2011 Minnesota Legislative Agenda


Manufactured (mobile) home parks are the largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing in Minnesota. They exceed Housing and Urban Development subsidized units and Rural Development units combined. They offer very low housing costs (mean monthly rent statewide is $367) and the opportunity for low-income home ownership (87 percent are owner-occupied). However, residents are in a vulnerable housing situation arising from an arrangement under which they own their homes, but not the land. Many families living in parks could literally not afford to live anywhere else, if their park closes, or if they are evicted, which includes many single parents and seniors living on fixed incomes.


Establish Alternative for Dispute Resolution

  • Background: Manufactured home parks present a unique housing situation since one party owns the land and other parties own the homes sitting on that land. As a result, fundamental property rights are put into competition with each other. A number of disputes arise from this arrangement.
  • The Problem: There is currently no way to seek resolution to a dispute without the time and expense of legal action which becomes even more difficult as both court and legal aid budgets are slashed.
  • Proposed Action: In 2007, Washington State established a model program for allowing a quick agency ruling on a dispute as an alternative to pursing a case in court. Either park owner or home owner can seek to use this system and neither is barred from pursuing additional legal action. The MN Offices of Administrative Hearings can offer a similar program that allows for resolution of legitimate legal matters within 30 days at a cost of only a couple hundred dollars. This program can offer mediation all the way up to a hearing resulting in a final ruling by an Administrative Law Judge.

Video explaining alternative for dispute resolution

Increase Relocation Compensation from the MN Manufactured Home Relocation Trust Fund

  • Background: The closure of a park can be financially devastating for residents and most often means the loss of their homes, since their homes cannot be moved due to age, moving costs (from $6,000 to $13,000), shortage of available lots, or parks barring homes over 10 years old (71 percent of all homes). In 2007, the Legislature established the Trust Fund to provide reasonable relocation compensation through a program funded through an annual $12 contribution from home owners (collected by the park owners) and a one-time contribution from park owners at the time of closure. This program replaced a patchwork of local ordinances which funded relocation compensation solely through park owner contributions.
  • The Problem: Parks have closed since the establishment of the program and the Trust Fund has been used successfully to provide relocation compensation. However, the maximum benefits for relocation ($4,000 for a single section home and $8,000 for a multi-section home) or buy-out ($5,000 for a single section home and $9,000 for a multi-section home) are well below the average costs of displaced homeowners.
  • Proposed Action: The relocation compensation limits should be increased to match the average statewide relocation costs and the buy-out limits should be increased to $1,000 above those amounts. In addition, the need for a monthly invoice should be eliminated to make it easier for park owners to collect the $12 annual fee through the $1 per month option.

Require Park Manager Background Checks

  • Background: The goal of any manufactured home park owner should be to provide a safe and secure community for the residents who live in it. The park manager is often the individual most involved in the daily operations of a park, including screening prospective residents, storing confidential records, enforcing rules, and maintaining contact with residents. The background of the park manager can be relevant factor in fostering that safety and security.
  • The Problem: There is currently no requirement that a background check be conducted of a prospective park manager. As a result, there is no guarantee that the residents’ families and confidential information is in safe hands.
  • Proposed Action: Since 1995, state law has required background checks for apartment managers. This law requires that owner's of property run background checks on prospective building managers. If the manager has been convicted of a serious crime (murder, rape, stalking, etc.) the owner may not hire the manager or must discharge the manager if the manager has already been hired. If the manager was already working, and the owner knows the manager committed a serious crime, the owner must notify all tenants. If the tenant's wish, they have the right to give two weeks notice and quit their lease. A tenant exercising this option is treated as if they had given the proper amount of notice before leaving.

See the Bill Fact Sheets.

See the 2007 Legislative Agenda

AttachmentSize
2008 Legislative Agenda.pdf99.19 KB
2009 Legislative Agenda.doc84 KB
2010 Legislative Agenda, part one (final).doc125 KB
2010 Legislative Agenda, part two (final).doc30.5 KB
2011 Legislative Agenda.doc127.5 KB
Fact Sheets - Bills, 2011.doc357.5 KB