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Sunday, Feb 05, 2023

Resolving Disputes: Common Sense Problem Solving

Neighborhood disputes and disagreements are common in all communities including mobile home parks and manufactured housing communities. Many single family detached housing developments have home owners associations that manage the maintenance of the common areas of the development, approve additions and remodeling of homes, and also enforce the communities guidelines, which may include requiring all cars to be parked in garages, no basketball hoops in front of the house, etc. Mobile home park communities are not much different.

Mobile home parks have common areas and homes that need to be maintained and also have community rules and regulations and policies that provide guidelines to the residents. As an example, it is not uncommon to have restrictions on the number and size of pets, number of people in a household, the number of cars and where they may be parked, use of the facilities like the clubhouse, pool, spa, work out rooms, etc. The goal of community rules is to provide guidelines that everyone is expected to follow so that all may enjoy the community.

Sometimes residents in the community to do not follow the rules and, as a result, become an annoyance to their neighbors. Complaints might range from feeding stray cats to playing loud music late at night. In a mobile home community, as in other communities, the first thing to do to resolve neighborhood disputes is to approach the neighbor in a friendly way to ask them to address the problem or issue. If this doesn’t work, the next step is to advise the park manager about the problem. In some parks there are complaint or suggestion forms that you may be asked to fill out. Once a complaint is received, the manager will communicate with the person who is not following the community rules. Generally, a manager will make several attempts to gain compliance including providing a notice to stop the rule breaking within a set period of time. If this fails, then the option may be to begin an eviction of the tenant based on the breaking of a rule.

Other complaints or disputes arise in mobile home communities that deal with management policies such as utility billing questions, as an example. Always request an explanation of the billing from the park manager. If there are still questions, then there are a couple of other avenues to follow to obtain information on your utility billing or other issue. First, you may contact the owner of the park whose contact information should be provided to you by the manager and also be posted at the park. You may also contact the California Department of Housing and Urban Development (HCD) Mobilehome Ombudsman at (800) 952-5275; get a copy of the Ombudsman Poster clicking here. Other hotlines provided, such as the Southern California Mobile Home hotline (855) 438-6438.

In some cases the conclusion from this outreach will be that the issue is a “civil” matter that would require consultation with legal counsel.

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