Due to the relatively high cost of purchasing a home, many people decide that the purchase of a manufactured home, whether mobile or non-mobile, is a relatively inexpensive way to enter into home ownership.
However, unlike most homeowners, the vast majority of manufactured home owners do not own the land upon which their home is located. Rather, most are residents of a mobile home community. For this reason, our Legislature enacted the Manufactured Home Community Rights Act, which provides extensive protection to manufactured home owners.
Under this Act, manufactured home owners, unlike most individuals renting apartments or houses, cannot be evicted by the landowner unless good cause exists for their eviction.
Good cause exists when the manufactured home owner fails to pay rent. It also exists when the manufactured home owner has committed at least two violations of the community rules within a six-month period of time. Generally, unless one of these two grounds for eviction exists, the manufactured home owner cannot be evicted by the landowner.
If there is justification for an eviction, the landowner must follow specific procedures in order to evict the manufactured home owner. For example, if the reason is non-payment of rent, the manufactured home owner must be given a written notice, by certified mail, which allows the manufactured home owner a final opportunity to bring his rent current. Depending on the time of the year, this notice must give the manufactured home owner either 20 or 30 days to bring his rent current. If the rent is not brought current within this time period, or if an additional non-payment of rent occurs within a period of six months, eviction proceedings may be pursued by the landowner.
If the reason for eviction is the violation of community rules, a written notice of violation, again by certified mail, must be given after the initial violation. After this notice is given, eviction cannot take place unless an additional violation occurs within six months.
However, keep in mind that the Act specifically states that a manufactured home owner cannot be evicted for the violation of a given rule unless the rule is uniformly enforced with respect to all manufactured home community residents. Furthermore, if the landowner pursues eviction as a result of a second violation of the rules, he must begin the eviction proceeding within 60 days of the last violation.
Importantly, no community rule or regulation may be enacted or enforced unless the rule is reasonably necessary for the upkeep of the community, or the health or safety of its residents. The Manufactured Home Community Rights Act also provides a number of other important rights to the manufactured home owner. For example, entrance and exit fees, other than the actual cost of installation and removal, cannot be charged. Also, the landowner cannot unreasonably restrict the sale of the manufactured home to a third party who would like to purchase an existing home in the community.
As a result of a change in the law which occurred last year, all manufactured home land leases are now required to be in writing. Verbal land leases are no longer allowed.
Most importantly, the Act specifically states that none of the rights granted to the manufactured home owner can be waived by agreement between the manufactured home owner and the landowner. Therefore, the landowner cannot put a clause in the manufactured home owner’s lease indicating that the manufactured home owner is giving up his rights under this law.