Manufactured Home Parks
A park “rule” is any rental agreement provision, regulation, rule, or policy established by a park owner to control or affect the behavior of residents. There are proper rules and unreasonable rules:
Under Minnesota law, park leases, rules, and regulations must:
- Be written in plain language.
- Be reasonable. A “reasonable rule” is one that:
- Promotes the convenience and safety of the residents. It also promotes the good appearance and efficient operation of the park, protects the park premises, and fairly distributes services and facilities.
- Relates to the purpose for which it is adopted.
- Is not retaliatory or discriminatory in nature.
- Informs residents of acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
Unreasonable rules are not allowed. Unreasonable rules include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Prohibiting a resident from putting a reasonably-sized “for sale” sign on their home.
- Requiring a resident to use the services of a particular dealer or broker for an in-park sale.
- Requiring a resident or prospective resident to buy goods or services from a particular vendor—including the park owner.
- Requiring more than one occupant of a home to have an ownership interest in that home.
Changes to Park Rules
A park can change or modify its rules, but the law requires that:
- The park give residents 60 days written notice before the changes take effect.
- All changes be reasonable.
- Any new rule that “substantially modifies” previous policies can only be enforced against new residents.
Substantial Modifications to Park Rules
A substantial modification is a rule change that:
- Significantly diminishes or eliminates the park owner’s material obligations.
- Significantly limits residents’ rights, privileges, or freedom of action.
- Involves a significant new expense for a resident.
If a new rule does not “substantially modify” a rule that was in effect when a resident signed a lease, the new rule is enforceable.
The following rule change is an example of a substantial modification:
- A security deposit increase.
The following are examples of rule changes that are not substantial modifications:
- A reasonable rent increase with 60 days written notice and no more than two rent increases in 12 months. (A reasonable rent increase is not a “rule” by definition.)
- A rule change required by government action.
- A rule change requiring all residents to maintain their homes, sheds, and other property in good repair and safe condition.
- A rule change requiring total replacement of a resident’s home, shed, or other property if repair is impractical, and total replacement is necessary.
A park may attempt to evict a resident for violating a new or amended rule. A court may consider the following factors when deciding if a new rule is a substantial modification or not:
- Any new circumstances that have occurred since the original rule was adopted that make a rule change necessary.
- Any new benefits that residents receive because of the rule change.
If a court finds the rule reasonable, and not a substantial modification of the original agreement, the court will order the resident to comply with the rule within ten days. If the resident does not comply, or violates the rule again, the resident may be evicted. (Click here for eviction information.)
Parks cannot make rules that unreasonably conflict with the following rights of residents:
Privacy of a resident’s home.
A park’s owner or employees may only enter a resident’s home to respond to an emergency or to prevent damage to the manufactured home park.
The park owner or employees may come onto a manufactured home park rental lot to inspect the lot, to supply necessary or agreed upon goods, services, or repairs, or to show the lot to buyers, residents, workers, contractors, or mortgagees.
Except in the case of an emergency, the park owner or employees cannot come onto a lot at unreasonable times, or in a way that unreasonably disrupts the resident’s use and enjoyment of the lot.
Guests and additions to a household.
The park cannot require a resident to pay a fee for guests or additions to the household.
The park can set reasonable limits on the number of people who may permanently live in a manufactured home if the limit is reasonably related to the home’s size and the number of rooms it contains.
Freedom of expression.
The park cannot prohibit a resident or anyone else from peacefully organizing, assembling, canvassing, or distributing leaflets in the park for non-commercial purposes. But, just like a municipality, the park can set reasonable limits on the time, place, and manner of these activities. Also, the park can prohibit commercial activities in the park, such as selling products door-to-door.