Tenants who live in trailer parks in California are governed by the “Mobilehome Residency Law.” The special set of rental laws governing trailer park use and occupancy practices apply to tenants who own their own mobile homes or trailers and lease a space within a California recreational vehicle park.
The Mobilehome Residency Law applies to mobile homeowners or recreational vehicle owners who rent space. However, the state’s standard landlord and tenant laws apply to tenants who rent homes from recreational park owners. Although there are many similarities between the two sets of laws, there are also some important differences. An important similarity is that both residential landlords and trailer park landlords must comply with the federal and California anti-discrimination and fair housing laws. Landlords cannot discriminate against their tenants based on race, family status, gender, disability or ethnic origin. Landlords cannot enforce certain rules for a certain group of tenants while allowing exceptions for adherence to others.
Differences From Residential Lease Laws
The Mobilehome Residency Law contains many variations from the standard California landlord-tenant laws, but an important distinction is that tenants in trailer or mobile home parks may not use the normal self-help repair and deduct remedy. The repair and deduct remedy allows tenants to deduct the costs of necessary repairs from their rent payments if they provide written notice of necessary repairs to their landlords, and their landlords do not repair defective items. Since trailer parks typically only provide utilities, trailer park tenants cannot use the deduct and repair remedy if the owner turns off their utilities. However, tenants may file complaints with the California Department of Housing or with a local housing agency.
Trailer park owners can charge their tenants upfront security deposits, but they may not charge them more than two month’s rent. California law does not regulate the fees trailer park or mobile park owners may charge their tenants, but it does require them to provide their tenants with at least 90 days’ written notice prior to increasing their rent. After providing their tenants with notice, homeowners have a right to review the proposed increase and reject or approve the new rental fee within 30 days. If they reject the new increased rental amount, tenants have rights to terminate their long-term lease agreements and enter into new month-to-month tenancies. At this point, mobile home landlords may not increase their rent for at least one year.
In trailer parks, landlords can only evict their tenants for cause, and tenancies are not terminable at-will. Tenants must have at least 60 days’ written notice of termination and after 60 days, landlords can file unlawful detainer lawsuits in court, just like residential landlords, and they may request an order for eviction. Under California law, landlords who evict their trailer park tenants for rule violations must give them notice of which rule they broke and at least seven days to cure their violations. However, the “3 Strikes” rule allows landlords to evict their tenants without giving them an opportunity to cure their violations if they violated that rule at least twice in one year.
Since real estate laws frequently change, do not use this information as a substitute for legal advice. Seek advice through an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.