As the owner of a manufactured home or mobile home park, you probably provide a range of services to various tenants. You may provide them with water and sewer services, as well as infrastructure such as pools or playground equipment.
In some cases, your tenants may bring their own mobile home to the community. Other times, they might lease a home technically owned by you. You may even engage in a hybrid of these two arrangements where tenants lease the unit while paying more in order to own it eventually.
In a situation where you are the owner or seller of the mobile home, your tenants could potentially bring expensive claims against you for property maintenance. When are those claims reasonable, and when can you defend against them?
The terms of your lease or purchase agreement outline your responsibilities
As a general rule, you have an obligation to maintain shared spaces and the property that you actually own to a certain standard. However, in a lease-to-own scenario, some of the maintenance responsibility for the property that you actually own may pass to your tenants.
When tenants start making complaints about a nonworking air conditioning unit or soft spots in the floor, they might try demanding that you make repairs even if the issue is the result of their neglect. Reviewing the terms of your lease to see what it says about maintenance responsibilities can give you an idea of whether your tenants have a valid claim.
Many times, these sorts of actions fall into a gray area that may not have been explicitly included in the terms of the lease or purchase agreement executed with the tenants. If you aren’t certain about your responsibilities or if your tenants have already filed a lawsuit against you, sitting down with an attorney to review both documentation about the property’s condition and the terms of your lease should be your next step. An attorney experienced in mobile home park law in California will give you an idea of what your legal options are.