What rights does a manufactured home park resident have in the lease to his lot? Because a mobile home is not truly mobile in any sense of the word due to its size, a resident has certain legal rights peculiar to his situation. If an owner of his home, he has made a substantial investment in his home, if not the realty upon which it sets. The following are some of the most important:
- A resident must be offered a written lease agreement for a manufactured home park lot for a term of one year or more that contains terms essentially the same as any alternative month-to-month rental agreement offered to current and prospective tenants and owners of the park. The park operator must offer the minimum one-year rental agreement to the owner prior to installation of the home in the park and prior to the expiration of the owner's existing rental agreement at the end of that initial term.
- A park operator must fully disclose in writing all fees, charges, and rules prior to a tenant or owner executing a rental agreement and assuming occupancy in the manufactured home park. No fees, charges, etc. so disclosed may be increased nor park rules changed by a park operator without specifying the date of implementation of the changed fees or rules, at least thirty days after written notice of the change is delivered to all tenants or owners in the manufactured home park. No fee or charge may be increased during the term of any tenant's or owner's rental agreement.
- A copy of the written park rules must be must be delivered to the future resident prior to signing the lease and be posted conspicuously within the park.
- A resident need not purchase from the park operator any personal property, including skirting, equipment for tying down homes, manufactured or mobile home accessories, and other equipment. However, the park rules may provide for the installation of these items within the park.
- Require a tenant to lease or an owner to purchase a manufactured or mobile home from the park operator or any specific person as a condition of or prerequisite to entering into a rental agreement.
- Deny any owner the right to sell the owner's manufactured home within the manufactured home park with ten days' notice of the intention to sell the home;
- Require the owner to remove the home from the manufactured home park solely on the basis of the sale of the home;
- Unreasonably refuse to enter into a rental agreement with a purchaser of a home located within the operator's manufactured home park.
What are the duties of the mobile home park operator in Ohio?
A park operator is required to:
- Comply with the requirements of all applicable building, housing, health, and safety codes;
- Maintain the park in a fit and habitable condition;
- Maintain all common areas of the park in a safe and sanitary condition;
- Maintain all electrical and plumbing fixtures, appliances, septic systems, sanitary and storm sewers, refuse receptacles, and water systems that are supplied by him;
- Not abuse the operator’s legal right of access to enter the home/premises to inspect utility connections, make ordinary and necessary repairs, or improvements.
- Give the resident reasonable notice of his intent to enter onto the residential premises and enter only at reasonable times.
If the park operator violates the above he may be liable to the resident for any actual damages resulting from the violation, injunctive relief to prevent the recurrence of the conduct, and if the resident obtains a judgment, reasonable attorneys' fees. The resident may also terminate the rental agreement. The park operator cannot retaliate against a resident by increasing the resident's rent, decreasing services, refuse to renew the rental agreement, or bring an action for possession [eviction] because the resident complained to an appropriate governmental agency of a violation of a building/health codes, complained to the park operator of any violation of the above operator’s duties, or the resident joined an association for the purpose of collectively negotiating with the park operator on any of the terms of a rental agreement. If you believe your park operator has violated any of the above, it is recommended that you seek legal counsel. What are the duties of the mobile home park resident in Ohio?
- A resident must keep his park lot safe and sanitary;
- Dispose of all rubbish in a clean, safe, and sanitary manner;
- Comply with the requirements imposed on residents by all applicable state and local housing, health, and safety codes, and the rules of the manufactured home park;
- A resident and any guests must refrain, from intentionally or negligently destroying, damaging any fixture, appliance, or other part of the park residential premises;
- Conduct himself and any guests in a manner that will not disturb the resident's neighbors' peaceful enjoyment of the manufactured home park.
- The resident shall not unreasonably withhold consent for the park operator to enter the home to inspect the lot/premises.
If the resident violates the above he may be liable to the park operator for any actual damages resulting from the violation, and reasonable attorneys' fees. The park operator may also terminate the rental agreement, seek an action for the possession of the premises [an eviction], or injunctive relief to compel access to the resident’s lot/premises. When may a park operator evict a mobile home resident?
- The tenant is in default in the payment of rent;
- A violation of an applicable building, housing, health, or safety code that the resident complained of was primarily caused by any act or lack of reasonable care by the resident or guests;
- A tenant is holding over the tenant's term.
- The resident is in violation of the manufactured home park rules adopted pursuant to the rules of the public health council.
- The resident, without payment of rent, has been absent from the manufactured home park for thirty consecutive days and the home unoccupied, without notice to the park operator.
- If a resident commits a material violation of the rules of the manufactured home park, the park operator may deliver a written notification of the violation to the resident describing the violation and stating that the rental agreement will terminate not less than thirty days after receipt of the notice unless the resident corrects the violation. If a second material violation of any park rule occurs within six months after the date of this notice, the rental agreement will terminate immediately.
- Nor may a park operator terminate utilities or services for the purpose of recovering possession of the residential premises or seize the furnishings or possessions of a resident, or of a resident whose right to possession has terminated, for the purpose of recovering rent payments. He must initiate lawful eviction/collection proceedings in a court.