December 4, 2007
REMOVING AN ABANDONED MOBILE MANUFACTURED HOME FROM A MOBILE MANUFACTURED HOME PARK
By: Daniel Duffy, Principal Analyst
Kevin E. McCarthy, Principal Analyst
You asked for (1) a summary of state law concerned with removing an abandoned mobile manufactured home from a mobile manufactured home park, (2) a description of a town's responsibility to dispose of an abandoned mobile manufactured home in mobile home park and (3) the town's responsibility regarding a mobile manufactured home that may contain asbestos that is delivered to its solid waste transfer station.
The law establishes a procedure for a mobile manufactured home park owner to follow to remove an abandoned home from his mobile manufactured home park. A park owner can follow the procedure if four conditions have been met: (1) he has obtained a judgment for possession against the home's owner and occupants; (2) he has not received rent or other payment for the use of the lot the home stands on for at least four months; (3) 60 days have passed since the last stay of execution expired under the landlord-tenant and mobile manufactured home eviction laws; and (4) the home remains on the lot, regardless of the law concerning tenant eviction and the removal and sale of unclaimed possessions and personal effects.
The law does not impose any duty on a town to remove a mobile manufactured home from a mobile manufactured home park.
The town's responsibility regarding a mobile manufactured home that may contain asbestos depends on (1) whether the town accepted the home and (2) where it in fact contains material that is more than one percent asbestos. If the town did not accept the home, it has no responsibilities with regard to it. If it accepted the home and the home does not contain asbestos, it can treat it as bulky waste. If it accepted the home and it contains asbestos, the town must ensure that the asbestos is properly abated.
Court Petition for Removal of Home
The park owner initiates the removal procedure by filing a supplemental proceeding in court as part of an eviction action. An additional entry fee is not required. He must state that the four conditions have been met and provide supporting facts showing that (1) the homeowner failed or refused to make reasonable efforts to take the home from the park or sell it in place or (2) he has failed to locate the homeowner or his representative after making reasonable efforts. The law specifies that “reasonable efforts” include making a reasonable inquiry of the homeowner's known relatives or associates and other park residents (CGS § 21-80(e)).
Notice of Removal
A copy of the petition and a notice of a hearing on it must be given to the homeowner, the municipality, and all lienholders who (1) have recorded a lien against the home or (2) are actually known to the park owner. The notice to the municipality and lienholders must be sent by certified mail.
The homeowner notice must be designed to maximize the likelihood that the owner will receive actual notice of the petition, regardless of whether he appeared at the eviction hearing. It must be conspicuously posted at the home's entrance and sent by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, to the homeowner and the attorney, if any, who appeared for him at the eviction hearing. The notice must be sent to the homeowner's last-known address and also to him in care of anyone the park owner reasonably believes knows his whereabouts. The court may require a supplemental notice if it finds that additional notice is likely to actually notify the homeowner.
Court Hearing and Orders
The court must determine (1) if all of the law's requirements have been met and (2) if they have, whether the home has been abandoned. If so, the court must order the park owner to sell the home. The law specifies that the court may defer the sale order and other orders if it finds that, within a reasonable time, the homeowner will take the home from the park, sell it, or make appropriate arrangements with the park owner. The court's order directing the sale must require a notice that includes a conspicuous statement that the sale will end all previous ownership and lien rights. Notice must be sent by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, to everyone entitled to notice of the petition. Notice must also be posted conspicuously at the home's entrance and advertised at least three times in the real estate section of a local daily newspaper.
Sale of the Home
Anyone, including the park owner and lienholders, may bid. The park owner must use the sale proceeds to pay in the following order: the cost of the sale, lienholders in priority of their liens, and the homeowner. The park owner must file an affidavit with the court stating how he complied with the court's order to sell. The court, if it finds he has complied, must issue a conveyance of title and a release of liens, if any, to the purchaser for filing on the land records. The law provides that conveyance and release constitutes good title to the home.
DISPOSAL OF A HOME POTENTIALLY CONTAINING ASBESTOS
Some older mobile manufactured homes contain linoleum floor tiles that contain asbestos. The law (CGS § 22a-207 et seq.) establishes separate disposal requirements for the disposal of more than one cubic foot of solid waste containing more 1% asbestos. (Smaller quantities of such materials can be disposed of as ordinary municipal solid waste.)
If the town believes that a mobile manufactured home contains asbestos it can refuse to accept it at the transfer station. The home's owner would than be responsible for having the suspect material tested at a laboratory licensed by the Department of Public Health (DPH). If the material contained more than 1% of asbestos, the owner would be responsible for ensuring that it was properly abated. This involves having a DPH-licensed contractor remove the material and transport it to a disposal facility licensed to accept hazardous materials. The only facility in Connecticut that is currently licensed to accept asbestos is in Portland.
If the town accepted the home at the transfer station, it is responsible for ensuring that any asbestos it contains is properly abated. If the home does not contain asbestos, it can be treated as bulky waste.