Striking it Rich! The California Lottery

Everyone gets excited about the prospects of winning the lottery and striking it rich.  As lottery fever increases it is important to remember the original purpose of establishing the lottery back in 1984 was to help fund education.  The California State Lottery Act of 1984 was required to provide at least 34% of its revenues to public education, supplementing (not replacing) other funds provided by California. Another 50% of its revenues must be paid to the public in the form of prizes, making a mandated minimum of 84% of all funds that must be given back to the public in the form of prizes or funds for public education. The remainder, a maximum of 16%, was to be spent on administration such as salaries and running the games.  In 2010 the amount to education was increased from 84% to 87% and decreased the amount for administration to 13%.

California Lotto jackpot winners instantly strike at rich, but you are at the same time liable for tax payments.  Whether you elected to receive a one-time lump sum or 26 annual installments, the tax dollars will already be deducted before the money reaches your pocket book.  The winnings are exempt from California state and personal income taxes, but Federal taxes are due ranging from 25 % to 30%.  In addition, outstanding debts, judgment liens, offsets or tax levies will be withheld from your payout and may continue into future years until the debt is paid.

There are different rules for groups of less than 100 people and more than 100 people who pool their monthly to win, but in the end, taxes are paid before any pay out to the winners!

Unclaimed Money or Property May Be Used for State Budgets

State governments have become more assertive in taking control of unclaimed cash. These unclaimed assets can be in the form of paychecks not cashed, life insurance policies uncollected, or forgotten bank account balances.

There are some states that have attempted to notify owners of their property using state fair booths and website sources, while others are doing very little.

State lost-and-found programs have been growing rapidly for more than 10 years. Every state keeps a list of those whose property it has claimed. California alone has 28.5 million people on its list.

Most of the people on these unclaimed property lists have no idea that they are owed assets. The unclaimed money could have come from an inheritance they were awarded, forgotten property left in safe deposit boxes, and even retail gift cards that were unused. Most people are due to receive less than $100, though some amounts are much higher.

To find out if you have uncollected money use the resources below:

  • A national database – – has been established by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
  • The association website also provides contact information for unclaimed property programs in every state via this link:

Mobile Home Owners FAQ’s

Why do mobile home park residents have to pay taxes on their mobilehomes in addition to paying the park owner a fee for property taxes?

Mobile home owners, who are park residents, pay for the park’s property taxes either through their rent or sometimes through separate pass through fees for property taxes, or property tax increases, on the park property.  Yet mobilehome owners may also be liable for an individual property tax to the county on their home and accessory structures.  Prior to July 1, 1980 most mobilehomes were taxed like vehicles by the state with a vehicle license fee (VLF) in lieu of local property taxes.  However, the law was changed in 1979 to subject new mobilehomes and manufactured homes sold on or after July 1, 1980 to local property taxes instead of the VLF.  Pre July 1980 homes remain on the VLF unless the owner voluntarily switches the home to the local property tax system.  Tax law does not allow the county assessor to base assessment of taxes on mobilehomes in parks on the value of the park land or space.  Hence, the mobilehome owner’s property tax is separate from the property tax on the park owner’s land.

Must the park owner accept Section 8 vouchers?

Section 8 is a federal program (Housing and Urban Development), and federal law does not require landlords to accept Section 8 rent vouchers.  Landlords who accept Section 8 enter into agreements or contracts with the county that administers the program and must abide by the Section 8 terms for the period of the agreement, which is normally a set number of years.  Because of Section 8 restrictions, some landlords have opted out of Section 8 at the end of their agreements.  The local county housing agency has information regarding availability of rent vouchers

Source: California Department of Housing and Community Development

What to do to prepare your home for an HCD Inspection

The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) handles the inspection of Mobile Home Parks in most cities in California. The park is given notice of the inspection and the notice should be posted in a conspicuous location in the park. It is your responsibility to make sure your home and your lot are ready for the inspection. If there are violations noted in regards to your home or your lot you will be the one required to make the repair, and/or pay the fine. Here are a few things to do to prepare your home for inspection.

  1. Display evidence on the exterior of your MH unit of current registration or Local Property Taxation status. If exterior decals or plates are unavailable you may provide current registration documents to the inspector for review. Or you may temporarily display current registration documents inside a window until the inspection of your lot or park is complete.
  2. Fix all leaking plumbing
  3. Fix damaged awning structures
  4. Remove unapproved electrical wiring
  5. Remove all debris, rubbish and combustible material stored around or under the home.
  6. When repairing stairs or steps do so in compliance with the HCD inspection handbook. (Illustration from handbook can be seen below)
  7. Know what the common violations are. Click Here to download the HCD handbook with a full list of common violations. (Visit the HCD website and download their handbook that contains a full list of common violations

Make sure that you and your home are prepared. If you are not you could end up paying a lot of money in fines and risk eviction from the park if the violations are not fixed.

Mobile Home Residents FAQ’s

Mobile home owners frequently ask of the Park can charge the resident a late fee if they miss paying the rent and utility bill by one day?  The answer is as follows:

Late fees on rents, utility charges or other pass through fees are not regulated by the MRL, however, California court cases regarding late fees generally have upheld residential leases with preset late penalties if they bear a reasonable relationship to the actual damages that could be anticipated or sustained by the landlord for late payment, such as administrative costs relating to accounting for and collecting the late payments.  For example, a 3% charge for late payment of rent ($15 on a $500 rent bill) is probably going to be construed as reasonable.

Whether $50 is reasonable depends on the outstanding amount of the late rent and utilities owed.  In summary, if the signed lease or rental agreement stipulates a late fee, then the resident must pay.

Construction work is scheduled in the park that I Manage Do I have to contact the local utilities first?

Instead of calling the local utilities, dial 811 and be connected to the appropriate regional notification center that will contact the subsurface installation operators.  The subsurface installation operator will then mark the lines that they own, operate or maintain within the area where you will be digging. (Government Code §4216.2)

For residents who do not own the mobilehome they are living in, what rights do they have in the case of an eviction?

The MRL eviction protections and procedures only apply to homeowners who own their own homes and rent their spaces, not to tenants who rent mobilehomes owned by the park, park management, or other persons.  Certain sections of the MRL do apply specifically to both homeowners and “residents” (Civil Code §798.11).  However, the MRL’s “just cause” eviction provisions (Civil Code §798.56) do not apply to residents who rent mobilehomes owned by others.  They would be subject to the requirements of conventional landlord tenant law (Civil Code §1940 et seq.).  In such a case for these tenants, where there is a notice of eviction without any reason, tenants living in the rental home for less than a year generally would be entitled to a 30 day notice of termination; those living there for a year or more, are entitled to a 60 day notice if eviction is without cause.  (Exceptions to the 60 day requirement are in Civil Code §1946.1.)