Senate Committee Approves Stone Bill to Protect Mobilehome Owners in Disputes with Parks
SACRAMENTO— The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved AB 3066 by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) to help mobilehome owners resolve disputes with mobilehome park owners.
“In California mobilehome parks, people own their mobilehomes but not the land beneath it. Current law requires these individuals to go to court to address problems with park owners, but affordable legal help for them is almost non-existent,” said Stone. “For people on fixed incomes, litigation without assistance is often too expensive and burdensome to resolve many violations, including serious violations that can negatively affect quality of life.”
The measure balances the relationship between mobilehome owners and park owners by establishing a pilot program for assessing Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL) violations at the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Mobilehome owners would have additional assistance resolving issues related to home sales, complaint responses, and charges leading to eviction.
Under current law, no state entity has jurisdiction over violations of the MRL, so mobilehome owners must turn to civil litigation when they have disputes with park owners. Because of this, mobilehome owners often simply drop complaints. Common violations of the MRL include:
- Selective, inconsistent enforcement of park rules
- Park owners violating their own park rules of “no subletting” by renting out their mobile homes but not allowing homeowners to rent out their own mobile homes
- Interference with home sales
- Attempts to prevent mobilehome owners from using the clubhouse, especially for meetings
- On-site management failure to keep posted office hours or respond to resident complaints
- Bullying and threatening behavior by onsite managers
- Frivolous charges leading to eviction
AB 3066 creates a 5-year pilot program allowing HCD to collect and evaluate MRL complaints. To maximize enforcement efforts on the most egregious violations, HCD would select the most severe violations to refer to legal aid nonprofits, which would then provide free or sliding-scale assistance to mobilehome owners in their pursuit of litigation. In order to fund this new authority and these duties, AB 3066 allows HCD to assess a $10 registration fee on mobilehome owners starting in 2020.
There are about 7,000 mobilehome parks in California with over 700,000 residents.
AB 3066 next goes to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration of fiscal impact.