The Cross Law Firm's Landlord Law Blog

January 24, 2017

Mobilehome Notices Required by Feb. 1 Under the 2017 MRL

Mobilehome Attorney CaliforniaPer California Law, there are three important notices mobilehome park owners and manufactured housing community owners and/or their management need to send to all homeowners/residents by February 1 of each year:
 
1. Notice of MRL significant change:
 
You need to distribute a copy of the 2017 Mobilehome Residency Law to all homeowners and residents OR notify all homeowners and residents in writing by February 1, 2017 that there has been a significant change in the MRL and notifying the homeowner that he/she can request a copy of the updated MRL from the community management at no charge.  Upon a request by a homeowner, Community owners and management are required to provide a copy of the MRL to the homeowner within 7 days of the request.  
 
2. CARE Notice:
 
The management of a master-meter park shall give written notice to homeowners and residents on or before February 1, 2017 in their utility billing statements about assistance to low-income persons for utility costs available under the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program, established pursuant to Section 739.1 of the Public Utilities Code. The notice shall include CARE information available to master-meter customers from their serving utility, to include, at a minimum: (1) the fact that CARE offers a discount on monthly gas or electric bills for qualifying low-income residents; and (2) the telephone number of the serving utility which provides CARE information and applications. The park shall also post the notice in a conspicuous place in the clubhouse, or if there is no clubhouse, in a conspicuous public place in the park. 
 
3. Rights & Responsibilities Notice (UPDATED)
 
Management is required to send the below notice of Rights & Responsibilities to all homeowners and residents pursuant to California Civil Code 798.15(i) by February 1, 2017.  The Notice or Rights and Responsibilities was just amended- so please make sure you have the updated language from the MRL.  Here it is: 
IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL MANUFACTURED HOME/MOBILEHOME OWNERS: CALIFORNIA LAW REQUIRES THAT YOU BE MADE AWARE OF THE FOLLOWING:
The Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL), found in Section 798 et seq. of the Civil Code, establishes the rights and responsibilities of homeowners and park management. The MRL is deemed a part of the terms of any park rental agreement or lease. This notice is intended to provide you with a general awareness of selected parts of the MRL and other important laws. It does not serve as a legal explanation or interpretation. For authoritative information, you must read and understand the laws. These laws change from time to time. In any year in which the law has changed, you may obtain one copy of the full text of the law from management at no charge. This notice is required by Civil Code Section 798.15(i) and the information provided may not be current.
Homeowners and park management have certain rights and responsibilities under the MRL. These include, but are not limited to:
1. Management must give a homeowner written notice of any increase in his or her rent at least 90 days before the date of the increase. (Civil Code Section 798.30)
2. No rental or sales agreement may contain a provision by which a purchaser or a homeowner waives any of his or her rights under the MRL. (Civil Code Sections 798.19, 798.77)
3. Management may not terminate or refuse to renew a homeowner’s tenancy except for one or more of the authorized reasons set forth in the MRL. (Civil Code Sections 798.55, 798.56) Homeowners must pay rent, utility charges, and reasonable incidental service charges in a timely manner. Failure to comply could be grounds for eviction from the park. (Civil Code Section 798.56)
4. Homeowners, residents, and their guests must comply with the rental agreement or lease, including the reasonable rules and regulations of the park and all applicable local ordinances and state laws and regulations relating to mobilehomes. Failure to comply could be grounds for eviction from the park. (Civil Code Section 798.56)
5. Homeowners have a right to peacefully assemble and freely communicate with respect to mobilehome living and for social or educational purposes. Homeowners have a right to meet in the park, at reasonable hours and in a reasonable manner, for any 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. (Civil Code Sections 798.50, 798.51)
6. If a home complies with certain standards, the homeowner is entitled to sell it in place in the park. If you sell your home, you are required to provide a manufactured home and mobilehome transfer disclosure statement to the buyer prior to sale. (Civil Code Section 1102.6d) When a home is sold, the owner is required to transfer the title to the buyer. The sale of the home is not complete until you receive the title from the seller. It is the responsibility of the buyer to also file paperwork with the Department of Housing and Community Development to register the home in his or her name. (Civil Code Sections 798.70–798.74)
7. Management has the right to enter the space upon which a mobilehome is situated for maintenance of utilities, trees, and driveways; for inspection and maintenance of the space in accordance with the rules and regulations of the park when the homeowner or resident fails to maintain the space; and for protection and maintenance of the mobilehome park at any reasonable time, but not in a manner or at a time that would interfere with the resident’s quiet enjoyment of his or her home. (Civil Code Section 798.26)
8. 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, which may include obtaining a permit to construct, and, if required by park rules or the rental agreement, without prior written approval of management. Failure to comply could be grounds for eviction from the park. (Civil Code Section 798.56)
9. In California, mobilehome owners must pay annual property tax to the county tax collector or an annual fee in lieu of taxes to the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). If you are unsure which to pay, contact HCD. Failure to pay taxes or in lieu fees can have serious consequences, including losing your home at a tax sale.
10. For more information on registration, titling, and taxes, contact: the Department of Housing and Community Development www.hcd.ca.gov (800) 952-8356; your County Tax Collector; or call your local county government.

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May 29, 2013

CARE (California Alternate Rates for Energy) Issues New Income Qualification Levels

Landlord Attorney San DiegoThe California Alternate Rates for Energy, otherwise known as “CARE” has issued new income qualification levels as of June 1, 2013. These new income levels will be used to determine if an individual or household qualifies for discounted electric and gas rates.

To be eligible for the CARE discount, individuals or households must have gross income below the income stated on the CARE chart. These CARE income levels should be communicated to residents and the applicable prevailing residential gas and electric rate schedule as published by the serving utility shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the Community.

The revised income levels are as follows per number of individuals in the household:

     1 person                                $22,980
     2 persons                              $31,020
     3 persons                              $39,060
     4 persons                              $47,100
     5 persons                              $55,140
     6 persons                              $63,180
     7 persons                                     $71,220
     8 persons                              $79,260
     Each additional person             $8,040

If you have any specific questions about the new CARE levels and how to notify your community, please contact our Landlord Attorney in San Diego today.


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August 21, 2012

Managing Lawyer Tamara Cross Given Client’s Choice 2012 Award by Avvo

Tamara Cross Receives Client's Choice 2012 Award

Tamara Cross Receives Client’s Choice 2012 Award

Tamara Cross, Managing Attorney at The Cross Law Firm, APC based in San Diego, Ca received the distinguished Client’s Choice 2012 Award by Avvo.com.  This award is given to the top attorneys in each practice area within California.

About Avvo:

Avvo empowers consumers by rating doctors, dentists and lawyers, and having these real professionals answer their questions. Avvo profiles contain helpful information including experience, background, disciplinary history, and reviews from patients and clients.

Information meets guidance in the editorial Avvo Rating. The rating is calculated using a mathematical model that considers elements such as years of experience, board certification, education, disciplinary history, professional achievement, and industry recognition-all factors that are relevant to assessing a doctor, dentist or lawyer’s qualifications.

Contact San Diego Landlord Attorney Tamara Cross at The Cross Law Firm for a reduced-fee consultation today.


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January 17, 2012

Attorney Tamara Cross to Give WMA’s 2012 Update of New Laws Seminar in San Diego

WMA LogoThe Western Manufactured Housing Association‘s (WMA) 2012 Update of New Laws Seminar focuses on changes in the state law, as well as changes in state and federal regulations, and how these changes affect community operations. This year we will also discuss developing your Annual Quick List of important tasks that need to be accomplished annually.

The speaker panel will include mobilehome industry attorney Tamara Cross from The Cross Law Firm, APC and an industry veteran who owns and/or manages multiple manufactured home communities.

The seminar takes place tomorrow, January 18th, 2012 at the Hilton San Diego Mission Valley.  Seminar hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m and lunch is included.

These seminars fill up quickly so early registration is recommended.

Join us for these updates, refreshers and other useful resources to help you navigate the Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL) like a pro!


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November 2, 2011

Mobilehome Owner Dies Without a Will: What to do as the Mobilehome Park Owner

If the homeowner dies without a will, then as the community owner, the situation is not any different than that described above. You might be presented with a “Small Estates Affidavit”. In the absence of that, a representative of the estate still needs to be appointed. The process is essentially the same as that described above in that a petition is filed with the court by the person who seeks appointment as the legal representative. And if that person is approved by the court, he or she will be issued “Letters of Administration” as discussed previously.

In the situation where you have actual knowledge that the resident has died, but no one has come forward on that person’s behalf, then complicated issues of the proper service of notices necessary under the MRL arise. The proper steps or action to take in such situation will depend on the particular factual circumstances involved. As a result, it is recommended that you specifically consult with your legal counsel about the proper course of conduct in this situation, so you as the owner, can protect yourself from potential liability.

The death of a resident can present many potential “traps” for the mobilehome community owner or manager and it is recommended that you consult with legal counsel to determine the proper steps to take so you can avoid unnecessary liability.

After all, particularly when it comes to legal expense, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

For more information, contact Mobilehome Park Lawyer Tamara Cross today.


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October 7, 2011

Small Estates Affidavit: What Should You Request From an Heir to Protect Yourself as the Mobilehome Park Owner

A Small Estates Affidavit contains certain declarations under oath about:

1. The death of the resident
2. The legal heirs
3. The value of the estate
4. Other items required by the probate code section that authorizes its use

However, if an heir has been appointed as a representative of the estate by the court, he or she will receive a document, issued by the court, described above as “Letters of Administration”. That document will, among other things, contain the signature of a judge and a stamp from the court showing it has been issued and filed. Most importantly, it will identify the individual(s) who have been given the authority by the court to act on behalf of the estate, and the powers granted to that individual.

Then, and only then, can you rest assured that you are now dealing with the proper person(s) who have the authority to act on behalf of the estate.

For more information, contact Mobilehome Park Attorney Tamara Cross today.


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September 21, 2011

Death of a Resident in Your Mobilehome Community: What NOT to Do

Depending on the location of your community or where the resident died, the process whereby someone becomes appointed as the representative of the decedent’s estate can take several months. During that time, you as the community owner or manager, need to proceed cautiously:

1. DO NOT be persuaded into allowing family members access to the mobilehome if you have a key

2. DO NOT enter the mobilehome at their request to obtain clothing or documents

3. DO NOT sign contracts with heirs who have not presented proper documentation that they in fact have the legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased resident.

Contact our Mobilehome Owner Attorney at The Cross Law Firm, APC for more information.

August 22, 2011

Death of a Resident in Your Mobilehome Community: What You Need to Know (Part 3 Continued)

Continued from Death of a Resident in Your Mobilehome Community: What You Need to Know (Part 3)

Who Should You (as the Mobilehome Community Owner) Deal With Regarding the Decedent’s Estate (Continued)?

However, in the case of a supposed heir or personal representative, your inquiry does not stop upon mere verification of death. Once you have verified or established that the resident is dead, the question for you as the owner, regardless of whether the person has died with or without a will, is does that individual have authority to act or not. This would generally require an official court document, typically known as “Letters of Administration”, depending on the particular county. A possible exception to this, is something frequently referred to as a “Small Estates Affidavit”. This document, which is executed under oath, can be used in certain situations (which are specified in the probate code) and can allow for the release of personal property of the deceased pursuant to the statements in that declaration. There are specific requirements with regard to such affidavits, so it is recommended that you consult with legal counsel if you are presented with such a document.

Furthermore, the HCD allows an heir, after 40-days from the death of the resident, to fill out and file a form called “Certificate for Transfer Without Probate”. With this form, the heir signs an affidavit under oath, and if all requirements are met, the HCD will transfer title of the mobilehome into the individual’s name. Documentation reflecting that the HCD has transferred (or is transferring) title of the mobilehome to the heir/personal representation should also be suffi cient to prove authority to act.

In the absence of documents showing title has been transferred to the heir, joint tenant or personal representative, only the legally appointed representative of the estate with specific court ordered powers has the authority to act on behalf of the deceased. This includes the authority to sell the mobilehome or to enter the home and remove its contents.

Contact Tamara Cross at The Cross Law Firm, APC to discuss additional questions regarding the death of a resident in your mobilehome community.

August 11, 2011

Tamara Cross, Managing Attorney of The Cross Law Firm, APC Gives Mobilehome Park Seminar on 8/18/2011 in San Diego, CA

Tamara Cross, Attorney at The Cross Law Firm, APC is presenting the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association’s (WMA) August 2011 MCM Seminar discussing pools, parking and other tricky issues that managers and owners of mobilehome parks throughout California face.  The seminar will take place at the Hilton San Diego Mission Valley on Thursday, August 18, 2011.

From the WMA’s website:

“This seminar focuses on topics that demand a lot of attention from management. These are also the topics that can get management into the most trouble, namely discrimination. Make sure to attend this seminar to learn the do’s and don’ts when tackling these issues.

Six units of MCM credit can be earned upon passing the corresponding exam administered at the end of the seminar.  Seminar hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Lunch is included. “

Please visit our website for more information about California Mobilehome Park Attorney Tamara Cross.


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August 2, 2011

Death of a Resident in Your Mobilehome Community: What You Need to Know (Part 3)

Who Should You (as the Mobilehome Community Owner) Deal With Regarding the Decedent’s Estate?

While there are an innumerable number of ways to die, when someone dies, it is either with a will (“testate”) or without a will (“intestate”). In the first instance, the dearly departed has executed a writing which identifies someone whom they want to manage their affairs upon death and what they want to happen with their property. In the latter, they have left that up to the laws of the state they are in.

From your perspective as the mobilehome community owner, the obligation to establish the death of the resident is that of the person(s) seeking to take some action regarding the mobilehome or its contents. This person(s) should be able to present you with a certified copy of a death certificate which will verify the identity and death of the resident. Depending on the county, this certificate will contain an official stamp, typically in purple ink, reflecting that it is an official record of that county.

To determine if a mobilehome is owned in joint tenancy, you can look at the Housing and Community Development (HCD) issued title of the mobilehome and it should indicate that the owners are “joint tenants.” If title is held in joint tenancy, then the verification of the resident’s death (and in some situations an accompanying “Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant”), as well as confirming the identity of the joint tenant should be enough to establish that the individual has authority to take control over the mobilehome.

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