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Mobile Homes

Whether you rent or own a mobile home, you will be a tenant of the mobile home park. Before you purchase a mobile home, if you do not plan to move the home, review the lease and be sure that you have been approved to live in the park before you finalize the purchase. Moving a mobile home can easily cost $1,000 - $2,000 or more.

The Mobile Home Landlord and Tenant Rights Act Chapter 765 Illinois Compiled Statutes, Act 745 protects many rights of mobile home park tenants. If you live in a park that has 5 or more mobile homes, the law applies to you. The law requires the park to give you a pamphlet developed by the Department of Public Health that explains the provisions of the law. In addition, the Mobile Home Park Act under the Health Facilities section of state law, 210 ILCS 115 sets forth certain requirements park owners have for maintaining health standards within a mobile home park.

These are some of the major provisions of the Mobile Home Landlord and Tenant Rights Act:

- The park owner must offer you a written, 24-month lease.

- Rent cannot be increased unless the park gives you notice 90 days in advance of the lease termination date. You have 30 days from the date of the notice of a rent increase to give the landlord notice that you reject the increase and will move out before the date the increase becomes effective. The park owner can provide in the lease, or later by 90 days' notice to the tenant, for a rent increase between the first and second years of the 24-month lease.

- Rent cannot be raised during the lease except that the lease can provide for a rent increase between the first and second year of the lease.

- The park owner may offer the choice of a month-to-month tenancy or a fixed term lease for less than 24 months as long as the 24-month lease is also a choice. If the lease is less than 24 months, the law requires that the tenant sign a statement acknowledging that a longer term lease was offered but rejected by the tenant. With a shorter term lease, including month-to-month leases, 90 days notice is still required for a rent increase.

- Unlike with apartment leases, a tenant who signs a lease under this Act has 3 days after signing to cancel the contract if the tenant has not yet moved in and has not signed anything giving up this right to cancel within 3 days.

- Effect of an unsigned lease. If the owner gives you a signed lease and you don't sign and return it but continue living in the park and paying rent, that will be considered acceptance of the lease with the same effect as if you had signed the contract.

- Late charges cannot be charged unless they are stated in the lease and the park gives you a minimum 5 day grace period after rent is due before imposing the charge.

- Your lease automatically renews forever unless:
1) you give the owner notice 30 days before the lease end date that you will not renew
2) the park gives you written notice, 30 days in advance of the lease ending, of the reason for not renewing
3) the park owner elects to close all or a portion of the mobile home park, in which case 12 months' notice of the closing must be given
4) the park owner seeks to change the terms of the lease. In that case, notice of the change must be provided by the owner. If there is a change in the rent, the park owner must offer to provide the tenant a copy of the lease without charge, upon request.

- Only good cause, such as non-payment of rent, violation of park rules or violation of local or state laws dealing with mobile home parks can be used as a reason for refusing to renew your contract. It is unlawful for the park owner to evict you because you organized a home owner's association or because you filed a complaint with a government agency about building code or health violations at the park.

- You cannot be evicted from the park, except after judgment is entered against you in court for non-payment of rent, violation of law, or violation of park rules.

- Park rules are enforceable only if:

- Fees, rents and all charges for services must be specifically stated and itemized in the lease and in all billings of the tenant by the park owner. The park owner cannot charge a transfer or selling fee as a condition of a sale of a mobile home that is going to remain within the park unless a service is provided by the park. The park owner is prohibited from charging the tenant any fee or rent increase which reflects the cost to the park owner of any fine, forfeiture, penalty, money damages or fess and costs incurred by the park owner unless the fee or fine was imposed on the owner as a consequence of something the tenant did.

- Disclosure of certain information is required in the lease. It must include the full names and addresses of all individuals who have part or all of the legal or equitable title to the mobile home park and the owner must provide a custodian's office and provide to the tenants the name, address and telephone number of the custodian's office.

- Security deposits cannot exceed an amount equal to one month's rent. The park cannot charge for damage after the end of the lease unless it sends the tenant an itemized list of damages, with estimated costs of each item on the list, within 15 days after the lease ends. Failure by the tenant to object to these charges, in writing, within 15 days, means the tenant agrees to these charges. (Using certified mail at the post office to send notice to the owner of your objection is not required but it is a good idea for proving that you sent the notice within the 15 days). The park owner must pay annual interest on any deposit held for more than 6 months if there are 25 or more homes in the park. Interest must be paid in cash after the end of every 12 month period.

- The park owner may not transfer or move a mobile home to a different lot in the same park, or at another park, during the term of the lease.

 

Mobile Home Park Licensing, Sewage and Water Issues

You can contact the Illinois Department of Public Health, Region 6 at 217-278-5900 to inquire about or report any problems related to licensing of the mobile home park or sewage or water issues in the park.

 

Temporary Tenant

A new provision of the law states that if a tenant suffers from an illness or disability that requires the tenant to temporarily leave the mobile home park, the park owner shall allow a relative or relatives, designated by the tenant or the tenant's legal guardian or representative, to live in the home for a period of up to 90 days as temporary occupants, provided that: 1) the tenant provides the owner with documentation from a licensed physician dated within the last 60 days of the illness or disability; 2) the temporary occupant must meet all qualifications other than financial and the terms of the lease and park rules must continue to be met. If this is a legally age-restricted park for older persons, the temporary occupant would have to meet the age requirements; and 3) the temporary occupant must submit an application to the park owner to confirm that he or she meets all of the requirements. After the 90-day period, the temporary occupant would be required to provide documentation of ongoing financial ability to pay the costs relative to occupancy.

If you are the owner of the mobile home and a tenant of the park, the Mobile Home Landlord and Tenant Rights Act provides these additional protections regarding your home ownership.

 

Sale of a Mobile Home

- Upon sale of your mobile home to a qualified purchaser, the park owner/manager cannot require that the home be moved out of the park unless it is less than 12 feet wide or if it is in substantial disrepair and you failed to make repairs after written notice from the park. The park owner cannot prohibit you from selling your home or interfere with your sale of the home to a qualified buyer. (But, the park owner could reject the buyer as a tenant of the park based on whatever criteria the park uses to evaluate prospective tenants).

- In the event of the sale of abandoned or repossessed property, the park owner shall, after paying all outstanding rent, fees, costs and expenses to the community, pay any remaining balance to the title holder of the abandoned or repossessed property. That money would be forfeited if the tenant (former owner of the home) cannot be found 90 days after the park owner sends notice by certified mail to the tenant's last known address (which is probably the address at which the mobile home was abandoned).

- Anyone who pays any money toward the purchase of a mobile home or placement of a mobile home in a park who relied upon any false or misleading information published by or under authority of the park owner or developer, including but not limited to a prospectus, brochures or newspaper advertising, will have a cause of action to rescind the contract or collect damages for her or his loss from the developer, park owner, or mobile home dealer.

 

Rent Deferral Program

A tenant may defer for up to one year, the amount of a rent increase if the tenant fulfills the following requirements for establishing inability to pay the increased rent. This must be done within 30 days of the date the tenant receives a new lease or notice of a rent increase:

  1. Tenant must sign a sworn affidavit promising to list the mobile home with a licensed sales entity and market it for sale
  2. Tenant must sign a sworn affidavit that the proposed new lease amount will exceed 45% of the tenant's current income
  3. Tenant must provide a tax return and other documentation to verify annual income and assets of tenant and co-tenants.

If these requirements are met, the tenant may continue to reside in the mobile home for a period of up to 12 months or the date on which the mobile home is sold, whichever date is earlier. During this time, all rent must be paid under the rate in effect before the rent increase and the difference between the new rent and the rent that is paid during this period must be paid upon sale of the home (without any interest or penalty charges).

Mobile Home Owners' Association of Illinois

For information about the Mobile Home Owners' Association of Illinois, go to www.mhoai.org. To find contact information for board members of the association, go to www.mhoai.org/BoardNotes.html.

 

The Tenant Union does not provide legal services of any kind. All information provided in this publication is intended to help the average person prevent problems and deal with common concerns of renting. When legal help is needed, always consult with an attorney at law.