Mobile Home Parks – Homeowner Risks and Rewards

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Consumer Checklists for Mobile Home Parks

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It’s hard to remember a lot of details. Checklists keep you from forgetting things that matter. It looks like a lot of lists! But mobile home parks are one of the most complex forms of housing. Most mobile home owners will learn these listed items one way or another. If there are bad times with park owners, many homeowners may wish they had known these things earlier.

Once you become adjusted to living in a mobile home park, many of these listed items will become automatic and you will not need them. But some of them may be new to residents, even long-time residents. You may want to be sure you understand these points.

How to Shop for a Mobile Home Park

As a consumer, it can be hard to check a mobile home park from the outside. You can drive though the park and note visible items but there are also extremely important invisible aspects to a park that you may have difficulty finding out about.

You may have to ask questions. But you may not get full or accurate answers – or you may get no answers at all. Yet these invisible items deeply affect your financial and physical health.

Lack of Transparency About Mobile Home Parks

There are few current laws requiring full disclosure of the risks of a particular park. These “full disclosure laws” are often called consumer warnings or consumer information. There have been efforts to require more disclosure of landlord behavior so that citizens and their leaders can better judge the risks to those seeking affordable housing.

But full disclosure of landlord history is rare. You need information, but significant parts of that information are corporate secrets. People have called out the need for online databases, rental registries, transparency and oversight. There are more warnings on a bottle of aspirin than on a mobile home park lease agreement!

That means a smart shopper needs to be careful, ask good questions of the right people and carefully consider the prospects. Currently, it may be very difficult to reliably determine the level of stability, predictability and security of living in a specific mobile home park.

New Consumer Strategies for Living in Mobile Home Parks

In previous times, mom-and-pop park owners had more of a tendency to be fair and predictable to their customers, even though there were few legal requirements to do so. With today’s rush to “invest” in mobile home parks, that unwritten “social contract” may be invalid. It appears that money-hungry, inexperienced “investor-landlords” from all walks of life are lining up to take advantage of mobile home park law loopholes and lack of consumer protections.

Sadly, America’s last form of unsubsidized affordable housing may be one of the riskiest forms of shelter today. As John Grissim says: “Research carefully”. Below are some tips for your research efforts.

Be very careful about communities owned by large corporations, which have no souls. Some are quite good, others awful to the point of being predatory. These companies exist to make money for their shareholders and one way is incremental annual rent increases (usually in the 4%-5% range) that in a few short years can really put tenants living on fixed incomes in a bind. Research carefully.

Checklist: What to Look for in a Mobile Home Park with Low Rent and Low Risk

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Listed are seven types of mobile home parks, from lowest rent to highest, and from financially safest to least safe.

Generally the first two types, resident-owned and nonprofit, tend to be the most stable and secure. The third type is a result of local rent stabilization ordinances that can be repealed and may require homeowner vigilance to maintain. The fourth, government-owned parks are usually nonprofit but can be sold or closed.

The last three for-profit style of parks can change quickly without much notice, often due to a family-owned park getting sold to a large corporate park aggregator. Living in these requires homeowner education and vigilance. These are the most numerous types of parks – the kind you will usually find when shopping. See Mobile Home Parks – How Do They Work? For more details on each park see The Lowest Rent in a Mobile Home Park.




Resident-owned community (ROC), AKA Resident-owned-park (ROP)
Nonprofit owned park
Rent-stabilized park
Government-owned (usually city-owned)
Mom-and-pop owned, for-profit park (good-citizen owner)
Corporate aggregator-owned (less predatory))
Corporate aggregator-owned (potentially more predatory)

Checklist: What to Look for in a Mobile Home Park That is Well-Managed

Mobile home owners pay for good park management with their rent. How well does a park provide that service to the land-renters? You may have to candidly ask several long-term residents about the quality and consistency of their park’s management.

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You pay for good park management in your rent bill – but are you getting it?

The quality of management, or lack of it, can greatly affect the quality of the park and its appearance. The sale value of your home in the park is affected along with the park amenities, infrastructure quality, customer service and pride of living in an attractive, reliable community. It takes good management to consistently enforce park rules and regulations and to make sure every homeowner does their part to maintain their home and rental lot.

When a park owner is cost-cutting for increased profit, he may cut staffing which reduces the ability to maintain minimum park standards.

As a result of cost-cutting, the community may suffer slow deterioration while home values drop as the park becomes less desirable to live in. Keep in mind that what may be a 5-star park today, can begin deteriorating if park ownership or management changes – and that can happen almost overnight. Here are some additional points to look for in a stable, predictable mobile home park.



Park has enough staff to serve customers, enforce rules and maintain the park consistently
Competent, experienced, trained and certified staff
The park manager knows the laws for mobile home parks and obeys them
Park management is courteous and respectful of homeowners and residents
Staff responds to residents in a timely manner
Reasonable complaints are addressed quickly


The office is open 6 days a week, 8 hours a day
Written complaint / suggestion forms are available to residents
Park is patrolled daily, or multiple times a day
Prospective residents are interviewed and screened thoroughly
Park Rules and Regulation are consistently and evenly enforced
New residents are given a booklet that covers the applicable laws and park Rules and Regulations


Park has a written Rules and Regulations (R&Rs) document that all homeowners agree to and copies are available
Park infrastructure, pools, and amenities are available, monitored and maintained regularly
Infrastructure – streets, lighting, electrical, signage, pipes, drainage, and amenities are upgraded and inspected regularly, repaired quickly
Park homeowners are given the schedules for park upgrades and repairs
There are cosmetic, appearance standards applied to the homes and lots – a consistently aesthetic neighborhood
Park grounds are monitored by staff consistently, rule violators are cited
Park is clean, orderly, tidy. Homes and lots are maintained by homeowners, landlord maintains his property


Rent increases are fair, relative to the extra costs of living in a mobile home park
Rent raises are scheduled and clearly defined
Homeowners can estimate their cost of living in the park for 5 years into the future with accuracy
Park owner does not fund political candidates, lobby them, and “train” government leaders and staff to do their bidding
Park owners meet regularly with homeowners to take suggestions, complaints and discuss news and trends
Park provides a complaint form to all homeowners, copies of leases, copies of Rules and Regulations, copies of state law concerning MHPs and contact list of local authorities
There are no secretly-kept plans to sell the park – homeowners are informed well in advance
Stakeholders are kept informed of owner’s plans for the park – well in advance
When the park business is planned to be sold, park homeowners are given a good-faith opportunity to organize and buy the park at a fair price

Checklist: Has Your Manufactured Mobile Home Been Well Maintained Structurally?

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Below is a well-preserved house checklist. If you don’t repair your home, in some parks you can be evicted!

Mobile homes have a few additional physical things to maintain because they are raised off the ground and have skirting around the gap. The materials and trim on some mobile homes may have seams that can collect water and start rot and deterioration. Deterioration will grow – prevention is the best solution. If you are buying a used house, pay attention to whether the previous owners prevented the house from deteriorating.

Some parks have rules that require homeowners to maintain their homes. In a good park, you may be cited to to repair visible problems at your own expense. If you prevent deterioration problems you may save hundreds or thousands of dollars in repair costs. Here are more tips about house care, including getting assistance for home repairs.


Caulk outside seams – trim and window sills
Check under house skirting for dampness
Check sprinklers for spraying water onto house
Check sun-facing sides of house for paint chipping
Check skirting vents for chew marks, evidence of rodents
Check for screens across all skirting vents to prevent rodents from living under house
Check that the vapor barrier underneath house is intact, not falling off or damaged by rodents
Check that all roof tiles are in place
Check where halves are joined for cracks and settling
Check that rain gutters are clear, water not diverted onto house
Check for mold underneath and inside the house
Inspect for termites
Check that bathrooms have fans and do not collect moisture

Checklist: Getting Help From Activist / Advocacy Groups for Mobile Home Park Problems

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Strength comes from organized, educated and active groups working together. When park residents experience predatory practices, it may be too much for one individual to handle alone. If a park’s homeowners cannot organize and work toward a goal, it may be impossible to achieve positive change. Your financial safety and even health and welfare may depend on joining and participating in advocacy and activist organizations. Those organizations need to cover a lot of ground, but usually have strengths and weaknesses.

A group should be in touch with best practices and know what other groups have done to succeed. A group should recognize its strengths and weaknesses so it can allocate resources to bolster itself toward a goal.

Here is a list of items to use to appraise an advocacy and activist’s group’s abilities.  No group is perfect and does all things well. But perfection is not always required for effectiveness. Competent management of the group is key to success.


Activist / Advocacy group is statewide or has wide enough scope to cover all the applicable governmental bodies and laws that cover the issue before the homeowners
Group has transparent democracy – is registered, “official” and formally has a board of directors and elected president, VP, treasurer and secretary. Members have a say in what the group does and who manages it
Funding sources for the the group are clear and transparent so group can determine its freedom. Members have access to group’s bookkeeping and expense plans
Group monitors state and federal law and proposes law changes and lobbies for them, even helps with authoring law
Activist / Advocacy group has attorney on retainer
Activist / Advocacy group has lobbyist
Group intimately knows the local, state and federal laws that apply and knows the rights of its members and how to assert those rights and enforce those laws
Group has technical knowledge, understands the details of both the park business and government
Group addresses problems proactively, plans ahead, not just reacting to problems after the fact, but working on projects to prevent problems and stabilize conditions
Group publishes educational literature that adequately informs homeowners and addresses their issues with realistic action plans
Group has training programs and certifications of members to ensure understanding of laws, rights and practices
Group trains its members in how to access local, state and federal lawmakers and lobby for change

Checklist: Rate a Mobile Home Park’s Security

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Landlord’s Commitment to Customers for Secure Living in Mobile Home Parks

As mentioned, generally, the lower-risk mobile home parks are resident-owned, rent stabilized or nonprofit owned.

However, a for-profit park owner can lower the risk level of his park for customers by implementing assurances to his homeowners in writing. Some of the major stability and security concerns can be addressed with the following commitments. Here is a partial list of some serious surprises and concerns that mobile home owners have reported.

If you know of any mobile home park owners that have implemented any of these measures, please contribute.


Written guarantee to homeowners that they get the first chance to buy the park themselves if it is to be sold (ROFR)
Rent caps in the lease – maximum rent increases, not minimum, and compatible with cost-of-living increases
Reveal all park pass-through costs planned for the next 5 years
Committed park maintenance schedule published to the homeowners
Adequate staffing to maintain service and regular, consistent monitoring of the park for needed repairs
A printed Rules and Regulations agreement that the park owner enforces and the residents value and obey
Commitment to regular, scheduled, patrolling the park and citing Rule and Regulation violations
Park owner provides an infrastructure inspection report conducted by independent experts and Upgrades the infrastructure as recommended
Landlord commits to repair and upgrade park infrastructure and buildings in a timely manner with published schedules
Park owner keeps a reserve of cash for infrastructure improvements and park upgrades without charging it to the homeowners
Legitimate sales of homes, no agent profiteering, no special exclusive relationships and deals. All sales persons have equal treatment. Third-party oversight of sales procedure. Buyers approved in a timely manner
No mobile home mortgage lenders that have withdrawn from lending in the park. The full suite of lenders are willing to lend in the park
Park provides a complaint form to all homeowners, copies of leases, copies of Rules and Regulations, copies of state law concerning MHPs and contact list of local authorities

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