The Education Fund stands behind California's one million manufactured home residents. It provides educational services regarding manufactured home living. A charitable non-profit with 501(c)3 status, the Education Fund partners with the Golden State Manufactured-home Owners League (GSMOL).

Friday, May 7, 2021

Q & A from Ed Fund Virtual Townhall with Bruce Stanton on April 10, 2021

Golden State Manufactured-home Owners Education Fund 

Notes from Q&A Session Following Ed Fund Virtual Townhall with GSMOL Attorney Bruce Stanton on April 10, 2021

Compiled by Carol Brinkman

1.      Is Park management required to clean after clubhouse use due to COVID? Our park manager says he is not cleaning. The answer is likely “Yes”, but check your city or county’s rules and guidelines for specific requirements.  Park management which does not follow County health guidelines or reasonable safety protocols is very unwise given virus conditions.  Any written COVID waiver the park owner might ask you to sign will not protect the park from its own negligence if it fails to take reasonable precautions to protect residents.

2.      Can we force the park to open their books? Our park is moving from sub-metered utilities to direct assessment, and we feel the reduction in rent he is offering is too little compared to other parks in our area. Civil Code 798.41 allows utilities to be billed separately according to usage, which encourages conservation. Rent reduction shall be equal to the average amount charged by park management for that space during the prior 12 months. The problem is park owners seldom calculate costs on a space-by-space basis as this section appears to require, but simply divide the utility usage by the number of park spaces. There is no known court decision which construes this requirement.  But the park has an obligation to show how their calculation is made. Utility companies seldom want to get involved, citing privacy issues. If the rent reduction is unreasonable, residents have the right to have a meeting and challenge it with management. Provide evidence of what comparable local parks are charging. You might have to go to court to prove that the 798.41 rent reduction is inadequate.

3.      Can I initiate a willful violation in small claims court without actual damages – as a test case? My park is slow to open facilities and refuses to heat our pool.  Small claims court is always an avenue of relief. Advantages are it is quick (6-8 weeks to get to trial), cost is minimal (less than $100 to file) and no lawyers are allowed. You can argue your case yourself. It is just you and the landlord. If you win, you can use that decision as a “sword” or precedent for other residents to bring the same case. The disadvantages are that your time is court is very short: you must argue your case efficiently.  And if you lose the case there is no right of appeal for the plaintiff, while the defendant can appeal the case to Superior Court for a brand new trial.  The court has a calendar and usually hears 10-25 matters daily. The difficulty will be calculating the value of a service reduction for facilities not re-opening when County guidelines allow for it.  Damages must be proven with certainty.  It is doubtful that a “willful violation” penalty would be awarded without actual damages being proven.

4.      How do I get a copy of a COVID Common Area Facility Waiver of Liability? Every park will likely have its own waiver form; there are templates available to park owners.  You would likely receive this as a mass mailing without needing to ask for it.

5.      Was the process to change our park rules legal? Park owner did not meet with residents as a group but met with 3-4 persons at a time over several weeks. Then he asked us to sign the new rules. Do we have to sign the new rules? NO, you are never required to sign the park rules and shouldn’t.  Pursuant to Civil Code 798.25 new rules  take effect 6 months later, except rules relating to common area facilities take effect 60 days later.  If you do sign them they take effect immediately instead of after the waiting period. Also, signing them could be construed as having signed a contract, which residents should avoid.  The unique pandemic conditions may prevent “in person” meetings. The question is whether the park owner reasonably accommodated the residents by meeting in small groups; more information is needed. The park owner might claim he met separately with residents for their safety during the pandemic.

6.      Our park association puts on events. Do we need to require masks, proof of vaccination, waivers etc. How protected is the Association and residents?  Your Association must comply with park rules, and the County health guidelines. If the park has no rules then what you do will be an added layer to park regulations.  You might make a list of safety “Protocols” for members to follow. If you require a waiver (which is a little heavy handed) make it simple, so as not to completely discourage attendance.

7.      Do we have to sign a new lease when this one expires? NO!  Once a lease term expires a mobilehome tenancy automatically becomes month-to-month. Furthermore, if you sign a long-term lease (longer than one year) you lose the protection of rent control now (and in the future) if your city/county has (or gets) a rent stabilization ordinance. You cannot be evicted for refusing to sign a lease. There are 7 specific reasons for eviction in California and failure to renew a lease is not one of them. Per MRL 798.56 the 7 reasons for eviction are: 1) Failure to pay rent 2) Conduct that constitutes a substantial annoyance to other residents 3) Failure to comply with a reasonable rule and regulation that is part of the rental agreement 4) Failure to comply with local or state laws relating to mobilehomes within a reasonable time after notification of non-compliance 5) Conviction of prostitution or certain felonies committed on the premises  6) Condemnation of the park and 7) Change of use of the park.

8.      We have a long-term lease in a rent-controlled jurisdiction and the park owner is bumping up the rent before the lease expires (and we are eligible for rent control protection). Can he do this? It depends on the terms of your lease. Does it have a “market catch up clause” which states that near the end of the lease the park can raise rent to market value”?  If it does, then increases dictated by your rent stabilization ordinance will be applied to the space rent that exists at the end of the lease. An RSO does not establish the amount space rent should be (high or low) but it does regulate the increases allowed each year. That increase is applied to the base rent at the time the RSO becomes effective. AB 2782 that GSMOL sponsored and helped pass in 2020 helps stem the tide of rapidly increasing MH space rent increases. It closes a state loophole that allows long term leases to be exempt from rent stabilization ordinances. It ends that exemption. All leases of any length signed on or after February 13, 2020 shall no longer be exempt from local RSO (Rent Stabilization Ordinance) which means the local RSO rent increase will apply to protect those residents regardless of what the lease provisions might say. The local RSO will effectively pre-empt the lease! All leases with a term of 12 months or longer signed before February 13, 2020 will remain exempt from rent control until they expire or until January 1, 2025, whichever comes first.

9.      In my park which has a rent stabilization ordinance, park owners are raising rents more than 10% at point of sale of a mobilehome. Is this legal? You must read your rent control ordinance to see what is allowed. If it has a “Vacancy Control” provision regulating resale rent increases, the park owner is restricted in the amount he can raise rent at point of sale.

10.  Can a park owner bill separately for utilities (garbage, sewer etc.) from rent? Yes, but he must adjust the space rent accordingly pursuant to Civil Code 798.41, and cannot charge more than the rate as if the resident was served directly by the utility.

11.  If park owners challenge AB 2782 (i.e., park conversion protection and long-term lease exemption from RSO), does this law stand or does it stop until it is adjudicated? To stop the law, one must get a court injunction which will enjoin the effect of the law pending trial, and then prove the new law is unenforceable.  Without an injunction it will remain enforceable.

12.  Does HCD keep a record of space rents in California to help determine what “market value” or average rents in my area are?  No, HCD does not. You can review a local real estate Multiple Listing Service which lists space rents for mobilehome homes for sale. There are also services such a “Mobilehome Village” which might provide you with information.  Or you can hire an appraiser.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Golden State Manufactured-home Owners Education Fund (GSMOEF) presents a



BRUCE STANTON, GSMOL Corporate Counsel


1:30 PM

He will talk about the new State legislation related to MH parks, and COVID-19 issues impacting MH owners.


All Mobile/Manufactured Home Owners are invited - you do not have to be a GSMOL member.

This will be a Zoom meeting, but if you don't do Zoom, you can call in from any kind of telephone.

We are not requiring RSVPs, so no need to reply unless you have a question.  Just be there!  Feel free to share this announcement with other MH owners you know.  

We will have Q & A after Bruce's talk.     

Meeting ID: 898 3438 8157
Passcode: 370570

(669) 900-6833
Meeting ID: 898 3438 8157
Passcode: 370570  


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Your Rights Bytes #18 - How to Respond to or Handle a 7-Day Notice

 By Bruce Stanton, GSMOL Corporate Counsel and GSMOEF Secretary                                                              

The Situation:

You live in a mobilehome park and have received a written 7-day Notice from park management to perform repairs to your home or alleging non-compliance with the park rules and regulations.  What is the relevant law, how should you respond and what are your available options as a homeowner?

7-Day Notices in General:

It is first important to know the applicable law concerning what the mobilehome industry calls “7-Day Notices”.  The Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL) provides at Civil Code 798.56 (d) that a homeowner can be evicted for failure to “comply with a reasonable rule or regulation of the park that is part of the rental agreement or any amendment thereto.”  Civil Code 798.15 (b) provides that the rules and regulations are deemed to be a part of any rental agreement, and most parks have written rules.  But no such eviction can occur unless or until a written 7-day notice of any alleged violation is first served upon the homeowner.  This is not the eviction notice itself; a 60-day notice is required to evict.

But if you receive a 7-day Notice, it is thus important to take it seriously and respond within 7 days, since this could be a precursor to a subsequent 60-day termination of tenancy notice. 

If compliance is performed within 7 days of the date of service of the Notice, then it should be deemed satisfied.  It is the date of service, not the date on the Notice, which determines how to count the 7 days. It is important to note that if a 7-day notice has been given three or more times during a 12-month period for violation of the same rule or regulation, no new 7-day Notice is required, and the park owner could elect to proceed with a 60-day termination without providing any new 7-day notice period.

Common violations appearing in 7-Day Notices include:

-repairs to the home, including painting or remedy of dangerous conditions under Title 25;

-repairs to accessory structures, including stairs, awning supports, porches, or utility systems;

-landscaping violations on the mobilehome space;

-clean up of clutter or unapproved items;

-removal of unauthorized occupants from the home;

-cessation of unauthorized conduct or activity.

What a 7-Day Notice Should Contain

To be enforceable, a 7-Day Notice must:

-Recite the rule or regulation which is the basis for each alleged violation;

-Contain a clear description of how the rule or regulation is being violated;

-Contain a clear description of what performance is required, so that the homeowner knows how to comply with it.


How to Respond to a 7-Day Notice:

First it is important that the homeowner respond to the Notice, and that the response be in writing, so that you have a record of your response if needed.  The response should be delivered to management in person if possible, or mailed/emailed if there is enough time to do so.  The response should be made within the 7-day period, and could take one of the following forms:


  1.  The Notice is Vague, Ambiguous or Unclear

A homeowner cannot presume to adequately respond to of comply with a Notice if it is

unclear what it is asking or what rule is being violated.  If there are 10 trees on the space and the Notice merely says: “Trim your Tree”, the homeowner should ask for further guidance and clarification as to which tree is being referred to.  Thus, this kind of written response should say:  “I’ve received the 7-Day Notice and am willing to comply if needed, but cannot tell from the Notice where the violation is or what you are asking.  Please clarify which park rule is being violated (or please clarify what is being asked of me)”.


  1. I Will Comply or Have Complied with the Notice

If the Notice is clear and the homeowner confirms that there is a violation, it is

important to communicate that it will be or has been timely performed.  If a contractor or third party is hired for any purpose, be sure to provide a copy of any receipt or report which confirms the work done if available.  Offer to allow management to have a walk through or inspect for compliance.  It is vital that the work be done within 7 days if at all possible.  Remember that even if you comply with the notice, if you do not do so until after the 7 days expire the park can technically still proceed with a 60-day notice.  If you need more time to comply, such as to hire a contractor or landscaper, then request that ASAP in your response.


  1. The Notice is Inaccurate and there are No known Violations

If the homeowner is certain there is no violation as alleged and wishes to dispute

the Notice, you should do so in writing and clearly state the basis for your objection.  This kind of response should only be made if the facts or law supports the homeowner’s position.  Be very careful before you respond in this manner, and obtain qualified legal advice first if possible.  Choosing this option could begin a negotiation with management, or could result in the service of a 60-day Notice, or another 7-Day notice.  Often management will serve multiple Notices so as appear reasonable and to create a clear “paper trail” in case they later go to court. 

Final Thoughts:

While COVID-19 legislation allows homeowners to request rent payments be deferred or evictions postponed, it does NOT include or affect 7-day Notices.  Legislation is being considered in 2021 that will hopefully deal with the problem of a homeowner finding a contractor during the pandemic, or performing repairs during 7 days.  But for now, these notices are not affected by such legislation, and must be dealt with and responded to at once.  Finally, if the park does not have any written rules or regulations it is doubtful they could ever enforce a 7-day Notice.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Your Rights Bytes #17 - Mobilehome Sale Rights and Obligations Confronting Unlawful Interference

By Bruce Stanton, GSMOL Corporate Counsel and GSMOEF Secretary

Homeowners attempting to sell their mobile or manufactured home sometimes encounter park management who fails to timely provide resale upgrade requirements or to process buyer applications.  Days drag into weeks.  Purchasers are kept in the dark about whether they are or are not park approved, and sellers hear nothing about repairs or upgrades, and then receive last-minute repair or upgrade demands just before close of escrow.  This places sellers in a pressurized situation where they feel forced to make the repairs or else lose their sale, and possibly be sued by the buyer.  In many cases these "delays" are intentionally calculated to accomplish management's goal of forcing repairs or improvements, or perhaps stopping the sale all together.  Residents want to know, and need to know what rights they have if management is unfairly blocking or delaying a sale in this manner.

We begin with the fundamental underlying premise that the Mobilehome Residency Law is a consumer protection statute, benefiting mobilehome resident "consumers" who require unique protection under the law.  Its provisions are incorporated within and deemed a part of every mobilehome lease or rental agreement (798.15 (c)).  Its provisions cannot be waived by a homeowner in any contract (798.19).  It contains definitive time deadlines which must be followed and honored by management.  If they are not, then management may be deemed to have waived the right to require certain things, as stated below.  And in the event of a willful violation of its provisions by management, a penalty of up to $2,000.00 for each such violation may be awarded by a court, or punitive damages. (798.86). 

Civil Code 798.74 provides that management "may" (not "shall") require prior approval of a mobilehome purchaser.  Approval cannot be withheld if the purchaser has financial ability to pay the rent, estimated utilities and charges of the park.  798.74 (e) ties the ability to exercise that permissive "prior approval" review process to a mandatory obligation to timely complete review of the buyer's application within 15 business days.  Management SHALL (not "may") then notify the parties of acceptance or rejection.  Failure to do so within the required 15 business days presumes, by silence, that the purchaser is qualified for residency, and would legally allow the transaction to proceed forward.  Management has every reasonable ability to conduct its review within the 15 business days.  Failure to do so could kill the transaction, and management knows this.  If management chooses not to timely exercise their right of review, then the right could be deemed waived.  Failure to provide timely approval, or a rental agreement to the buyer, which results in the loss of a sale, enables a mobilehome seller to sue the park owner for damages in an amount equal to the lost sales price.

The same is true with respect to the issue of mobilehome upgrades upon resale.  Civil Code 798.73.5 provides that management "may" require repairs or improvements upon resale.  But that ability is once again specifically conditioned upon management's compliance with a fixed time deadline.  798.73.5 states that in the case of an "in place" sale or transfer, management SHALL ( again it is stated as a mandatory duty) provide a written list summary of repairs and upgrades no later than 10 business days following receipt of a request for that information.  Typically this would be included in the "Notice of Intent to Sell" given to management by the mobilehome seller.  If management fails to comply with this mandatory "shall" requirement, then, again, management by its silence can be deemed to have waived its right to require any repairs or upgrades as a condition of sale.

The California legislature recognized the importance of these reasonable time deadlines to a mobiehome sales transaction, which like any real estate deal heavily depends upon timing and multiple conditions being met.  Any failure to perform within either of these important deadlines could result in a lost sale.  In such a case, it is park management which could and should be held liable for damages. 

So how can these rights be enforced by a mobilehome seller?  First, a selling homeowner should only hire a broker, agent, dealer or salesperson who will vigorously require park management to abide by these MRL violations.  If deadlines are not meant, they should be willing to push for compliance, or argue that management has waived its ability to require upgrades or approve a buyer.  When management refuses to comply, the seller should hire legal counsel, or file a complaint with The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) pursuant to the newly created "Mobilehome Residency Law Protection Program".  Knowing your rights is the important first step.  But enforcing those rights is also critical to preserving your rights as a mobilehome seller. 

Don't forget that once park management chooses to engage either of the above sale-related processes which they "may" elect to pursue, they become obligated to perform the within the time deadlines that the legislature has decreed they "shall" follow.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

 GSMOEF presents a 



BRUCE STANTON, GSMOL Corporate Counsel

speaking on

The Impact of New State Legislation Signed by Governor Newsom on Manufactured-Home Owners

Friday, September 11, 2020

1:30 PM

This teleconference is open to all MH owners.   To make a reservation, email to Anne Anderson, with your name, park, city, and the phone number you will use to call in, and you will be sent the call-in number and code. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Your Rights Bytes #16 - Park Request to Sign a Long-Term Lease


Question:  What are my rights and options if a park owner requests that I sign a long term lease?

By Bruce Stanton, GSMOL Corporate Counsel and GSMOEF Secretary

The Situation:

You live in a mobilehome park and have a month-to-month rental agreement or perhaps a lease with a one-year term that is expiring.  Your park management gives notice that a new multi-year lease is available for review and signature.  What is the relevant law and what are your available options as a homeowner?

Long-Term Leases in General

It is first important to know the applicable law concerning what we refer to in the industry as “long-term leases”.  The Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL) governs the enforceability and offering of mobilehome leases.  Civil Code sections 798.17 and 18 are the key sections.  When these sections were initially passed, the legislature intended that voluntary lease agreements might eliminate the need for allegedly “adversarial” rent stabilization ordinance fights. But no one counted on the lengths to which some park owners would go to coerce homeowners to sign leases, and several subsequent amendments to 798.17 have been enacted to protect residents from abuses.  Any lease which exceeds 12 months in length is exempt from local rent control under 798.17.  Although your local jurisdiction may currently have no mobilehome rent stabilization, the possibility exists that a Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) could become law in the future, whether by City Council, a voter initiative ballot measure or a State “rent cap” law.  It is thus important for each resident to carefully consider whether these offered lease terms are fair, or best for them, before signing away the potential for future RSO protection.  Important:  No resident who signs a long-term lease will be covered by any Ordinance until the Agreement term expires, at which time the last rent charged under the Agreement would be the initial rent charged under the Ordinance.  So for every resident who signs this document, there shall be one less “voice” or concerned resident who might be motivated to participate in a process to pass future mobilehome rent control in your city. 

Where an RSO exists, or might potentially exist, it is typical that park owners will offer long-term leases to keep as many residents as possible out of the “rent control activist” group.  Fewer residents will be motivated to speak out, fewer will be affected by any action that the city might take, and thus the City Council will be able to more easily justify a decision to avoid discussion or passage of an Ordinance.  Unfortunately, some residents feel compelled to sign offered Leases when they do not have to sign anything!  The Civil Code makes it clear that after initial move in, no homeowner ever has to sign a new rental agreement or lease of any kind.  In fact, no resident should ever sign a lease because they think they have to.  They should only sign a lease where it is voluntary, they understand all of its terms, and because it makes the most sense for them.  Always remember this rule when reviewing an offered Lease document!  Note that prospective purchasers are not protected by the MRL provisions until they become tenants in the park, so a park owner can make a buyer sign a long-term lease unless there is a local RSO provision which states otherwise.

Residents should NOT sign any offered lease without first attempting to negotiate terms.  Accepting a “take it or leave it” lease offer is often not smart or even necessary. Homeowners typically have far more power and negotiating leverage then believed, especially where there is an existing RSO or the potential for one.  Where there is no RSO protection, it could be tempting to sign the offered Lease in order to achieve some sort of “certainty” about future rent increases.  But be careful that you do not give up too much, for at some point “certainty” is not justified if it becomes nothing but “very bad” certainty!  The best strategy is for park residents to unite and present a “common front” to negotiate a fair and reasonable agreement, as an alternative to the homeowners seeking an RSO. The threat of obtaining RSO coverage can be used by residents as leverage to get a better lease.  If the terms are too onerous, the offered Lease should simply be rejected. I am fond of saying that “I never met a long-term lease I liked”.  With few exceptions this has been true in my experience.  Leases can be lengthy, and may attempt to induce residents to waive certain rights.  Hidden rent increases may be present which are not readily apparent. Some common issues to analyze in an offered lease are:

1.      How often are rent increases given? 

2.      Is there a “market catch-up” clause increasing rent just before the term ends?

3.      What is the amount of each rent increase, and how is it calculated?

4.      If CPI is used, which geographic index or portion of an index will be utilized?

5.      Are there any “pass throughs” in addition to base rent?  If so, which/how many?

6.      Is there a mandatory arbitration clause?

7.      Are there any “Release” clauses or express waivers of rights?

8.      What is the term of the lease?  (Beware of overly long terms!)

9.      Are rent increases allowed on resale? (aka Vacancy De-control)


**Important: The Civil Code 798.17 (c) Election**

Civil Code sections 798.17 (c) provides an important protection for homeowners.  If a resident does not wish to sign an offered long-term lease, they can reject it, instead request a one-year or month-to-month agreement, and the rent for the first twelve months cannot exceed what was offered during the first year of the offered long-term lease term.  This is an important strategic maneuver that can be made to lock the rent in for a one-year period, while local RSO protection might be pursued, or State “rent caps” could go into effect.  A form to make this election is included below.  Choosing a one-year term covers an interim period and locks in the space rent for twelve months.  At that point there might be new negotiations, although a park owner is never obligated to offer a long-term agreement.  

Other Protections and Tips

There are other offering requirements that appear in 798.17-798.18 which should also be reviewed in conjunction with a lease offering, including (1) a required 30-day review period and (2) a 72-hour right to rescind your signature.  Choosing a one-year term would at least cover an interim period and lock in the space rent to a specific amount for up to twelve months.  At that point there might conceivably be new negotiations, although a park owner is never obligated to offer a long-term agreement.   Knowing the amount of starting rent is critical.  One cannot determine the amount of rent being offered when blanks are not filled in.  Any resident receiving an offered lease should ask that management fill in any blanks before they can consider accepting it.  Never sign anything with blanks!



[California Civil Code sec. 798.17 (c)]


            The undersigned homeowner(s) hereby acknowledge that he/she/they have been offered a multi-year rental agreement by management with a term of ___ years and an offered starting space rent of $______ during the first twelve months of said Agreement.  Pursuant to California Civil Code section 798.17 (c), the undersigned hereby confirm(s) by this notice that he/she/they elect to reject the said offered Agreement, and instead accept a month-to-month rental agreement to be effective on the same date, and which shall include for the initial 12 months of said month-to-month agreement, the same space rental charge of $________ that was offered by management for the initial 12 months of the rejected multi-year rental agreement, as required by Civil Code 798.17 (c).


Dated:  ____________                                               _____________________________

                                                                                    Homeowner Signature


                                                                                    Print Name: _________________


                                                                                    Space No.:________




Dated:  ____________                                               _____________________________

                                                                                    Homeowner Signature


                                                                                    Print Name: _________________


                                                                                    Space No.:________











The Ed Fund is delighted to announce that we have received a grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development!

This grant will benefit both GSMOEF and GSMOL, and the two organizations will be working together to plan and carry out the project which is being funded by the grant.


According to our arrangement with CCHD, we will be doing a pilot program which focuses on (1) homeowner organization (forming GSMOL Chapters, HOAs, and Coalitions), (2) leadership training, and (3) institutional change (engaging MHP residents to work with their local governments on beneficial legislation such as rent stabilization ordinances).


CCHD has asked that we focus our work in a particular geographical area, specifically the Diocese of Los Angeles, for the first part of the project, as a trial program.  If we are successful, we will be able to extend the program to other Dioceses and obtain more funding.   The Diocese of Los Angeles includes the Counties of Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara.


The work of both our organizations will be coordinated by Mary Jo Baretich and Anne Anderson, who sit on both the GSMOEF and GSMOL Boards.  Mary Jo is President of GSMOEF, and as GSMOL Zone C Vice President she oversees GSMOL operations in LA County.  Anne is Treasurer of GSMOEF, and as GSMOL Vice President for Zone B-1 she oversees GSMOL operations in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.