Park conditions

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Peter Benjamin

As a mobile home park tenant, you have a right to decent park conditions. As the owner of your mobile home, however, you have the responsibility to keep your home in decent condition.

Owner's responsibilities

It is a park owner's obligation to keep the park roadways, common areas, and utility and sewer lines up to the mobile home hookup in good condition.34 Common areas include laundry buildings, park meeting buildings, and park lawns and woods. Utility lines are the gas, electric, and water lines.

The owner is also responsible for ultimate disposal of residents' garbage. This may be done by the regular municipal collection system or by any other means approved by the Board of Health.

Each local Board of Health must inspect and license mobile home parks. While the park owner must renew her license with the Board of Health on an annual basis,35 the law requires the Board to inspect conditions in individual parks "from time to time."36 As a practical matter, this means that the local Board is likely to inspect a park only when there are problems. If you have asked your park owner to make repairs and the owner is not keeping up with her obligation to properly maintain the park, you can call the Board of Health and ask for an inspection.

The owner must make available basic utilities, including electricity, water, sewerage, disposal and natural gas (if it is available in the community). Owners must allow access to cable television and may not unreasonably restrict access to satellite TV. It is illegal for a park owner to refuse to provide you with or allow access to these services.37

Retaliation Is Illegal

If the park owner tries to evict you and there are bad conditions on your lot, you can defend against the eviction by making claims for money damages based on the difference between the value of your lot in good condition and its value in bad condition. If you have complained to the local Board of Health about the condition of the park and your park owner subsequently threatens or tries to evict you, or retaliates against you in any other way, you can claim damages in the amount of five months' rent, plus court costs and attorney's fees. If you receive an eviction notice within six months of making such a complaint, the law presumes the park owner is retaliating.38 This means that if your case goes to court, you need only prove that you made the complaint and received the eviction notice. The park owner must then convince the judge that she is not retaliating by proving that she has some other good reason for evicting you. If she does not, then you should win your retaliation claim.

Tenant's Responsibilities

Because you own your mobile home, you are responsible for keeping it in good condition. Under the state Sanitary Code, tenants are required to keep their homes and yards free of garbage inside and outside, while the park owner has the obligation to keep her land and the park's common areas clean and is responsible for ultimate disposal of all residents’ garbage.39 Tenants can also be required, without charge, to comply with local recycling rules.40



34 . 940 C.M.R. §10.05. The Attorney General's regulations now cover the owner's obligations in considerable detail.

35 . G.L. c. 140, §32B.

36 . G.L. c. 140, §32C.

37 . G.L. c. 186, §14; 940 C.M.R. §§10.05(4)¬ and (5).

38 . G.L. c. 140, §32N.

39 . 105 C.M.R. §410.602(B) requires tenants to keep their homes free of rubbish, while 105 C.M.R. §410.602(A) places the obligation for keeping the land free of garbage on the park owner. 105 C.M.R. §410.602(D) makes the park owner responsible for keeping common areas clean, so long as they are not occupied or controlled by one tenant. See also 940 C.M.R. §10.05(7).

40 . 940 C.M.R. §10.05(8).

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