Mobile Home Park Laws and Regulations

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 What is a Mobile Home?

A mobile home is defined as a portable residence or dwelling that does not have a permanent foundation. This type of home can be hooked up to utilities. It is suitable for living in year round. 

Travel trailers are not considered mobile homes because they are not made for living in year round. It is common for mobile homes to be located together in designated areas, neighborhoods, or areas of a city.

Mobile homes can be found anywhere. An individual can purchase a mobile home and place it on their land if they wish to do so. Mobile homes are common in some states and in others, they are very rarely seen. 

It is important to remember that a mobile home is not always safe in certain weather conditions. It does not have a solid foundation and reinforced walls like a regular house. Should weather conditions such as tornadoes or high winds be present, an individual may wish to seek shelter elsewhere.

Are Mobile Homes Regulated?

There are usually legal regulations or restrictions placed on mobile homes. Mobile home laws can vary from state to state and even city to city. These regulations may even vary within one city.

For example, a city can have certain zoning ordinances that only permit mobile homes to be located in specified areas, such as mobile home parks. The number of mobile homes allowed in one area may also be restricted. There may be special standards for the mobile homes in these areas. These regulations are in place for reasons such as fire prevention and sanitation. 

In some areas, a mobile home may require a registration, similar to a vehicle. In these jurisdictions, an owner may be required to place a decal in a window that is visible from the road. Failing to do so may subject the individual to a fine.

What Is a Mobile Home Park?

It is common for mobile home owners to reside in specifically designated areas, often known as mobile home parks. These parks allow the owners to place their home on a lot and connect to utilities including water and electricity. 

The mobile home park and the mobile home owner will enter into a landlord-tenant agreement through a lease contract. The mobile home owner signs a lease for the land on which the mobile home is set up. The lease may be for a set time period, such as a year, or it may have monthly terms. The mobile home owner will make a monthly rent payment, known as lot rent.

A mobile home park lease contract may contain information or terms including:

  • Who is permitted to have their mobile home in the park;
  • How many individuals can reside in the mobile home;
  • What types of activities are prohibited or allowed in the mobile home park;
  • How to contact the landlord in the event of an issue or a dispute;
  • Whether the lot, but not the mobile home, may be sub-leased to another tenant;
  • The duration of the lease;
  • Terms for the amount and frequency of payments required;
  • Rules for residing in the mobile home park;
  • Restrictions regarding visitors to the mobile home or park; or
  • Any other necessary terms.

It is important to remember that the mobile home itself belongs to the mobile home owner. Therefore, while mobile home owner rights may include determining what occurs in their own home as well as a right to privacy, the owner must abide by rules or regulations set by the mobile home park landlord. This may include rules that prohibit criminal activity in the park.

If an individual is caught committing a criminal activity on the premises, either in the entire park or in the individual mobile home, they may face eviction. An eviction would mean the individual has to move their mobile home to another location and can no longer reside on the park premises. They could also sell their mobile home to another individual.

What Duties Does a Mobile Home Park Landlord Have?

There are many mobile home park owner responsibilities.  They have similar duties to a landlord of any other type of real estate. Their duties and responsibilities will depend on several factors, including local and state laws as well as the individual agreements with each tenant in the park.

For example, in general, a landlord:

  • May not threaten to evict a tenant in order to force them to comply with unreasonable park rules or regulations;
  • May not engage in a retaliatory eviction, such as evicting a tenant as revenge for reporting the landlord’s violations to the authorities;
  • May not place unreasonable restrictions on selling or renting a mobile home;
  • Must make safe or repair any unreasonably dangerous condition in the park, such as a sinkhole; or
  • Is subject to the implied warranty of habitability in most jurisdictions. Pursuant to this warranty, the land being rented must be in livable condition, including properly functioning septic tank systems and other necessary utilities.

What Rights Does a Mobile Home Park Landlord Have?

In general, a mobile home park landlord has the same rights as a landlord of any other type of real estate. These rights may include:

  • Collecting and increasing rent at a rate permitted by statutes, as well as in accordance with  any lease agreement made with a tenant; 
  • Evicting a tenant for a proper reason, so long as they give the tenant reasonable notice as required by law. The requirements vary from state to state, so it is important for the landlord know how much time they must provide a tenant to move out; and
  • Altering or modifying a rent or lease agreement, so long as it is within legal bounds and does not violate any other contracts or agreements.

What If a Landlord Commits a Legal Violation in Relation to a Tenant?

There may be various consequences for a landlord who commits a legal violation in connection with a tenant or tenants. For example, if the landlord breaches the rental agreement with a tenant by raising rent prices in an illegal manner, the tenant may be able to sue the landlord for damages. The tenant may be able to recover a monetary amount for withheld rent or other losses.

If a landlord commits a violation that breaks any criminal law, they may face criminal consequences. For example, if a landlord knowingly permits illegal activity on the mobile home park premises, such as drug dealing or manufacturing, they may be charged with a crime.

The charges and punishments will, of course, depend on the criminal activity involved. Consequences for a conviction may include jail time, criminal fines, or other punishments available in the jurisdiction.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with My Mobile Home?

Yes, you should hire an experienced landlord tenant lawyers to help with any mobile home issues. Regulations for mobile homes vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and may even differ in the same city or county. A lawyer can help you determine what is required in your location. 

If you are involved in a dispute with your landlord, a lawyer can review your case, advise you of your rights and represent you during any court proceedings, if necessary. In many cases, a mobile home is an individual’s permanent place to live, so it is important to protect your home.

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