Mobile home park owner saying no to HVAC

9 Replies

I've been trying to get an education on how much control park owners have over mobile home owners renting space in their park.  Here is the situation:

My 90 year old grandmother has owned a unit for 25+ years in a suburb of Los Angeles. About 15 years ago, my dad removed the swamp cooler and installed a HVAC unit on the roof of her unit (he is a HVAC contractor).  He was there doing some repair work the other day and the owner approached him and said the HVAC needs to be removed. That it didn't have the proper permit and even if he tried to get the permit, he (the park owner) would have to approve it and won't.

There are other people in the park who want to put in HVAC but he is saying no. So they are now asking why my grandma has it and they can't. Apparently, my grandma is "causing him problems because she has a/c".

The electric is metered by owner (my grandma pays her portion). She is on the same line with 7 other units. Electric hasn't been updated since 1960s. 

Who can we talk to to get help for my grandma to be able to keep her a/c? She can not continue to live there without a/c as temps get way too hot and for crying out loud, she's 90! 

Somebody help please!!

It would be best to contact a real estate attorney to review the ground rent contract between the unit and the park owners. If the AC unit has been there 15 years I doubt the park owner was doing anything but blustering.  Since she is paying for her metered portion for 15 years with presumably no complaints for park owner, its doubtful any judge would make her remove it.

@Adrienne Markes If the HVAC has been there for that long, it's best to go over the paperwork you have with the park. See if there is anything about that in there. Like @Kelly DeWinter suggested, it might be a good idea to review the paperwork and your options with a good real estate attorney. Since the park owner told your dad in person but did not send anything in writing yet, it might be best to wait and see what happens but know your options. Good luck! 

@Adrienne Markes I say let it play and call the city/HUD to start research on. Attorney is simply an overkill, unless they're almost free. I doubt the owner has the balls to pull that out. All individual has the right to cool and heat, just like a regular tenant that could sue you if you don't fix the heating unit and they're freezing.

I would let it play out and call his bluff, most park owners think because they own the land they can tell you what to do with your home and how it looks, if it persists just pull home out or tell him you are going to sell and move out 

Good luck

Get the copy of the lease agreement/community rules. It will depend on your state landlord tenant regulations regarding community rules which may or may not be the same thing as the lease. In most jurisdictions a community owner is permitted to change the community rule, with proper written notice to residents, providing the rule changes do not counter state codes. Land lease communities are similar to having a HOA.

A good example of this is in colder states where community owners are eliminating the use of oil as a heating source. The owner can legally implement a community rule change banning the use of oil heating and force all residents to replace their furnaces to use electric or propane/natural gas.

Be careful in assuming a community owner has no rights or taking advice from those that do not invest in land lease communities. It is usually a balance between owner and tenant.

Most park owners DO have the authority to tell you what to do with your home and how it looks. That is the primary purpose of having community rules recognised in your state landlord tenant regulations.

So- shared electric lines between homes and not updated since the 60s. 

Your problem is in that statement probably.

Electric lines can only carry so much 'load'. That load is determined in 'AMPS' and with distance, the 'Amps" load increases on the line. If you pull too many 'AMPS' you will do 1 of 2 things- trip a breaker or fuse, or start a fire.

You see this when people use an extension cord and run space heaters off the cord, the cord can get so hot it starts a fire. In the old days- mobile homes would use like 50 - 60 AMPS each. So maybe that MHP is set up to handle that amount. A window AC unit will draw 15 - 20 AMPS. A dryer uses about 30 amps. A stove uses 30 - 50 AMPS. Water heater uses 25 - 30 AMPS. In a home one uses a 'load calculator' to figure out how many AMSP of appliances you can have on the circuit. If you have too many AMPS- you will trip a circuit breaker, the main breaker or you could heat up the wires to the point the cause a fire. 

That is basic info- here is my take as a park owner.

I have had a park with this problem. There was a fire underground, and we had to shut off the power to fix the line. The city told us we had to fix all the power to turn the master meter back on- so we had to pull power to every home in the park and every home got a meter etc.

The cost was about $2,000 per lot. Power got turned on over time to each home, the first about 10 days after the power was shut off, and the last about at the 17 day mark.

OK- so maybe there are options. A power pole in most cases fully hooked up is about $2,000 per home-site. This assumes overhead power and the pole is close enough to a transformer to even get the power there. If there is no way to get power there overhead- the cost goes WAY up. In some cases that cost might go to 3 - 5 thousand per home. As a park owner, depending on space rents etc, that might shut a park down. 

When I had a master metered park we had strict restrictions on what kind of appliances you could have etc. As much of the appliances that could be gas were required to be gas. Even with that- if everyone got an AC unit it would have blown our power supply. 

The owner has good reasons to say no (probably). If the infrastructure can not handle the power it just can not.