The Cross Law Firm's Landlord Law Blog

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.

Advertisements

June 30, 2011

Death of a Resident in Your Mobilehome Community: What You Need to Know (Part 2)

The Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL) provides limited rights to the decedent’s heirs, joint tenants or personal representative. Specifically, the MRL allows a homeowner’s heir, joint tenant or personal representative of the decedent’s estate, who gains ownership of a mobilehome in a mobilehome community as a result of the homeowner’s death, to sell the mobilehome in place in the community to an approved purchaser. This right, however, is conditioned on the heir, joint tenant or personal representative satisfying all of the deceased homeowner’s obligations under the lease. These obligations include satisfying the rent, utilities and maintenance obligations since the death of the homeowner and that continue to accrue until the date the mobilehome is sold. (Civil Code Section 798.78(a).)

One problem with this provision of the MRL that is of concern to you as a community owner, is that it assumes the person has a particular status (heir, joint tenant or personal representative). So, the question(s) for you as the community manager or owner are:

    1. How do you know who is legally entitled to access and potentially sell the deceased homeowner’s mobilehome?
    2. How do you ensure that a person claiming to have authority to act for the deceased homeowner is the legal representative of the decedent’s estate?

August 25, 2010

Renting Out Community-Owned Manufactured Homes and Complying with The Landlord Tenant Law (Part 5)

Modern Desert Mobile Home/ Manufactured House
Image via Wikipedia

This is part 5 of my blog series about renting out community-owned manufactured homes and complying with the landlord tenant law.

Terminating the Tenancy

Terminating a tenancy for an owner-occupied manufactured home tenancy in comparison to terminating a community-owned rental is an area that community owners commonly make mistakes. Due to the high cost of moving manufactured homes, as well as other factors, the Legislature created additional protections for evicting homeowners under the MRL. A tenancy with the homeowner/resident under the MRL may be terminated only for the following select reasons:

  1. Failure to comply with a local ordinance or state law regulations related to manufactured homes within a reasonable time after notice
  2. Conduct which constitutes a substantial annoyance
  3. Conviction of homeowner/resident for prostitution or felony controlled substance offense committed on premises that resulted in conviction
  4. Failure to comply with a reasonable rule or regulation of a community
  5. Non-payment of rent or utilities

In addition, the MRL also requires that a 60-day notice to terminate possession of the premises be served (sometimes in conjunction with other types of notices) to allow the homeowner 60 days to vacate the premises and move or sell his or her manufactured home.

* For specific inquiries regarding a mobilehome law matter that you may have, you’re welcome to visit my California Manufactured Housing Community Owners legal services page.

Enhanced by Zemanta

August 2, 2010

Renting Out Community-Owned Manufactured Homes and Complying with The Landlord Tenant Law (Part 4)

This is part 4 of my blog series about renting out community-owned manufactured homes and complying with the landlord tenant law.

Ensuring the Manufactured Home is Habitable

A community-owned manufactured home tenancy creates the responsibility for the community owner not only to maintain the space, but also to ensure the inside and outside of the manufactured home is habitable for human occupation.  Ensuring that a manufactured home is habitable typically entails a few basic requirements including:

1. Make sure all fixtures work properly

2. There is hot and cold running water

3. There is no insect infestation

4. There is proper lighting and ventilation

5. There are proper electric outlets

6. There is proper waterproofing/weather protection

7. There are proper plumbing and gas facilities

8. There are proper heating facilities

9. The floors, stairways and railways are in good repair

10. The doors have deadbolts

11. There is a telephone jack

12. The windows have locks

13. All fire and other applicable codes and ordinances are complied with

There are statutory penalties imposed on landlords who fail to ensure that the community-owned rental premises is habitable for the residents.

In contrast, in an owner-occupied manufactured home tenancy regulated under the MRL, the community owner is typically responsible for the habitability of the community’s common areas only and not the home.

* For specific inquiries regarding a mobilehome law matter that you may have, you’re welcome to visit my California Manufactured Housing Community Owners legal services page.

July 21, 2010

Renting Out Community-Owned Manufactured Homes and Complying with The Landlord Tenant Law (Part 3)

This is part 3 of my blog series about renting out community-owned manufactured homes and complying with the landlord tenant law.

This blog series is intended to briefly address some differences between the typical owner-occupied manufactured home tenancies governed under the MRL and the community-owned rental tenancies governed by general landlord-tenant law. Please note that this is just a summary of some of the most common differences. Owners should consult their attorneys to ensure that they have all of the proper procedures and documents in place for both situations.

* For specific inquiries regarding a mobilehome law matter that you may have, you’re welcome to visit my California Manufactured Housing Community Owners legal services page.

July 7, 2010

Renting Out Community-Owned Manufactured Homes and Complying with The Landlord Tenant Law (Part 2)

This is part 2 of my blog series about renting out community-owned manufactured homes and complying with the landlord tenant law.

Renting can be profitable, but the community owner must understand that a different set of laws govern these community-owned rentals. Community owners are generally familiar with their responsibilities under the Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL), which applies to the typical owner-occupied manufactured home tenancy in a manufactured home community. However, community owners must also be aware of the responsibilities and liabilities that exist when renting a community-owned manufactured home, which is regulated by general landlord-tenant law and not the MRL.

In addition, the community documents presented to residents of community-owned rentals must also reflect the different laws and not reference the MRL.

* For specific inquiries regarding a mobilehome law matter that you may have, you’re welcome to visit my California Manufactured Housing Community Owners legal services page.

June 23, 2010

Renting Out Community-Owned Manufactured Homes and Complying with The Landlord Tenant Law (Part 1)

This is part 1 of my blog series about renting out community-owned manufactured homes and complying with the landlord tenant law.

In today’s economic recession, many community owners are experiencing a larger than usual accrual of community-owned manufactured homes.  This situation is due primarily to resident homeowners abandoning their manufactured homes to the community, community owners obtaining manufactured homes through warehouseman’s lien sales, or by community owners purchasing manufactured homes from distressed homeowners who are failing to pay the rent.  In any event, the community owner is left with a larger than usual inventory of community-owned, vacant manufactured homes (hereinafter referred to as “community-owned homes”).  These homes are difficult to sell in today’s market, and community owners lose space rent every month the community-owned home does not sell.  Many community owners are finding it is economically feasible to fix up the manufactured homes and rent them to non-homeowner residents (hereinafter referred to as “community-owned rentals”).

* For specific inquiries regarding a mobilehome law matter that you may have, you’re welcome to visit my California Manufactured Housing Community Owners legal services page.

June 2, 2010

The Red Flags Rule

As of June 1, 2010, mobilehome park owners, landlords and property management companies who use consumer reports in their daily operations (i.e. to screen applicants), are required to create and implement reasonable policies and procedures to identify and assist in combating Identity Theft. The policy must include reasonable steps to be taken if the user of a consumer report receives a Notice of Address Discrepancy (“Notice”) from a consumer reporting agency. This Notice alerts the user that there is an inconsistency between the information obtained from the consumer/applicant and the information on the credit report.

This new law, called the “Identity Theft Red Flags and Address Discrepancies under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003” does not specifically state the steps the community’s policy must include, but some examples of recommended policies are 1. to ask the consumer to explain the inconsistency in the report or to produce further documentation to verify if the information is consistent with the credit report information and 2. compare documents such as notices of change of address or other third-party sources.  It is highly recommended that the community’s policy be in writing and include a requirement that all Notices received and all steps taken in compliance with the policy be documented. Make sure the community’s employees/managers understand and are familiar with the policy.

* If you would like assistance in creating your policy, you’re welcome to visit my California Manufactured Housing Community Owners legal services page.

March 10, 2010

Reasonable Accommodations for the Disabled: Your legal responsibilities as an owner or manager (Part 4)

This is the conclusion of a 4-part blog series advising manufactured home community managers/owners on accommodating disabled tenants.

These laws recognize that a manufactured home community is a business establishment and owners have a legitimate, non-discriminatory interest in renting to individuals who will timely pay the rent and who will obey the rules of the community. Whether or not an individual has a disability should not play a role in this determination. These laws insure that owners of rental properties make business decisions based on legitimate, non-discriminatory factors only, and not on the basis of arbitrary physical or mental disabilities of which an individual cannot control. What owners and managers must and cannot do regarding disabled individuals may seem overwhelming.

This blog series is not designed to scare owners or managers into thinking they absolutely have to rent to a disabled individual or make all requested modifications or accommodations to comply with these laws. The purpose of the disability laws is not to give more benefits to disabled individuals in the rental arena, but simply to insure that disabled individuals receive equal access and enjoyment to the rental premises.

* For specific inquiries regarding a disabled tenant you may have, your welcome to visit my California Manufactured Housing Community and Mobilehome Park Owners legal services page.

March 4, 2010

Reasonable Accommodations for the Disabled: Your legal responsibilities as an owner or manager (Part 3)

This is Part 3 of a 4-part blog series advising manufactured home community managers/owners on accommodating disabled tenants focusing  on DISCRIMINATION IN RENTING.

In addition to failing to make reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals to equally use and enjoy the premises, owners and managers need to be aware that they are prohibited from discriminating against disabled individuals in all aspects of renting based on the fact that the individual is disabled. Discrimination means treating individuals unequally due to their disability, to their perceived disability or due to their association with a disabled individual. Unlawful discrimination can occur in various ways, including, but not limited to, refusing to rent to a disabled individual, imposing additional rental terms, denying certain rental privileges, charging higher rent, limiting access to the premises or common areas, or terminating the tenancy.

Who is a disabled individual under the federal and state disability laws? Under state and federal law, a disability is one that impairs a “major life activity” such as performing normal household chores, walking, hearing or seeing. The impairment can be of a physical or mental nature and includes such conditions as physical handicaps, disfigurements, disease, mental disabilities, mental retardation, emotional or mental illness, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV status, just to name a few. Certain impairments, however, have been determined not to be disabilities entitled to protections under federal and state law. These impairments include sexual behavior disorders, compulsive gambling, kleptomania, pyromania and current substance abuse. Be careful, however.

The California Unruh Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, is very broad in its protection. This act also prohibits communities from discriminating against individuals for “arbitrary characteristics,” which could include several disabilities or perceived disabilities not commonly categorized. Also note that discrimination can occur without the individual actually having a protected disability if that individual is perceived as having a disability and unlawfully discriminated against because of the perceived disability.

Penalties for discrimination As an owner or manager of a manufactured home community, you must be aware of these laws and your responsibilities because these laws impose fines and penalties for non-compliance. An individual who is unlawfully discriminated against in the renting arena or who is not afforded reasonable accommodations under these laws can be awarded actual damages incurred, embarrassment and emotional distress damages, statutory damages of three times the amount of actual damages, injunctive relief, and in some circumstances, even punitive (punishment) damages are available. Both owners and managers have liability for discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Owners may be held responsible for the discriminatory acts of their managers whether these acts were negligent, intentional, or directly against community policy or orders. If the act of the manager was authorized or ratified by the owner, the owner may face punitive damages. Managers also face individual liability for their discriminatory acts, even if they were following orders of the owner. Therefore, establish fair rental policies, train managers on these policies, adequately supervise managers and discipline any violation of these policies.

* For specific inquiries regarding a discrimination in renting, your welcome to visit my California Manufactured Housing Community and Mobilehome Park Owners legal services page.

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: