Mobile Home Law Chapter 723 in Florida

Mobile Home Law Chapter 723 in Florida
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Mobile home parks are big business across America, with property owners charging mobile homeowners rent on the lots they own. Laws relating to these businesses vary from one state to the next, but in Florida, there are two major types of mobile home parks: single-entity-owned parks that lease the lots and resident-owned mobile home parks. Law 723 governs mobile home parks in Florida where homeowners pay rent to park their mobile homes.

Chapter 723 Florida Statutes 2018

If you own your mobile home and the lot it sits on within a park, you reside in a resident-owned mobile home park. However, if you rent the space your mobile home occupies in a park, your landlord must follow the laws as set out under Chapter 723 of Florida Statute. Those who have an ownership stake in the property where their mobile home is located look to Chapters 719 and 720 for the laws governing their situation.

Under Chapter 723, a mobile home property owner with 26 or more lots must create a prospectus and file it with the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes under the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The approved version of this prospectus must be delivered to each homeowner before having that person sign a rental agreement.

Protections Against Discrimination

One of the many ways Chapter 723 protects mobile homeowners’ rights in Florida is through the prohibition of discrimination by mobile home park owners. You cannot treat any homeowner differently without a good reason for doing so. In other words, if your actions can be seen as targeting a specific person, you may be at risk of violating Florida laws on mobile home park ownership.

This law against discrimination extends to rental prices, which cannot be imposed on one person and not another. If you up your rates, it needs to be for everyone who lives in that trailer park at that time, as well as new renters coming in. This is in addition to the other laws regarding rent increases.

Rent Increase Laws

Before upping the rental costs on your lots, you’ll need to check mobile home laws in Florida to make sure your increase is compliant. Your prospectus must outline the process you’ll use to raise rent on your property, which must include giving each mobile homeowner no less than 90 days’ written notice. You’ll also need to disclose in that prospectus any fees your renters will be forced to pay and how those fees will be increased.

In many cases, your own lot expenses influence how much rent you charge. If you pass the cost of maintaining your property on to your renters, this must be disclosed in your prospectus. Same with other factors that affect how much rent you charge, including water and sewer rates, waste disposal costs, property taxes and major repairs.

Eviction Laws and Mobile Homes

As with any other rental situation, mobile home park owners have the right to evict a mobile homeowner, but not without due cause. Under Chapter 723 Florida statutes 2018, the following are grounds on which a renter can be evicted:

  • Failure to pay rent. In this case, the mobile home park owner must issue a written demand to pay, then wait five days before terminating the tenancy. If the late payment has occurred less than three times, the court may reinstate the renter, though, as long as that person pays the past amount due plus any late charges, court costs and legal fees.
  • Conviction for violation of a law, whether federal, state or local. In this case, the violation must reasonably put the other residents of the park in jeopardy. The mobile home park owner must issue an order to evict in writing, and the tenant will have up to seven days to leave.
  • Violation of Chapter 723, a park regulation or the rental agreement itself.

Creation of a Homeowners’ Association

To look out for their own rights, mobile homeowners in a mobile home park are encouraged to create a homeowners’ association. Although Chapter 723 is designed to protect mobile homeowners’ rights in Florida, it can only go so far to cover each individual park. A site-specific HOA will give homeowners the opportunity to join together in ensuring they’re being treated properly.

In order to form an HOA, you’ll need at least two-thirds of the residents of the park to sign off on joining. Once created, you’ll need to let the park owner know in writing of its existence and put together articles of incorporation and assign a board. You’ll also need bylaws, dues and officers, as with any HOA.

Compliance With Codes

Although the mobile home park owner has the right to set forth restrictions to protect her own best interests, mobile homeowners’ rights in Florida also looks out for the owners renting space in these parks. Park owners have a duty to follow all local building and health codes, providing a safe and healthy space for residents to live. If you’re a mobile home park owner, you’ll need to review building codes and make sure any structures that are your responsibility are in compliance.

Any utility connections your mobile home park provides must also be in proper working conditions at all times. You’ll need to allow access to common areas to all residents and their guests during reasonable hours each day and keep those buildings in good repair.

Honesty in Advertising

The mobile home laws in Florida also restrict the way mobile home park owners can market their available rental lots. You will need to submit those materials to the division within 30 days of the end of the quarter in which it was used. Advertising materials refer to print materials and billboards, with no mention of online advertising in the regulations.

However, whatever methods you use to get the word out about your mobile home park and its offerings, truth in advertising is essential. For every instance of false advertising, you can be imposed a penalty in excess of $250. This includes misrepresenting the size and amenities offered at your park.

Mobile Homes as Real Property

When a person owns a mobile home that is permanently affixed to property he owns, the State of Florida recognizes that residence as real property and the owner is expected to pay taxes on it. However, things get a little trickier when you rent the property on which your mobile home resides. With a mobile home park, the person or business that owns the land pays property tax on it, so those renting space on that lot wouldn’t pay property tax on that land any more than a renter would pay property tax on a rental house.

But unlike a rental home, you do own the home you’re living in, even if you don’t own the land it’s on. In that case, your mobile home will be taxed as tangible personal property. The local property assessor makes the final determination as to whether a mobile home qualifies as real or tangible personal property, and that assessment will change if you later take ownership of the land on which your mobile home sits.

Mediation Offerings for Homeowners

In addition to protecting mobile homeowners through chapter 723 Florida statutes 2018, the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes also offers mediation services for homeowners involved in a dispute with mobile home park owners. Either the mobile homeowner or the park owner can contact the division to file a dispute and request these services.

At the appointed date, both parties will meet with the appointed mediator to discuss the dispute. The mediator will then notify the division within 10 days that the meeting has concluded. The mediation process requires a $250 filing fee, paid to the mediator by each party. Alternatively, the parties can bring their own mediator, who will follow the rules of procedure used by the division.

Moving the Home

The best thing about a mobile home is that it can be moved if necessary. Under mobile home laws in Florida, though, you may be limited in where you can move. The state has restrictions on moving older mobile homes, but these vary by county. At the very least, you may be required to have an inspection before making the move, so it’s important to check first.

Mobile home parks are allowed to charge an entrance fee for every new mobile home coming in. However, the state restricts how many times this entrance fee, which should be clearly outlined in the prospectus, can be charged. If a mobile home moves from one lot on your property to another, for instance, you can’t charge a new entrance fee.

Forced Moves Within the Park

From time to time, it may become necessary to relocate a trailer within your park. If that happens, the Florida Mobile Home Relocation Corporation may have those moving expenses covered. The move needs to be connected to a change in the use of the land, with full compliance with Chapter 723 in other areas.

The Florida Mobile Home Relocation Corporation was created to represent mobile homeowners within the state. This corporation provides financial assistance to homeowners in need. It has a full board of officers that meet regularly to discuss how to protect the interests of Florida’s mobile homeowners.

Selling the Mobile Home Park

Eventually, a mobile home park may find it’s time to go up for sale. Unfortunately, when that happens, chances are it will have a park full of renters who will suddenly find themselves without a place to park. It is the responsibility of the park owners to let the homeowners’ association know as soon as possible that such a sale is in the future.

Before selling the park to a third-party buyer, the mobile home park owner must give the tenants living there the opportunity to purchase the park. This can be contingent on a contract being in place within 45 days. If such a contract isn’t in place at that time, the park owner has no further obligations to the homeowners’ association unless the price drops, at which point the HOA must be notified and allowed to make an offer based on that new price.

Resident-Owned Mobile Home Park

Whether you’re a property owner from the start or you buy a park out while leasing there, it’s important to note that resident-owned mobile home parks follow different rules. There are two main types of resident-owned mobile home parks:

  • Mobile home subdivisions – In this situation, each mobile homeowner owns the lot on which his home resides. This emulates the setup of a traditional subdivision, where each lot is occupied by someone who purchased both the home and the land.
  • Mobile home cooperative – Cooperatives have each homeowner owning shares in the corporation that owns the mobile home park.

Chapter 719 of the Florida statutes recognizes all types of real property cooperatives in Florida, including those relating to mobile home parks. Chapter 720 governs homeowners associations in the state. Once a mobile homeowner finds herself in this situation, these are the two statutes to follow.