MHCO Legal Counsel

Phil Querin Q&A: Resident Requests Ramp to House (Reasonable Accommodation)

Question.  I have a tenant requesting a reasonable accommodation for a ramp. On the MHCO From 15 (Reasonable Accommodation Request), is says the tenant is responsible for the costs and removal for a modification unless required by law. Is it required by the law to install a ramp? This would mean the Park would pay for it, or is it not a law and a tenant would have to pay the costs to get one installed? We own the unit and space. It is a mobile home rental.

 

Phil Querin: Political & Religious Material in Club House (Reminder about political material and MHC)

Question: We have a resident who has expressed displeasure over finding political  & religious pamphlets, etc., left in the clubhouse.  Not wanting to cater to the complaining resident, but also not wanting to offend others or place the park in a bad position, what is the safest legal way to deal with this issue?

 

 

 

Phil Querin Q&A: Resident Behavior Prevents Landlord From Renting Neighboring Space

Question:  Our manager is having difficulties with troublesome residents who are interfering with his efforts to fill spaces. In one case it is a vacant mobile home the manager is showing, but the neighbor is mean/obnoxious and does not want the home purchased. In the other case we have an empty RV pad and another neighbor comes out scaring away the RV owner who wants to rent the space. What are our legal rights regarding these two neighbors?

 

 

Phil Querin Q&A: Three Questions on Temporary Occupants

Question 1 

The law and MHCO ocupancy agreement both state that a landlord can screen an occupant for conduct or criminal history but not for credit history or income level.  If after screening a temporary occupant, the findings reveal that they have civil case(s) and/or eviction matters relating to previous rental history where the derogatory rental reference is financial (not necessarily bad personal conduct). Can this be grounds for denial? 

 

Answer 1

Not in my opinion.  The temporary occupant agreement concept is that the person is notgoing to be a “co-renter”. They are being permitted to come onto the space as an accommodation by the landlord to the current resident who wants them there.  If they are to become a temporary occupant, but your background check inadvertently reveals derogatory references related to financial information, and that concerns you, then limit the amount of time they can remain there, and take things a month, or six months, at a time.  You might consider having tenants fill out a form in advanceexplaining exactly why they want the temporary occupant there. If a tenant wants them there to share the rental obligation then you should know that beforeoffering the temporary occupant status.  If that is the case, then have them apply as a tenant.  If they don’t pass the financial background check, then reject them on that basis.       


 

Phil Querin Q&A: Assistance Animals Vs. Comfort Animals

Question.I have a question about the Pet form. The term “assistance”  animal is used throughout. We are  in a disagreement with HUD over a comfort animal versus a “service” animal.  (one state document does use the term assistance and classes that as service in a footnote)  

 

Our defense is that the terms are very specific in the laws, or agency guidelines, both state and federal.   A landlord is specifically released from any responsibility to accept any animal that is not certified as “service.” HUD says they are not bound by another agency’s rules. Isn’t it important for our forms to be specific by using the term “service?”.

 

Phil Querin Q&A - Extending 30 Day Notices During Court Closing

Question:  We need clarification on 30- day notices.  Assuming courts are closed for longer than 2 weeks - this could become 2 months. What should a landlord do who has a tenant  problem that warrants issuance of a 30-day notice?  If the landlord gives a 30-day notice now, he/she has two possible choices: (a) Accept no rent for the second month the 30-day notice spans; or (b) or accept only a portion of the second month’s rent prorated through the last day of the “Deadline” (i.e. the last day in the Notice for the tenant to cure the default). Is there a way around this, so the landlord can collect the entire month’s rent for the second month?

 

Answer. Accepting rent for the period beyond the Deadline means that the tenant is entitled to occupy the space even after the failure to cure within the 30-day cure period. Yet the failure to cure is the event after which the landlord may file for eviction; the tenant has no legal right to remain on the space. Accepting rent for that period creates a waiver of the right to treat the failure to cure as a default upon which the eviction may be filed.

 

There are perhaps three ways to prevent that from happening, so that a landlord may receive rent for the entirety of the second month, notwithstanding the fact that it covers a period beyond the Deadline.

 

1. The preferred way in my opinion, is to extend the cure period in the notice. When it is issued, extend the 30-day cure period so that it goes through the 30thor 31stday (as applicable) of the second month.

 

EXAMPLE:If a 30-day notice is mailed on March 19, normally, the time to cure would end 33 days hence, i.e. starting with March 20 being the first day, and ending at midnight April 21stas the end of the cure period. In that case, the landlord can either take no rentfor April or take rent proratedthrough the 21 days of April. 

 

But if the cure period in the notice is extended through April, and ends  at midnight (end of day) on April 30ththe L could accept rent for the entire month of April. If the tenant pays the rent for April andcures the violation by April 30, the problem has gone away.  

 

Of course, there still is a problem if the tenant does not cure and does not pay any rent, if the courts are still closed and no eviction (either for the failure to cure, or failure to pay after issuance of a 72-hour notice) can be filed.

 

2. Another alternative is to unilaterally extend (in writing) the cure period for another 30 or 31 days on condition rent was paid, to span the following month. Can a landlord do that? In my opinion yes – it does not reduce a tenant right, but expands it. Of course, a judge could see it differently.

 

3. Lastly, the landlord can try to enter into a written agreement with the tenant (after issuance of the 30-day notice) that acceptance of rent for the balance of the second month shall not be construed as a waiver. But what’s in it for the tenant?

 

The only time this seems feasible is where the tenant is cooperative about curing within the 30 days, and agrees in writing that if landlord accepts the full rent for the second month it will not constitute a waiver.

Phil Querin Q&A: Resident Builds Carport Now Selling/Moving Home - Status of Carport?

Question:  I have a resident who was given permission to build a permanent carport.  Most all of the carports in my park are free standing and permanent which is my preference. However, he constructed the permanent carport by boring holes in the ground and filling them with concrete and inserting metal mounts to which he fastened 4x4 uprights for the carport.  Building it this way, in my opinion, made it part of the real property.  I was there when construction started but was absent when it was completed. 

 

What now complicates matters is that he recently decided to sell the manufactured home, including the carport.  This would not have been an issue had the buyer is now planned on moving the home.  I believe that since the carport is now permanently affixed to the ground, it cannot be sold as personal property along with the home.  He also attached the carport to the manufactured home which may complicate things, as well.  What are my rights here?

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