rest assured, your home is not sinking or damaged, rather it means that your home needs an adjustment.

Without regular adjustments to the level of your home, the piers underneath the home that may be constructed of non-treated wood may show wear, tear, and erosion. Bolts could become stressed and less effective, and other deterioration underneath the home may have occurred.

What is re-leveling?

Re-leveling your mobile home is simply the appropriate redistribution of the weight of your home to make it even again.

Can I re-level my own home?

Unless you have the experience and equipment necessary, this is not a do-it-yourself job. To safeguard your home and guarantee that the re-leveling is done correctly, you will need to consult a professional.

The best place to start is with the company that sold your mobile home to you. Mobile home dealers often know the most qualified contractors. Or ask a neighbor which company they used. Another way to find the right company is to search the web. But be cautious, always investigate the company’s qualifications, credentials and previous clients’ comments and reviews.

Finally, get multiple quotes in writing and ask these potential companies questions. Find out who will actually be completing the job and verify their experience and credentials and request an accurate timeline for the project so you can plan ahead.

Re-leveling may seem like a major repair, however it really is quite basic, but definitely necessary. If you plan ahead and do your research your mobile home life style can continue to be comfortable and safe for many more years to come.

Source: http://mobilehomeliving.org/understanding-mobile-home-leveling-issues/

Financial Assistance

What state/local financial assistance is available to low-income mobilehome owners? Some programs that provide financial assistance to low-income or senior park residents include:

  • C.A.R.E. Utility Assistance: Low-income residents of master-meter mobilehome parks may qualify annually for a 20% discount on their electric or gas bills through the California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (care). For more information, check with your park management or the local gas or electric utility company listed in your phone directory.
  • Mobilehome Rehabilitation: Loans or grants are available to low-income mobilehome owners through the Department of Housing and Community Development’s CalHome program to make specified repairs on their mobilehomes. Although not all jurisdictions participate, the funds are channeled through qualified local government housing or non-profit agencies. For more information, check with your city or county housing department, authority or commission.
  • Mobilehome Park Resident Ownership Program (MPROP): On a limited basis, this program provides loans to resident organizations and non-profit organizations and 3% simple interest loans to low-income homeowners for costs involving the resident or non-profit purchase of a mobilehome park. For more information about the MPROP process and requirements, call the Department of Housing and Community Development at 916.323.3178, or at www.hcd.ca.gov/fa/mprop.
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance: Rent subsidies may be available to eligible low-income mobilehome residents who live in mobilehome parks. This program is funded by the federal government but administered by local housing agencies. Section 8 allocations are often full and many jurisdictions have waiting lists of a year or more. Not all mobilehome park owners accept Section 8 vouchers. For more information, check with your city or county housing department, authority or commission.

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

Mobilehome and Manufactured Homes Sales

Who handles the sales of mobilehomes and manufactured homes?

Only dealer-brokers licensed by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) handle sales of new manufactured homes and mobilehomes. These new homes come with a one-year warranty from the manufacturer, but the warranty usually does not cover transit damage and may not apply to faulty installation. Used mobilehomes do not come with a warranty and may be sold by dealers, real estate agents, or the homeowner, who must provide the buyer with a resale or transfer disclosure statement (TDS), as mentioned previously. Complaints about mobilehome dealers should be directed to the Mobilehome Ombudsman at 800.952.5275, or ombudsman@hcd.ca.gov.

What if there is an issue with my new mobile home?

If there is a safety or construction issue with your new mobile home, you must notify the manufacturer, retailer, or installer. If the problem is not resolved, you may be able to use the HUD Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program. This program aims to provide timely resolution (of eligible disputes) between manufacturers, retailers and installer of manufactured homes regarding the responsibility of correction or repairs of defects in manufactured homes.

There are a few eligibility requirements to participate in this program. For example, the owner of the mobile home needs to report any issues to the manufacturer, retailer, installer, State Administrative Agency, or HUD within one year after the date of installation. In addition, not all States participate in this program, due to some administering their own dispute resolution programs.

If you are eligible to participate in the program, you can submit a request for dispute resolution in one of five ways: by email, phone, fax, mail, or online. The program outlines key information to include in your request, if you are not using the online form to submit the request. Make sure to visit their website to see if you are eligible, and read through all the instructions in order for your request to be processed. In addition, you can watch a very informative video about the program on their website.
Resources: http://www.huddrp.net/

Video Link: http://www.huddrp.net/video/

HUD Administered Dispute Resolution Program:

571-882-2928, info@huddrp.net

 

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

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

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/