A bill by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) to prevent lawsuits and give mobile home owners more of a say when their mobile home park is being subdivided and sold passed off the Assembly floor on a bipartisan vote. The vote was 41-23.
The bill now heads to the Senate floor.
Existing law allows mobile home park owners to subdivide and sell the individual lots on which homes are placed. This is commonly referred to as a “condo conversion.” But without clarity in current law, condo conversions have commonly left mobile home park residents without a say in the process and cities confused about how to proceed.
Senate Bill 510 allows – but does not require – a local government to disapprove of the conversion of a mobile home park if a majority of parks residents do not support it.
“This makes the process of “condo conversion” more fair, by giving residents and local governments a way to have a voice in the process, if they so choose, “ Jackson said. “Mobile homes are a source of affordable home ownership. We should be as respectful of these homeowners’ rights as we are of any others. At the same time, it’s vital that we prevent costly litigation to local governments that drains limited resources.”
“Without this bill, thousands of mobile home residents could be forced out of their homes over the objection of local government,” said Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, who managed the bill on the Assembly floor. “This clarifies to the courts that local governments have the right to say no to a forced mobile home conversion.”
Current law on the issue has been unclear, and the uncertainty has led to dozens of lawsuits. The City of Goleta has spent more than a half million dollars just on litigation expenses related to the conversion of the Rancho Mobilehome Park.
California has nearly 5,000 mobile home parks. Typically, residents own their mobile homes but rent the spaces in which their homes are placed.
The bill has the support of a number of groups, including the City of Ventura, the County of Santa Barbara, and the County of Ventura, the Goleta Manufactured-Home Owners Coalition, and the Ventura Manufactured-Home Resident’s Council.
Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.