Manufactured Home Parks
Duties of the Park Owner and Manager
Park owners and their designated managers must perform specific duties required by state law. Duties include being licensed, complying with state law and local ordinances, and properly maintaining the park.
A manufactured home park owner must have a license from the Minnesota Department of Health. This license must be conspicuously displayed in the office of the manufactured home park.
A park owner or manager must apply for this license and the Department of Health must inspect the manufactured home park and grant a license if all requirements are met.
If the Commissioner of the Department of Health denies a license application, the park owner or manager may appeal the decision. The person who is appealing the decision must request a hearing by notifying the Commissioner within 20 days after receipt of notice of the proposed denial of the license.
Compliance with Health Regulations
The Department of Health has adopted rules governing manufactured home parks, Minnesota Rules chapter 4630. The Department of Health has the authority to enforce these rules and related statutes according to the Health Enforcement Consolidation Act. If a person is injured, or threatened with injury because a health or safety rule is violated, the person may contact the Department of Health to file a complaint. The Department of Health can require the park to comply, or assist the park in correcting the violation. An injured person may also file a private lawsuit.
An owner or attendant must maintain the park, facilities, and equipment. If the park contains more than 50 lots, the park owner or the attendant must be available at all times in case of emergency.
Storm Shelters and Evacuation
Storm shelters or evacuation plans provide residents with access to safe shelter in cases of bad weather. Storm shelter plans vary depending on the size of a park and when the park was originally licensed.
Parks with fewer than ten homes must provide either a shelter on the premises or a plan for evacuation to a nearby shelter. The plan or shelter should be developed with the assistance and approval of the park’s local municipality.
Parks with ten or more homes, licensed prior to March 1, 1988, must provide either a shelter on the premises or evacuation plans to a storm shelter close to the park. The shelter or evacuation plan must have been approved by the park’s local municipality by March 1, 1989, and a copy submitted to the Department of Health. The park owner must give all residents a copy of the evacuation or shelter plan. Parks with ten or more homes, licensed after March 1, 1988, must provide a storm shelter within the park.
Shelters constructed after March 1, 1988, must comply with the state building code. The Department of Labor and Industry enforces the state’s building code and has jurisdiction over the proper construction of storm shelters. The Department of Health has jurisdiction over whether the shelter or shelter plan is adequate to meet the needs of park residents.
Drains, Water Supply, and Lots
Manufactured home parks must be well drained and have an adequate supply of safe water. The park must make sure homes are properly placed within the park, and the lots are divided correctly.
Residents of a manufactured home park are generally afforded the rights of residential tenants under Minnesota law. Likewise, residents in a manufactured home park may form a “resident association,” which is organized for the purpose of resolving matters relating to living conditions in the manufactured home park.
In most situations, a tenant or resident association may request that the Minnesota Department of Health conduct an inspection for code violations. Thereafter, the inspector must notify the tenant or resident association in writing of any code violations, and provide the park with a reasonable period of time to correct the violations. If the violations are not corrected, a tenant or resident association may bring an action in district court in the county where the violation exists. The owner must be informed in writing at least 14 days before the tenant or resident association may take action. In general, the issues raised in the complaint will be heard by a court without a jury approximately 7 to 14 days after the action has been filed. If the court finds that a violation has not been remedied, the court may issue an order requiring corrective action, as well as including a judgment against the owner for reasonable attorney’s fees, not to exceed $500.
If the violation is a case of emergency (i.e., loss of running water, hot water, heat, electricity, sanitary facilities, or other essential services), then a resident or resident association can file an emergency relief proceeding. The resident or resident association must make reasonable efforts to notify the owner of the emergency relief proceeding at least 24 hours in advance.