A landlord of a mobile home park (also called a manufactured dwelling park) or floating home marina must have written rules and regulations about how tenants use the rented space and park or marina facilities, and they must be attached to the Statement of Policy given to tenants when they move in. Rules and regulations are considered to be a part of the rental agreement (which also must be in writing). These rules and regulations do not need to be the same for all tenants at all times, so long as the rules are applied fairly. Your landlord may enforce a rule or regulation only if it promotes the convenience, safety or welfare of the tenants; protects the landlord’s property from abusive use; or helps all tenants have fair use of shared services and facilities. The rule or regulation must also meet all of the following criteria:
These criteria allow your landlord some leeway in making and enforcing rules differently for different tenants. For example, a landlord can have different rules for new tenants who move into the facility. The old rules might allow woodpiles in the carport for existing tenants, while the new rules for new tenants do not. In addition, state and federal anti-discrimination laws require landlords to make reasonable accommodations to rules to afford tenants with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their dwelling, so, for example, your landlord might allow a tenant who uses a wheelchair to have special parking privileges.
A landlord may waive his or her right to enforce a rule, by accepting performance by the tenant that varies from the terms of the rule or by accepting rent for at least 3 months while knowing that the tenant is not complying with the rule, such as by having a prohibited pet. A landlord can avoid waiving a rule by giving the tenant a written warning notice. A facility landlord never waives the right to enforce a rule regarding maintenance of the dwelling or the space.
Manufactured dwelling and floating home facility landlords may also issue reasonable occupancy guidelines. If your landlord chooses to have such a rule, the rule must be based on reasonable factors. Such factors may include the size of the dwelling and that of the rented space. Other reasonable factors to consider would be any discriminatory impact on groups legally protected against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, familial status, source of income or disability, and limitations placed on utility services governed by a water or sewage permit. Any occupancy guideline may not be more restrictive than limiting occupancy to two people per bedroom of the dwelling.
If your facility landlord changes the rules to no longer allow pets, you may keep a pet already legally living with you at the time your landlord provides notice of the rule change. Furthermore, you can replace the pet with a pet similar to the one living with you at the time the landlord provided notice of the proposed change. However, new rules about the activities of pets — as opposed to rules prohibiting pets — apply to all pets in the facility, including those living in the facility before the new rule. Keep in mind that any new rule must meet the criteria described above. If you entered into a rental agreement after Oct. 31, 1997, your facility landlord may not charge you extra for having a pet. However, tenants who own pets and start renting a facility space after that date may be required to sign a pet agreement and carry liability insurance for the pet. A violation of the pet rules or keeping an unpermitted pet on the premises can result in an eviction (with a right to cure the first violation) and also can result in a fine or fee of $50 or more, for the second or subsequent violations after a written warning, per violation, if the violation relates to an unpermitted pet or pet waste and the pet agreement or the rules allow a fee for that.
Violation of certain other rules or rental agreement provisions may also result in similar fines or fees for the second or subsequent violations, after a written warning. Examples include improper use of a vehicle on the premises (i.e., speeding) or late payment of a utility or service charge.
Tenants may use any common areas or facilities for any lawful activity, including tenant association meetings or tenant organizing. The landlord may impose reasonable restrictions on the time and manner of use, including requiring a deposit to ensure that the area is not damaged or left unclean. But the landlord may not require tenants to acquire a bond or insurance policy as a condition for using common areas or facilities in the park or marina.
A manufactured dwelling or floating home facility landlord may propose rule changes, including those that greatly change the original agreement with a tenant. The landlord must simply give written notice of the rule or regulation change to all tenants in the facility not already subject to the proposed rule. Unless a majority of tenants not already subject to the rule object in writing within 30 days of the date the notice was served, the change becomes effective for all tenants no less than 60 days after the date the notice was served by the landlord. One tenant per rented space may object to the proposed rule change, either by an individual written objection to the landlord or by signing a petition with other tenants. Sometimes a tenant may sign more than one petition or sign a petition and file a separate objection. In such cases, the tenant's most recent vote will count and the earlier ones will not. The landlord’s notice must include a copy of any old rule and the proposed change, as well as a form describing the tenant’s right to vote on the change. This right to vote provision does not apply to rent increases.
On the other hand, a landlord may not unilaterally change a rule or provision of the rental agreement, except with regard to the following: pets as described above; converting the method of billing for utilities to the sub-metering method; removal of hazard trees or access to the space to remove a hazard tree; rent increases; or changes required by state or local law.
Sometimes landlords will seek to change the rules by offering the tenants a new rental agreement with new rules. Existing tenants are not required to accept or sign this new agreement.
Legal editor: John VanLandingham August 2013.