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Attorney Q & A

This article is for general information purposes only. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice.

I recently received an application for tenancy, and the applicant looks good as far as his finances and his prior tenancy history. However, I have now discovered that he has listed as a registered sex offender on the Megan’s Law Database. Can I turn him down for this reason?

Absolutely not.The only grounds available to reject an applicant for tenancy in California mobilehome parks is as set forth in Civil Code Section 798.74, and are limited to financial inability to pay the rents and charges or, based upon a prior tenancy history, there is a reasonable belief that the applicant will not follow the park rules. A listing on the Megan’s Law Database does not fall within either of those two categories. In addition, it is illegal to discriminate in housing simply based upon the fact that someone is listed as a registered sex offender. If a housing opportunity is denied on this reason alone, this would be a violation of Penal Code Section 290.46 making the park liable for damages, penalties and attorneys fees.

I own a mobilehome park which is operated as housing for older persons, age 55+. One of my residents has recently begun operating a small day care center in her mobilehome. Can I put a stop to this?

Not if your resident complies with the provisions of the Community Care Facilities Act contained in Health and Safety Code beginning at Section 1597.30. That Act provides that, even in a facility that is housing for older persons, no government agency nor the private owner of such property is permitted to prohibit the use of a home as a small family day care facility.  There are requirements that you may insist upon such as proof of insurance, licensing and limitation on the number of children that will be attending the facility, and the mobilehome should be used for daycare use only, not as lodging or a residence for the children that attend. If you feel that your resident if violating the provisions of this law, you should contact your attorney for further advice.

I manage a 334 space park and am about to send out our annual notice of rent increase. Am I permitted to simply place the notice of increase in park mailing tubes or do I have to serve the notice is some other way?

Since rent increase notices are required to be in writing pursuant to Civil Code Section 798.30, and a minimum of 90 days notice has to be given, the provisions of Civil Code Section 798.14 must be followed. That Code Section provides that all notices required by the Mobilehome Residency Law, other than eviction notices (which must be served under Code of Civil Procedure Section 1162), must be either personally delivered to each homeowner or deposited in the U.S. Mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the homeowner at his/her address in the park. Use of the park mail tube would therefore not be technically in compliance with Civil Code Section 798.14, and personal face to face delivery or U.S. Mail is required.

One of the residents in my park has not been taking care of his awning and deck, and both of these items require significant maintenance and repair. Can I serve a 14 Day Notice telling the tenant that if they fail to take care of these problems I will go in and do the work for them and bill him for it?

No. The use of a 14 Day Space Maintenance Notice under Civil Code Section 798.36 is limited to issues involving the maintenance of the land and premises upon which the mobilehome sits, not the mobilehome itself.  You can always serve 7 Day Notice to Comply with Park Rules and Regulations if the home or its accessory structures are not in compliance with your rules, but you should not take any action to do work on a mobilehome or the accessory structures owned by a resident since this type of work is not specified in Civil Code Section 798.36.  In addition, if you were to perform work on someone’s home or accessory structures, you would be taking on an unacceptable liability in case the work is not done properly, there is an injury, or the home is somehow devalued because of the work.  The safest bet is to serve a 7 Day Notice to comply and handle this matter as a typical rules enforcement which may lead to eviction or injunction under Civil Code Section 798.56 or 798.88.

I am serving a Notice of Nonpayment of Rent on one of my residents and just ran a title search on the mobilehome through HCD. I see that there is a registered owner still listed on title, but I know that person died 5 years ago. That person was not a resident of the park and never signed a park rental agreement. Do I need to provide a copy of the notice that I am serving on the tenant to this deceased person?

Yes. Civil Code Section 798.55 provides that you must mail, by certified return receipt mail, copies of any 60 day notice terminating tenancy to anyone who shows on title to the home other than the homeowner. Although in your case the person may have passed away quite some time ago, it is always possible that someone else is looking out for their affairs or the affairs of their estate. In order to comply with Civil Code Section 798.55, you should mail a copy of that notice, certified return receipt mail, to that person at their address as it shows on the HCD title print out. More than likely, it will come back to you either undelivered, or some other person will sign for it. However, you will have complied with Civil Code Section 798.55, and you can avoid potential defenses to any eviction case that you may be forced to bring.

About Paul Jensen

Paul Jensen, a WMA-member attorney since 1980, is a well-known and popular seminar speaker who has written numerous articles and guides for WMA. A graduate of the University of Santa Clara Law School, he maintains his office in San Jose, representing manufactured home community owners and operators in all aspects of manufactured home communities’ law. Paul has served on many WMA committees, past and present, and is a frequent speaker at WMA seminars and convention. You can reach the Law Offices of Paul T. Jensen, Inc. P.C. at 408/287-7606.

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