July 17, 2006
RIGHTS OF MOBILE MANUFACTURED HOME PARK RESIDENTS
By: Janet L. Kaminski, Associate Legislative Attorney
You asked for the statutory rights of mobile manufactured home park residents who own their mobile manufactured homes, rent a mobile manufactured home park lot, and have an attendant who does not take care of the park premises.
Connecticut law sets out requirements that a mobile manufactured home park owner must follow. The requirements include licensure by the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), disclosures to prospective residents, terms of the rental agreement entered into between the park owner and the park residents, and the responsibilities of the owner and the residents (See CGS, Ch. 412). A typical park resident owns his mobile manufactured home and rents the lot upon which it sits. He must look to the terms of the rental agreement to determine the property manager's responsibility for upkeep of the premises.
By law, the park owner must keep the park in a clean, orderly, and sanitary condition (CGS § 21-69(a)). He must provide residents with the name, address, and telephone number of a property attendant and have a way for residents to contact him at any time (CGS § 21-69(b) and Conn. Agencies Regs. § 21-82-14).
A resident who believes a park owner is not abiding by state law may file a complaint with DCP. A complaint form is on DCP's website (www.ct.gov/dcp/cwp/view.asp?a=1624&q=289810). Any park owner found to be violating state law may be fined and have his license to operate the park suspended, revoked, or not renewed (CGS § 21-71). An owner is prohibited by law from collecting rent for any period of time that (1) he does not have a license in good standing or (2) fails to comply with his statutory responsibilities in a way that materially affects the health and safety of the residents or habitability (CGS §§ 21-73 & 21-83c).
The resident may deliver written notice to the park owner of any material noncompliance with (1) the rental agreement or (2) his responsibilities that materially affect the resident's health and safety. The owner has 21 days to remedy the situation. If he does not, the rental agreement terminates nine days thereafter (i.e., 30 days from when notice was given). If the noncompliance is repeated within six months, the resident may terminate the rental agreement with at least 14 days notice to the park owner and vacate the premises within 30 days of the breach (CGS § 21-83d).
A park owner is prohibited from retaliating against a resident who, in good faith, files a complaint against him or asks for repairs to be made (CGS § 21-80a).
A park owner must provide a disclosure statement to prospective residents before they enter into a rental agreement and residents at the first renewal of a rental agreement (CGS § 21-70(a)). DCP determines the text of the disclosure statement, which is contained in regulation (Conn. Agencies Regs. § 21-70-3) (copy enclosed).
A rental agreement must be in writing and signed by the park owner and the resident before the resident occupies the lot (CGS § 21-70(b)). Regulations contain a model rental agreement (See Conn. Agencies Regs. 21-84-2). The agreement should enumerate the statutory responsibilities of both the park owner and the resident (See CGS § 21-82).
Park Owner's Responsibilities
At all times during the tenancy the park owner shall:
1. comply with the requirements of the state building code, the fire safety code, and all applicable state laws and regulations, local ordinances, and planning and zoning regulations materially affecting health and safety;
2. maintain the premises and regrade them when necessary to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water and to prevent the detrimental effects of moving water;
3. maintain the ground at such a level that the mobile manufactured home will not tilt from its original position;
4. keep each mobile manufactured home space or lot marked in such a way that each resident will be certain of his area of responsibility;
5. keep any exterior area of the park not the responsibility of each resident free from any species of weed or plant growth which are noxious or detrimental to the health of the residents;
6. make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the portion of the mobile manufactured home park that is not the responsibility of each resident in a fit and habitable condition, except where such premises are intentionally rendered unfit or uninhabitable by the resident, a member of his family, or other person on the premises with his consent, in which case such duty shall be the responsibility of the resident;
7. keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition;
8. be responsible for the extermination of any insect, rodent, vermin, or other pest dangerous to the health of the residents whenever infestation exists in the area of the park not the responsibility of the resident or in the area for which the resident is responsible including the mobile manufactured home if such infestation is not the fault of the resident and particularly if such infestation existed prior to the occupancy of the resident claiming relief;
9. maintain all mobile manufactured homes rented by the owner in a condition which is structurally sound and capable of withstanding adverse effects of weather conditions;
10. maintain all electrical, plumbing, gas, or other utilities provided by him in good working condition except during any emergency after which any repair shall be completed within 72 hours unless good cause is shown as to why such repair has not been completed;
11. maintain all water and sewage lines and connections in good working order and, in the event of any emergency, make necessary arrangements for the provision of such service on a temporary basis;
12. arrange for the removal from waste receptacles of ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit;
13. maintain any road within the park in good condition, provide adequate space for parking of two cars for each lot (except that any park which provided only one space for each lot on January 1, 1985, and which provided only one space for each lot on October 1, 1972, shall be exempt from such requirement), and be responsible for damage to any vehicle which is the direct result of any unrepaired or poorly maintained access road within the park;
14. respect the privacy of the resident and if only the space or lot is rented, agree to enter the mobile manufactured home only with the permission of the resident;
15. allow all residents freedom of choice in the purchase of all services pursuant to CGS § 21-78; and
16. allow a resident to terminate a rental agreement whenever a change in the location of such resident's employment requires a change in the location of his residence if such resident gives 30 days' notice; provided, a resident who is a member of the armed forces of the United States may terminate his rental agreement with less than 30 days notice if he receives reassignment orders which do not allow such prior notification.
At all times during the tenancy the resident shall:
1. comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon residents by applicable provisions of any building, housing, or fire code materially affecting health and safety;
2. keep the unit and his area of responsibility as marked by the owner in a clean and sanitary condition, free of garbage and rubbish;
3. keep the supplied basic facilities, including any plumbing fixture, cooking and refrigeration equipment, and electrical fixtures in a rented mobile manufactured home unit, in a clean and sanitary condition and exercise reasonable care in their proper use and operation;
4. dispose of any rubbish, garbage, and other waste material in a clean and sanitary manner;
5. not willfully or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove any part of the premises or permit any other person to do so;
6. observe all reasonable rules of the owner concerning the use, occupation, and maintenance of the premises, provided such reasonable rules are brought to his attention at the time he signs a rental agreement;
7. unless otherwise agreed, occupy the dwelling unit only as a dwelling unit;
8. conduct himself and require other persons on the premises with his consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb his neighbors' peaceful enjoyment of the premises or constitute a nuisance, as defined in CGS § 47a-32, or a serious nuisance, as defined in CGS § 21-80; and
9. if judgment has entered against a member of the resident's household pursuant to subsection (c) of CGS § 47a-26h for serious nuisance by using the premises for the illegal sale of drugs, not permit such person to resume occupancy of the dwelling unit, except with the consent of the owner.