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BILL AS PASSED BY HOUSE 2007-2008

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H.332

AN ACT RELATING TO SALE AND CLOSURE OF MOBILE HOME PARKS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. § 6231 is amended to read:

§ 6231.  Rules

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(b)  The department of housing and community affairs may adopt rules to carry out the provisions of sections 6236-6243 of this title into effect.  The department shall seek advice and comment from the advisory commission prior to adopting rules.

(c)  A mobile home park that has been closed pursuant to subdivision 6237(a)(5) section 6237a of this title and reduced to no more than two occupied leased lots, shall be required, if the number of occupied leased lots subsequently is increased to more than two, to obtain all state land use and environmental permits required for a mobile home park that has been established or expanded after May 31, 1970.

Sec. 1a.  10 V.S.A. § 6236(c), (d), and (e) are amended to read:

(c)  A prospective resident shall be furnished with a copy of the proposed lease prior to any agreement to lease or occupy a mobile home lot, and upon acceptance of the lease terms the lease shall be signed by the lessor and lessee. Any provision in a lease governing rental and utility charges shall be effective for a minimum of one year, except in the case of a new tenant in a mobile home park in which there is a uniform rent schedule which affects all lots in that park simultaneously.  The initial lease for a new tenant may include the anticipated increase in the rent and utility charge at the time it occurs for the other lots.  A mobile home park owner shall provide residents with a minimum of 60 days notice prior to any rent increase.  Rent increase notices shall not be given within six months prior to the issuance of a closure notice or any time during which the closure notice is in effect.  All increases in rent received by the mobile home park owner during the six months prior to the issuance of a closure notice shall be returned to the affected residents within seven days of issuance of the closure notice.  This subsection shall not apply to proprietary leases in mobile home parks owned by limited equity housing cooperatives established under chapter 14 of Title 11.  The rental and utility charge may be increased during a year if the operating expenses of the park increase 20 percent or more during that year as the result of legislative action taken during that year and the increase could not have been anticipated.  The rental and utility charge may be increased during a year only to the extent necessary to cover the increase in operating expenses of the park.

(d)  No person shall sublease a mobile home resident may sublet the resident's mobile home without the express permission or a lot in a mobile home park without first obtaining the approval of the park owner, which shall not be unreasonably withheld.  A violation of this subsection shall be grounds for eviction.

(e)  All mobile home leases shall contain the following:

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(5)  The requirement of to obtain permission, if any, from the park owner for subletting a mobile home or a lot to another person.

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Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 6237(a)(5) is amended to read:

(5)  A mobile home park owner shall give to each affected leaseholder and to the commissioner of the department of housing and community affairs notice by certified mail at least 18 months prior to any voluntary change in use of all or part of the park land or termination of the mobile home park that would result in the removal of any or all of the mobile home units.  Upon request, the commissioner of housing and community affairs may waive the notice requirement if the change in use is necessary to assure the health, safety or welfare of the park residents.  No eviction proceedings may be commenced during the 18-month notice period, except for nonpayment of rent.


Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 6237a is added to read:

§ 6237a.  MOBILE HOME PARK CLOSURES

(a)  At least 18 months prior to the closure of a mobile home park or any mobile home lot that will result in the eviction of a resident or removal of a mobile home, a mobile home park owner shall give notice of the closure to each affected resident of the park and to the commissioner by certified mail.  Upon request, the commissioner may waive some or all of the 18-month notice period if the closure is necessary to assure the health, safety, or welfare of park residents.  No evictions may be commenced during the 18‑month closure period except for nonpayment of rent or a substantial violation of the lease terms.

(b)  A mobile home park owner shall not give notice of closure without first giving a notice of intent to sell in accordance with section 6242 of this title unless the mobile home park owner retains ownership of the land for at least five years after the closure is complete.  Notice of the five-year restriction shall be recorded in the land records of the municipality in which the park is located.  The park owner may apply to the commissioner for relief from this section if the commissioner determines that strict compliance is likely to cause undue hardship to the owners or the residents, or both.

(c)  When a mobile home park owner gives notice of intent to sell pursuant to section 6242 of this title, any previous notice of closure and any evictions commenced pursuant to the closure notice are void.

(d)  A mobile home park owner who gives notice of intent to sell pursuant to section 6242 of this title shall not give notice of closure until after:

(1)  At least 45 days after giving notice of intent to sell as required in subdivision 6242(a)(5) of this title; and

(2)  If applicable, the commissioner has received notice from the residents and the park owner that negotiations have ended following the 90‑day negotiation period provided in subdivision 6242(c)(1) of this title.

(e)  A mobile home park owner who closes a mobile home park and within five years thereafter sells the land on which the park was located without providing notice of intent to sell pursuant to section 6242 of this title shall be liable to the state in the aggregate amount of $10,000.00 or 50 percent of the gain realized by the owner from the sale, whichever is greater.

Sec. 3a.  10 V.S.A. § 6240 is amended to read:

§ 6240.  SALE OF HOMES LOCATED IN PARKS

(a)  Prior to selling a mobile home located in a mobile home park, the mobile home owner shall notify the park owner by certified or registered mail of the name of the prospective purchaser.  The seller may be held liable by the purchaser or prospective purchaser for failure to comply with this section.

(b)  A purchaser or prospective purchaser of a mobile home located in a park shall not be refused entrance if the purchaser and his the purchaser’s household qualify under the lease terms admission policy of the park.  Upon approval for entrance into the mobile home park, the purchaser or prospective purchaser shall be offered a written lease pursuant to section 6236 of this title.

(c)  A park owner shall not charge or collect any commission on the sale of a mobile home located in a park unless he the park owner contracts to sell the home.

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 6242(f) is amended to read:

(f)  No additional notice pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be required if the mobile home park owner completes a sale of the park within one year from the date of the notice at the price, terms, and conditions equal to those pursuant to which the park was offered for sale.

Sec. 5.  10 V.S.A. § 6247(a) is amended to read:

(a)  A park owner may not retaliate by any of the following:

(1)  By establishing or changing terms of a rental agreement or by.

(2)  By closing a mobile home lot or a mobile home park or threatening to do so.

(3)  By bringing or threatening to bring an action against a resident who:

(1)(A)  has complained to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building, housing or health regulation of a violation applicable to the premises materially affecting health and safety;

(2)(B)  has complained to the park owner of a violation of this chapter; or

(3)(C)  has organized or become a member of a resident’s association or similar organization.

Sec. 6.  10 V.S.A. § 6265 is amended to read:

§ 6265.  CONDEMNATION AND RELOCATION OF RESIDENTS

(a)  The owner of a lot or rented mobile home which that is condemned by a governmental agency due to the wilful failure or refusal of the owner to comply with any obligations imposed by law shall provide for reasonable relocation costs of affected residents.  The affected residents shall have the right to recover the reasonable costs of relocation, including court costs and reasonable attorney fees.  The agency of natural resources shall grant to the owner in a timely fashion all permits necessary to correct violations under this subchapter.

(b)  The commissioner may require a mobile home park owner who commences a closure of a mobile home park pursuant to section 6237a of this title within one year of receiving notice of a violation of health, safety, or environmental laws or of section 6262 of this title to pay reasonable relocation costs to affected residents.   If permitted by the commissioner, the affected residents may recover actual costs of relocation up to $3,500.00 per resident, court costs, and reasonable attorney fees, in addition to any other remedies available.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us