MOBILE HOME PARK TENENT'S RIGHTS


A mobile home owner who rents a space or site in a licensed mobile home park is offered certain protections under the Michigan Mobile Home Commission Act and the Mobile Home Administrative Code. The Code is a set of rules that governs areas relating to the licensing and construction of mobile home parks.  The Code also sets standards for roads in the park, utilities and recreational facilities, as well as standards to protect the health, safety and welfare of mobile home residents.  A special Michigan law covers termination of tenancies in mobile home parks.  A tenant can be evicted only for “just cause.”  “Just cause” includes a number of reasons for terminating a tenancy such as, a tenant using the mobile home site for illegal purposes like selling drugs or causing intentional physical harm to other tenants or their property.

In addition to the above special mobile home park laws, the mobile home owner who rents a site has the same legal rights as any other residential tenant.  The tenant also has the right to sign a lease, to pay a security deposit not to exceed 1 1/2 times the monthly rent, to receive a copy of park rules and regulations, to receive an inventory check list upon moving on the site, and is entitled to the return of the security deposit if proper procedures have been followed.  Tenants have the legal right to complain to health or other authorities without fear of a retaliatory eviction.

A MOBILE HOME PARK OWNER OR OPERATOR MUST:

    1. Offer a tenant a written lease for one year or more.  This protects a tenant because the amount of rent and other conditions set out in the lease are fixed for the duration of the lease agreement for the site.  The terms of the lease stay in effect unless either the tenant or owner breaks a clause in the lease.  The lease may also be ended if both the tenant and the park owner agree to do so.  A prospective tenant may refuse to sign a lease, but he or she loses the protection a lease offers.  If the tenant decides not to sign a lease, the park owner must require the tenant to sign a written refusal.  The park owner must keep a copy of the written refusal on file.  Before signing a lease, the mobile home owner should review it carefully or have an attorney check the terms of the lease.
    2. Give the park tenant a copy of park rules and regulations that govern such matters as maintenance of the mobile home, pet ownership, fees and charges.  The rules must apply equally to all residents in the park.  Before renting a site, the mobile home owner should read the park rules carefully and decide whether the rules are too restrictive.
    3. Give residents a one year notice before converting to total rental of both sites and mobile homes or before changing the use of the land where the park is located.
    4. Comply with security deposit law like any other landlord.
    5. Keep written records for each tenant including a copy of the lease or refusal to sign the lease, move-in inventory check lists, rent receipts, notices and correspondence.

A MOBILE HOME PARK OWNER OR OPERATOR CANNOT:

    1. Charge a fee for entering or leaving a mobile home park.  These charges are also known as entrance and exit fees.
    2. Charge more than 1 1/2 times the monthly rent as a security deposit.
    3. Require a person to buy a mobile home from another person as a condition of renting a space in the park.
    4. Require a person to purchase, rent or lease goods or services as a condition for renting a space in the park.  The park owner cannot refuse to rent a space unless tenant buys a specific model mobile home from a specified manufacturer or dealer.  The park owner cannot require tenant to purchase LP gas only from a dealer authorized by the park owner.  If a tenant’s furnace needs to be repaired, the park owner cannot limit the tenant to a specific repair service.
    5. Deny a resident the right to sell his or her mobile home on-site, in-park, to anyone, provided the proposed buyer qualifies for tenancy and the mobile home meets the conditions set out in the park rules and regulations.
    6. Deny a person the right to sell a mobile home or remain as a resident based solely on the age or size of the mobile home.
    7. Charge the tenant a presale inspection fee of more that $30.00 (or the amount charged by the local building inspector if higher).
    8. Prohibit children from residing in the park unless such a park rule was in effect before a resident was approved as a tenant.
    9. Prohibit pets that were approved under prior park rules, unless the pet is a dangerous animal.
    10. Evict a resident without “just cause."

EVICTIONS FROM MOBILE HOME PARK SITES

A mobile home owner renting a site in a mobile home park may be evicted for only two reasons: for non-payment of rent or for “just cause.”  Eviction for non-payment of rent is governed by the same laws that apply to any other residential tenant.

A mobile home park tenancy can also be terminated for “just cause.”  “Just cause” includes one or more of the following:

    1. Using the mobile home site for an unlawful purpose.
    2. Breaking the terms of the lease.
    3. Failing to abide by or violating a rule or regulation of the park rules relating to:
      • A. Health, safety or welfare of other tenants or employees in the mobile home park.
      • B. Quiet enjoyment of other tenants in the park.
      • C. Maintenance of the mobile home, the site or the park.
    4. Causing intentional physical injury to another tenant or employee of the mobile home park.
    5. Causing intentional physical damage to mobile home park property or to the property of other tenants.
    6. Failing to comply with any local ordinances, state laws, or governmental rules and regulations pertaining to mobile homes.
    7. Making late rental payments three or more times in a twelve month period.  Before evicting for this reason, the mobile home park owner must have served the tenant each time with a notice to quit for non-payment of rent and the tenant must have failed or refused to pay the rent owed within ten days.  A written demand for termination of tenancy must include a notice to the tenant containing the following or equivalent language:  “Notice: Three or more late payments of rent during any 12 month period is just cause to evict you.”
    8. Continuing to cause “substantial annoyance” to others despite notice and an opportunity to stop the annoyance.  An example of substantial annoyance might be playing a musical instrument late at night over the objection of other tenants.
    9. Violating public health and safety codes or regulations.

The mobile home park owner may also seek possession if the use for the park changes or if the park has been condemned.  For instance, the owner may have to sell the park property to make way for a new highway.

TENANT’S RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS AFTER PARK OWNER DEMANDS POSSESSION

    1. Tenant has the right to request an in-person conference with the owner.  Tenant must request the conference by certified or registered mail within 10 days of service of notice to terminate.  The owner must offer the conference not later than 20 days after tenant requests the conference.  If the problem is not resolved at the conference, the park owner may then seek possession of the site in court. The tenant may have an attorney present at the conference.
    2. Tenant may contest the action to terminate tenancy and may present evidence to the court to support his or her claim.
    3. Tenant must continue to pay rent for the site after owner makes demand for possession.
    4. If owner is awarded judgment for possession, tenant has 90 days, with possible extension, to move or sell the mobile home.  Tenant must continue to pay rend during the 90 days and must continue to maintain the mobile home in accordance with the mobile home park rules and regulations.
    5. Tenant has the right to sell the mobile home on site in the park to a buyer who qualifies for tenancy and if the mobile home meets conditions set out in the park rules.  The mobile home park owner must give a tenant access to the mobile home so that the tenant can maintain or sell the mobile home.

WHERE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT MOBILE HOME PARK OWNERS

Complaints against a mobile home park owner or operator may be made to the Manufactured Housing Commission, Michigan Department of Consumer & Industry Services, 6546 Mercantile Way, Lansing, MI 48910, (517) 241-6300. The Commission may investigate the matter. 

Instructions for filing a complaint can be accessed here.

A tenant may also call the consumer protection division of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, telephone (877) 765-8388 (toll free).

Residents of manufactured home communities may also want to contact the Manufactured Home Owners Legislative Association of Michigan for information and support.


To learn more about housing rights in Michigan and where to get help:    

Consult the Michigantenants.org website for local housing resources and tenant counseling services. 

Consult the Michiganlegalaid.org website for legal education articles and local service information.

If you received court papers or otherwise need free or low cost legal advice:

This article appears through the courtesy of Elder Law of Michigan and is ©2005 ELM, Inc.