FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FROM TENANTS IN MANUFACTURED HOME COMMUNITIES
questions and answers on rights and responsibilities in mobile home parks
Q: The owner of the mobile home park that I am moving to is charging me for the cost of pouring additional cement so that the pad will be large enough for my mobile home. Is this something that I should have to pay for?
A: No. This is a capital improvement to the park and should not be a charge to the tenant. You may refuse to pay for such additional cement work. But, you should make sure that you and the park owner are in agreement as to who will pay for the cement work before you sign a lease.
Q: Am I required to pay the electrical bills for the park's street lighting system?
A: No. Since these are not lights for your personal use, but to supply the required adequate lighting in the park, you should not have to pay for this. The Mobile Home Commission Rules state that "If a mobile home park tenant provides any utility service that results in common park use, such as park lighting, and that tenant is directly charged for that service by a public or park owned utility, the park shall disclose that charge to all affected tenants."
Q: Am I required to have a one-year lease?
A: The mobile home park is required to offer you a one-year lease at the beginning of your tenancy. A fee may not be charged for the one-year lease. You may choose not to have a one-year lease, but it is usually best to have a one-year lease because of the extra protections that tenants have under a one-year lease as compared with a month-to-month tenancy.
Q: How do I know if I'm being evicted and what I am being evicted for?
A: In order to start an eviction, the park must send the tenant a notice. The type of notice that the park sends you should tell you why the park is trying to evict you.
If the paper that the park has sent or given you says that you have 7 days to pay back lot rent or move, then you are being evicted for non-payment of rent. Typically, the notice that the park sends will say "Demand for Possession, Non-Payment of Rent" at the top, but it may also be a simple letter stating that you have 7 days in which to pay the back rent. Only after the 7 days expire does the park have the right to file a complaint starting a court case. After properly receiving the court complaint, the tenant has a right to participate in the court eviction case and dispute the park’s complaint.
If the paper that the park has sent or given you says that you have 30 days to move, your tenancy is being terminated. Typically, the notice that the park sends will say "Notice to Quit/ Termination of Tenancy" at the top, but again may also be a simply letter stating that you have 30 days in which to move. In termination of tenancy cases, tenants have the same rights regarding the court complaint and participating in the court eviction case as outlined above for nonpayment of rent cases
Q: On what grounds can I be evicted for “just cause”?
A: Tenancies in mobile home parks may be terminated if there is “just cause”. The just cause termination law is found at MCL (Michigan Compiled Laws) 600.5771-.5785. State law defines “just cause” as one or more of the following: (a) use of the mobile home site for an unlawful purpose; (b) failure to comply with the lease, agreement, or rules adopted therein which relate to (i) the health, safety, or welfare of the mobile home park, its employees, or tenants, (ii) the quiet enjoyment of another, or (iii) the physical condition or appearance of the mobile home; (c) a violation of public health related laws Michigan Compiled Laws 125.2306); (d) intentional physical injury to personnel, other tenants, or their property; (e) violation of a local ordinance, state law, or government regulation pertaining to mobile homes; (f) 3 or more late payments in a 12-month period; (g) conduct creating a substantial annoyance after notice and an opportunity to be heard; (h) failure to maintain home or site consistent with aesthetics appropriate to the park; (i) condemnation of the park; (j) changes in use or nature of the park; or (k) public health and safety violations by the tenant. A mobile home park owner may also take a tenant to court for nonpayment of rent (see previous answer).
Q: What should I do if I am served with a Demand for Possession or Notice to Quit?
A: After receiving a demand for possession for just cause termination of tenancy (not a demand for possession for nonpayment of rent), the tenant has 10 days in which to request an in-person conference with the owner or operator of the park. The owner or operator must then determine a time and date for the conference within 20 days of the request. You should request an in-person conference so that you have an opportunity to talk with the park owner about your eviction and to see if there is a way to resolve the matter. You should also talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
Q: What are my rights if a judgment for possession (eviction judgment) is entered by the court?
A: If the court eviction case is not decided in the tenant’s favor, the tenant has 10 days from the judgment date to move out of their mobile home and 90 days from the judgment date to sell or move the mobile home. This right is subject to various statutory requirements for winterizing the mobile home, etc. Also the tenant must pay all lot rent during the 90 day period.
Q: Can I be evicted for joining a tenant organization or for demanding that the park comply with its duties under the law?
A: No. Tenants of mobile home parks have the right to associate freely, and to free speech. They have the right to join tenant organizations or to advocate that others join such an organization. If you believe that you are being evicted for exercising these rights, you should talk to an attorney
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 otherwide need free or low cost legal advice:
Visit Michiganlegalaid.org and search for local assistance by entering your zip code in the box marked "Find a lawyer, organization or related service to help you with your problem."
Contact the Michigan State Bar Lawyer Referral Service at (800) 968-0738.
Persons age 60 or older, regardless of income, may be able to receive free legal advice from the Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors by calling (800) 347 5297.
This article appears courtesy of Legal Services of South Central Michigan