What is Vacancy Decontrol?

Vacancy decontrol is another term for allowing rent to change at the time of the turnover of the unit.   In other words when an apartment or mobile home has been rented at a specific rate or leased for a specific rate and the tenant or resident vacates the apartment or mobile home space, and a completely new tenant or park resident moves into the unit, the rent is only adjusted upon “turnover”.  This term is frequently used in areas where there is rent control and allows rents to be adjusted to “market rate” when a long term tenant or mobile home owner moves out.  In rent controlled jurisdictions, the new tenant receives the full benefit of the “stabilized” rent while they are occupying the unit, which is typically  below market rate.   The result of vacancy decontrol is a fully protected long term tenant and an owner of the property who is able realize a fair return on the unit once it is vacated.

California Drought Hits 4 Year Mark with No Relief in Sight

On April 1, 2015 the governor issued an Executive Order to guide California during this record long 4-year drought. This order included a 25% reduction in potable water usage, an initiative to help replace 50 million square feet of lawns with drought tolerant plans and a statewide appliance rebate program.

Many Californians are asking themselves “How can I reduce my water usage by 25%?” For those who have already replaced their high flow toilets with low flow energy efficient toilets as well as replacing other appliances it may seem like an impossible feat, but it is not.

Check your faucets for leaks, replace your lawn with drought tolerant plants (Click Here for information on the rebate program that could allow you to do this free of cost), Cut down your shower time or limit the number of showers you take a week, don’t leave faucets running waiting for the water to heat up (or collect this water to use for other household purposes), water your indoor plants sparingly and use the left over water from rinsing your dishes (or the shower water), you can even set-up a rain bucket outside to collect rain to use for indoor watering. Every little step you take will help conserve California’s water.

Have you taken all of these steps but not seen a reduction in your water usage? You may have a leak! Here are a few steps to take to see if there is a leak in your home.

Your water meter can help you determine whether your water-using fixtures or inside plumbing have inconspicuous leaks. It’s the best place to begin your search.

  • Turn off all faucets and water-consuming appliances, including evaporative coolers and icemakers in refrigerators.
  • Check the meter register for any movement of the numbers or the low-flow indicator and note the time.
  • Check the meter register again after 15-30 minutes. Any movement indicates a leak.
  • Turn off your house valve (all indoor and outdoor water). Check the meter register for any movement as described above.Any movement indicates a leak between the water meter and your home. If you suspect you have a leak, be sure to contact a plumber. And if you don’t, remember to check for leaks periodically.

Help California save water and protect yourself from potential usage fines!

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.

Fair Housing: Definition of Disability

Mobile Home Park Owners are proud to be advocates of the Fair Housing Act, which provides protection to tenants against discrimination based on race, sex, religion, color, handicap (disability), familial status or national origin. Park Owners across California take great pride in following all of these statues.

What does fair housing define as a disability?

It is a physical or mental impairment, which substantially limits one or more major life activities. This includes: mental illness, AIDS, blindness, hearing impairment, mental retardation, and mobility impairment. Note that Transvestites are expressly excluded from the definition (According to the Fair Housing Authority) unless they experience one of the impairments listed above.

Measles makes in appearance in Orange County

The Orange County Register reported that the forth case of the measles in Orange County has been confirmed. So far there have been 21 reported cases in California and 54 reported cases nation wide.

Measles is extremely contagious as it can be transmitted through the air and does not require direct contact with an infected person.

The symptoms usually start between 10-12 days after a person is exposed to the virus but on rare occasions can appear up to 3 weeks later. Symptoms usually present themselves with an incredibly high fever, typically around 105 degrease, feelings of discomfort or weakness, runny nose and pink eye.  A few days later a rash will develop, typically around the ears and hairline. It often spreads to the face and arms.

If you believe you have the measles call your doctor ahead of time and let them know you are coming in, OR instruct the ER nurse right away so they can keep you away from the other patients.

As always, it is suggested that you get vaccinated. According to doctors getting the vaccine will prevent contracting the disease 99% of the time.

Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs are a growing problem in California and can be quite expensive to get rid of once they have made your home their home.

The first step to getting rid of a bed bug infestation is to make sure the critters living in your home are indeed bed bugs. For help making sure your pests are bed bugs, you can contact an entomologist (insect expert) at many county extension services. Follow the link below to find your local extension service: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html

Once you determine that they are bed bugs the next step is to find an expert who can assist you in ridding your home of these bloodsucking pests. The cost can cause some residents who’s homes have become infested to take short cuts and attempt to treat the problem themselves. If you choose to treat the problem yourself (which is not recommended) make sure you are using a pesticide that is specifically for the treatment of bed bugs and check the label to ensure that it is safe for indoor use. ALWAYS follow the directions carefully.

If you decide to hire someone to control bed bugs or any other pest, make sure they are currently licensed and certified to apply pesticides. Ask to see the certification. Ask for the brand name of the pesticide and the name of the product’s active ingredient in case you or a member of your family gets sick from exposure to the product. Read the label of the product the pest control applicator is planning to use to make sure it is for indoor use.

The final step is notifying local health agency and let them know about the infestation. For more information on bed bugs you can visit the California Department of Public Health’s website. Click Here.

You may also download a short fact sheet provided by the Department of Public Health.

Pride In Ownership

Maintaining the appeal of the park is not only the responsibility of the park owner and manager it is also up to you. Each mobile home owner is responsible for the upkeep of his or her home. When the exterior of your house looks good, i.e. free of clutter, small garden, fresh paint etc., the entire park looks more appealing to not only the residents and their guests but also to prospective new homeowners.

If you decide to sell your home there are a handful factors that will affect the price. Many of these factors are associated with the idea of “Pride in Ownership”. Your home may be identical to one for sale down the street and if the person down the street has taken more time to keep their house looking new and their carport free of clutter; their house is more likely to get a buyer not only first but one who is willing to pay more for the home.

Taking pride in your home and keeping it clean and beautiful takes only a few hours every weekend. Pull weeds, clear trash, plant flowers or herbs and enjoy the outdoors. This will also give you a chance to socialize with your neighbors because once one person shows pride in their home it is bound to inspire the rest of the community.

Do not forget about the inside of your home. Having a well kept home always makes you feel better and it can also help with the cost of your bills. By fixing old and leaky faucets and toilets you can conserve water and save money. If your electric bill is through the roof you might want to consider replacing old doors and windows as they can let cold air out and hot air in.

Take pride in your home and in your park. After all, no one wants to live in a place that is falling apart.

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.

Southern California Edison Launches a Comprehensive Manufactured and Mobile Home Program

 

Southern California Edison is launching a new FREE service for mobile home owners. It includes a free energy evaluation, energy efficient products and professional installation of these products at no cost to you.

How the Program Works:

A specialist will come to your home and do a free evaluation, assessing your eligibility. If you qualify they will set an appointment for a return visit and will install *energy efficient measures that will make your home more energy efficient and will save you money on your monthly bill.

*Energy Efficient Measures:

Central Air Conditioner Tune-up,Testing and Sealing Air Ducts, Air Conditioner Brushless Motor Retrofit, Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs, Compact Fluorescent Light Fixtures

For More information on this program visit Southern California’s Website at http://www.sce.com/residential/rebates-savings/cmhp.htm

Mobile Home Resident FAQ’s

 

Q: Does State Law Regulate Rent Increases in Mobile Home Parks?

  1. No, state law does not regulate the amount of a rent increase in a mobile home park. However, MRL states that a park must give residents a 90-day advanced written notice of an increase.

Q: Can the park charge “maintenance” or “pass-through” fees in addition to the rent?

  1. Yes IF the residents lease or rental agreement provides for assessments or fees for maintenance, among other services. If not mentioned in the lease the new fee would have to be for “services rendered” aka Trash Pickup, in which case a 60-day advance written notice is required.

Q: Can the park charge residents for back-rent that was miscalculated because of the manager’s mistake?

  1. READ YOUR LEASE CAREFULLY! The answer to this question depends on what your lease says. If you have a long-term lease that stipulates the monthly rent for the term of the lease and there is no provision in the lease for a contingency, such as an increase due to management error, then NO back-rent cannot be charged. IF however your lease agreement has a contingency clause that states that back rent may be charged then YES they can collect the additional rent with a 90-day written notice.

Q: Can the resident refuse to pay the rent or deduct a certain amount from the rent if water in the park is cut off?

  1. NO. Instead the resident should file an emergency complaint with the Department of Housing (HCD) or a local enforcement agency.

Q: Can the park evict a resident for the payment of late rent even though their rental history shows they eventually pay the full rent?

  1. Yes. The resident has 5 days from the due date to pay the rent in full. After the 5 days the park must give the resident a 3-day notice to pay or risk eviction in 60-days. If the resident pays within the 3 days then the 60-day eviction is waived. The resident may only pay late (within the 3-days once notified after the first 5 days) three times in a 12-month period. After the third time the park can issue a 60-day eviction notice.

Q: Is management allowed to restrict parking and have residents’ cars towed?

  1. Residents or guests may be towed with out notice if: they are parked in fire lanes, in front of park entrances, or fire hydrants, if they are parked in another residents assigned space or if the vehicle presents a significant danger to the health and safety of residents. In all other cases a 7-day notice is required to tow the vehicle.

Click Here for a full list of Resident FAQ’s.