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Offer the 2018 MRL by Feb. 1 - List of Notices, Disclosures

All California Mobilehome park owners are required to serve several notices to their tenants by each February 1st.

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New homeowners: Park owners are required to provide a copy of the MOBILEHOME RESIDENCY LAW to each new homeowner, so a few copies on hand is sound practice. The code says the owner is to provide "(c) A copy of the text of this chapter shall be provided as an exhibit."

Existing homeowners: Management shall do one of the following prior to February 1 of each year, if a significant change was made in this chapter by legislation enacted in the prior year:

(1) Provide all homeowners with a copy of this chapter.

(2) Provide written notice to all homeowners that there has been a change to this chapter and that they may obtain one copy of this chapter from management at no charge. Management shall provide a copy within a reasonable time, not to exceed seven days upon request.

■ You may obtain a new copy of the 2018 MOBILEHOME RESIDENCY LAW free by visiting www.dowdalllaw.com and clicking on this button.

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■ "Notice of Rights and Responsibilities": This Notice Must Be Provided to All Homeowners Each Year on or Before February 1, 2018. A free copy of the notice can be downloaded from here: www.dowdalllaw.com. Just click on this button on the home page:

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The notice must make disclosures already well known to the experienced homeowner. So we are sure they do not know more than we do, let's review the disclosures given to the homeowner:

• "Written notice of any rent increase at least 90 days before the date of increase. (Civ. C. Section 798.30)

• Anti-waiver provisions per Civ. C. §§ 798.19, 798.77)

• Good cause termination requirements per Civ. C. §§ 798.55, 798.6)

• Notice of vacating of tenancy requires 60 days notice (Civ. C. §798.59)

• Homeowners must comply with the rental agreement including the reasonable rules and regulations - failure to comply could be grounds for eviction from the park. (Civ. C. §798.56)

• Failure to pay rents could be grounds for eviction (Civ. C. §798.56)

• Right to peacefully assemble and freely communicate with for a lawful purpose

• Homeowners may not be charged a cleaning deposit in order to use the park clubhouse for meetings of resident organizations or for other lawful purposes, such as to hear from political candidates, so long as a homeowner of the park is hosting the meeting and all park residents are allowed to attend.

• Homeowners may not be required to obtain liability insurance in order to use common facilities unless alcohol is served. (Civ. C. §§ 798.50, 798.51)

• If a home complies with certain standards, the homeowner is entitled to sell it in place in the park. Management may require certain upgrades.

• Management may not require a homeowner to sell his or her home to the park, may not charge a transfer or selling fee, and may not require a homeowner to use a broker or dealer approved by the park.

• Management may deny approval of a buyer, but only for certain reasons listed in the law. (Civ. C. §§ 798.70-798.74)

• Management has the right to enter the space upon which a mobilehome is situated for maintenance of utilities, trees, and driveways; for inspection and other just cause; but not in a manner or at a time that would interfere with the resident's quiet enjoyment (Civ. C. § 798.26)

• A homeowner may not make any improvements or alterations to his or her space or home without following the rules and regulations of the park and all applicable local ordinances and state laws and regulations. . .

Distribute Privacy Statement to all Homeowners in Community (16 C.F.R. Part 313).  Find the form at: pp 69-70 at:

https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/attachments/press-releases/federal-regulators-issue-final-model-privacy-notice-form/privacymodelform_rule.pdf 

■ Distribute "CARE" Information for 2018 to Your mobilehome tenants.

■ Miscellaneous Duties.

Test fire extinguishers annually;

• Test kitchen grease fire apparatus annually;

• Test 10% of utility meters;

• Verify ombudsman, Prop 65. HUD & DFEH Fair Housing posters, Park Policies;

• Health and Safety Code phone numbers are all posted;

• Conduct loss control prevention (slip & fall, hazardous);

• Chemical, dryer lint buildup, etc. inspection;

• Review and verify proper charges for water, trash, sewer, recycle, cable, fire district, etc. and post;

• Post gas & electric utility rates monthly

• Conduct OSHA training

• Inspect smoke and CO detectors and change batteries in employee homes and rentals.

■ Schedule Backflow Prevention Device Test

■ Schedule Gas Leak Survey

■ MP 532 Fire Hydrant Test: See Title 25 § 1300 Fire Protection Standards for Parks: Parks built after September 1, 19681 are required to meet NFPA Standard 24, 1977 Ed. § 1317 of Title 25 says in part:

(b) Annual Test and Certification of Operation. Private fire hydrants shall be tested annually in order to determine that they are operational as specified in sub§ 1316(b) of this article. Verification shall be submitted to the enforcement agency and to the fire agency responsible for fire suppression in the park, as required in § 1319 of this article.

■ Distribute Natural Gas Public Awareness Information - (49 C.F.R. Part 192.616)

■ Housing for Older Persons Survey / Census, Every Two Years (since April 1999, and therefore most recently as of April, 2017) to Remain Qualified to Restrict Tenancy to 55+ A decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disqualifies mobilehome communities without a current census of residents.

■ Update Emergency Preparedness Program, Rental Agreement Disclosure Forms.

■ Notice of Pesticide Use

■ Complete and File Form MHP-1

■ Notice of Flood Hazard Area or Area of Potential Flooding (Not due until July 18, 2018)

■ Residency Documents: "Failure to Maintain" is over. If your residency documents do not contain an arbitration clause, your documents are out of date.

  • Put differently, the park's documents and management potential are not state of the art, or possibly prejudicial to the best practices philosophy.
  • Do your documents waive jury trial? Any agreement, pre-dispute, to waive jury trial is not enforceable and constitutes and unfair business practice. It is illegal and not enforceable.

■ Do you require leases? It may be suggested by some that any such leasing requirement should be based on reliance on advice of legal counsel (one holding a current California law license). Among many other things, state law says that the offeree of a lease is entitled to request a 12 month or less rental agreement. If such a practice were not vindicated in the courts if challenged, relief may consist of annulment of the leases, meaning roll backs and possibly rent control if in place.

• Do your documents have a shortened statute of limitations? No longer enforceable and must be removed.

• Do your documents require guests to vacate after 45 days (or similar limitation)? That is a violation of the Mobilehome Residency Law. You cannot stop a homeowner from having guests; you may charge a guest fee if your documents provide it, and it runs afoul of no rent control laws. You can also enforce a reasonable density limit rule.

• Do your family-park rules require adult supervision in any common area? This would constitute a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.

• Do your documents require that your tenant maintain trees that have become hazardous? This would constitute a violation of the Mobilehome Residency Law, as management owes the duty to maintain trees which have become a specific hazard or code violation. Contrary to many resident leaders, the rules may require the tenants to care for their trees. Management must step in only when a hazard or code violation is found to exist. And driveways must be kept serviceable, not aesthetically pleasing.

• Do your documents require "special" permission for a pet? Tenants may have pets as a matter of right; subject to reasonable rules and regulations.

■ Service, Companion Animals: we must blow "hot and cold." Can you prohibit e.g. pit bulls as service animals or companion animals by reason of breed alone? No. Breed discrimination against service animals (include companion animals) is not permitted. But: threatening behavior must be acted on (to act reasonably to prevent liability from others from injury caused by attacks from known-to-be aggressive animals.

■ In sum, documents should be evaluated every year to see if any terms or conditions are out of date. An out-of-date requirement, even if not enforced, is an unfair business practice. Hence Vernon McKale was sued by the Riverside District Attorney (upheld by the Supreme Court) because, among other things, he used an unenforced but improper guest fee provision, and so, was held to be "misleading" the public to believe he actually would enforce it as park policy.

-TRD

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Dowdall Law Offices, A.P.C.
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Orange, CA 92866

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