The California Department of Housing and Community Development ("HCD") through the Office of the Mobilehome Ombudsman announced the establishment of the Mobilehome Assistance Center. To contact the Mobilehome Assistance Center, the email address is [email protected]
Residential landlords must be careful in the wording and explanation of arbitration provisions in lease agreements, especially with Spanish speaking residents. In a recent case, Penilla v. Westmont, a California Appeals Court found that an arbitration provision in a mobilehome park rental agreement was unconscionable, and thus unenforceable, when it (1) substantially benefited the landlord, (2) imposed fees and limitations that would have substantially deterred residents from asserting their claims and (2) 15 of the 46 named parties spoke little or no English. The arbitration agreement, attached to the lease, required the tenants to pay half of the arbitration costs up front and determined that a failure to do so would result in a default judgment in favor of the landlord. The court found that due to the low income nature of the tenants, virtually none of them would be able to afford the cost of arbitration.
Famed fashion designer, Betsey Johnson, recently purchased an approximately 1,500 square foot mobilehome in what some have deemed "America's Most Glamorous Trailer Park." The previous asking price of the mobilehome was just under $1.95 million. Johnson purchased the mobilehome in a community called Paradise Cove, which is located in Malibu, California. The community, which has previously been home to actors such as Matthew McConaughey, is known for its prime location on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and its multi-million-dollar properties.
Financing for mobilehomes has received good news after years of difficulty to obtain loans. The Manufactured Housing Institute provided an overview in this article. The good news came from actions taken by the House of Representatives in Washington D.C. to recognize and protect the mobile/manufactured home buyers from a discriminatory provision of the Dodd-Frank Act.
A federal jury found that the City of Carson, through its Mobilehome Park Rent Control Ordinance, violated the Park Owner's (Jim Goldstein) Fifth Amendment rights by denying a fair return on his property, Colony Cove Mobilehome Park.