A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, to prevent lawsuits and give mobile home owners a voice when their mobile home park is being subdivided and sold passed off the Senate floor and now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown for approval. The vote was 21-14.
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.
If a majority of mobile home park residents do not support a sale, Senate Bill 510 allows — but does not require — a local government to disapprove of the conversion.
“Mobile homes are an important source of affordable home ownership for many people in my district and throughout California. Far too often, these 'condo conversions' have been forced upon residents without their support and input. This bill gives residents and local governments a way to have a voice in the process, if they so choose,“ Jackson said. “At the same time, it will bring much-needed clarity to the law that will help prevent costly litigation to local governments that drains limited resources.”
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 $500,000 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, the County of Ventura, the Goleta Manufactured-Home Owners Coalition and the Ventura Manufactured-Home Residents Council.
Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.
— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.