What laws govern living in a mobilehome park?

There are a number, but the two major areas of state law relating to mobilehome parks are:

The Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL) is the ‘landlord-tenant law’ for mobilehome parks, found in the California Civil Code.  The MRL spells out the rights and obligations of the park owner/management and mobilehome owners or residents relating to such issues as notices of rent increases, rental agreements, resale of a home in the park, or termination of tenancy.   State or local government agencies do not enforce these Civil Code provisions.  If a dispute arises the park management or the homeowner must seek enforcement or damages through the courts.

The Mobilehome Parks Act establishes health and safety (building code) requirements for both parks and mobilehome installations. These code requirements spell out the minimum standards for park common area facilities, such as roads and utility systems, as well as code requirements for mobilehome and accessory installations.  The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) or delegated local government agencies enforce the Parks Act.

What are My Rights if the Park is Closed for Conversion to Another Use?

 Normally, a permit from the city or county planning agency will be required to convert a mobilehome park to another use, but if no local permits are required to convert the park to another land use, the management must give you at least 12-month written termination notice.

Where permits are required, the park management must give homeowners at least a 15 days’ written notice that they will be appearing before the local agency for 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 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 6-month written termination notice. The park management must also give prospective homeowners a written notice of any planned park conversion before they move in.

How is my mobilehome taxed?

Pre-July, 1980 mobilehomes are usually subject to an annual state vehicle license fee (VLF).  Mobilehomes manufactured on or after July 1, 1980 and those permanently fixed to the land are subject to local property taxation.  The sale of new mobilehomes and used mobilehomes subject to the VLF are also subject to a sales tax.  Homeowners may have to pay property taxes on their mobilehome accessories (carports, cabanas, etc.), depending on the value of the accessories.  In newly developed parks or spaces, new buyers may also have to pay a school impact fee.  Mobile- home owners in parks may also be subject to a rent ‘pass through’ of certain government fees, such as rent control space fees or park inspection fees.

Do I Have a Right of Privacy in My Mobilehome?

Yes.  The park management may enter your mobilehome lot only to maintain the utilities, trees, driveways or for maintenance of the space in accordance with park rules when you fail to do so, but only at a time or in a manner that does not disturb your right of privacy.   The management has no right to enter your mobilehome without your prior written consent, except in the case of an emergency or where you have abandoned the mobilehome.

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:

Renters Tax Credit:  Homeowners, within certain income limitations, who pay rent in a mobilehome park may qualify for a tax credit at the time they file their annual state income tax return if they pay state taxes against which the credit can be claimed.   For more information, call the Franchise Tax Board at 1-800-338-0505. 

Homeowners & Renters Assistance:  Lower-income mobilehome owners and renters, who are 62 and older, blind, or disabled, may qualify for annual assistance on a sliding scale depending on income by filing with the Franchise Tax Board (FTB).  For more information, call the FTB at 1-800-338-0505.

CARE Utility Assistance:  Low-income residents of master-meter mobilehome parks may qualify annually for a 15% 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 lower-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 agencies.  For more information check with your city or county housing department, authority or commission listed in the government pages of your phone directory.

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 916.445.0110.

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 city or county housing agencies.  Section 8 allocations are often full and many jurisdictions have waiting lists of a year or more.  For more information, check with your city or county housing department, authority or commission listed in the government pages of your phone directory.

What are My Rights if the Park is Closed for Conversion to Another Use?

Normally, a permit from the city or county planning agency will be required to convert a mobilehome park to another use, but if no local permits are required to convert the park to another land use, the management must give you at least 12-month written termination notice.

Where permits are required, the park management must give homeowners at least a 15 days’ written notice that they will be appearing before the local agency for 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 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 6-month written termination notice. The park management must also give prospective homeowners a written notice of any planned park