The Connecticut General Assembly
OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE RESEARCH
July 26, 1994 94-R-0544
FROM: Daniel J. Duffy, Principal Analyst
RE: Mobile Home Rent Increases
You asked if the statutes prohibit a mobile manufactured home park owner from raising the rent of an individual who owns a mobile home during the term of a rental agreement after a second resident moves in. The Office of Legislative Research is not authorized to issue legal opinions and this memorandum should not be considered as one.
The statutes prohibit park rental agreements from including any clause increasing rent during the term of the agreement. They explicitly permit park owners to increase rent after the end of an agreement, but only if the increase in consistent with rents for comparable lots.
INCREASES DURING THE TERM OF THE AGREEMENT
The statutes require all park owners to provide residents with an initial rental agreement before renting a lot in the park. The agreement must be signed by both the park owner and the resident. It must last for at least one year, unless the resident requests a shorter term in writing. All renewals must be written (CGS § 21-70(b)).
The statutes prohibit rental agreements from including provisions allowing the park owner to increase the total rent or change the payment arrangements during the term of the rental agreement (CGS § 21-83(a)(5)). This apparently prohibits an increase for any reason during the term of the agreement.
INCREASES AFTER THE END OF THE RENTAL AGREEMENT
The statutes set up special provisions for evicting residents from mobile home parks. These special summary process provisions offer residents more protection than other tenants under standard landlord tenant law. This is because park residents invested in their living arrangements by buying the home in which they live. Despite this protection, the statutes give park owners the right to increase rents at the end of an agreement's term, but only if certain conditions are met. One condition requires proposed rents to be consistent with rents for comparable lots in the same park (CGS § 21-80(b)(5)(B)). This apparently means that rents must be based on the lot being rented and not on the number of residents living in the home on the lot.
Mobile manufactured home parks are licensed by the Department of Consumer Protection. In any dispute, such as whether there needs to be a rental agreement, either the park owner or the resident may ask for and receive a declaratory ruling from the department (CGS § 21-83e).
The department is empowered to act against the license of any park owner “for any violation of any provision” of the mobile manufactured home park law (CGS § 21-71). This action may be a license revocation, suspension, or a refusal to renew the license. A license may be reinstated only after the violation has been remedied. Moreover, the department can fine the park owner from $50 to $300 a day for each day the violation continues.
Finally, residents may sue to enforce their rights. Any violation of the mobile manufactured home park statute is deemed to be a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act and enforceable under that law (CGS § 21-83e). Residents, in addition to any other recourse, may sue in housing court (CGS § 21-71(b) & 47a-14h).