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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.188

Introduced by Senator Hartwell of Bennington District and Senator Sears of Bennington District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Housing; mobile homes; mobile home parks; closure; sale; notice; protection against retaliation

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to clarify how existing statutes are applied when a mobile home park is to be sold or closed.

AN ACT RELATING TO MOBILE HOME PARK SALE AND CLOSURE

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

* * *

(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. 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. 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