AMHRO Association of Manufactured Home Residents in Ohio
Manufactured Home Living

Contents on this Page

How to Do We Increase Attendance to Our Meetings?

Things You Can Do Before Renting in a Manufactured Home Community

Read This! Leases/Rental Agreement

What to Watch for in Leases

Terminating a Rental Agreement

Rent Increases and Late Charges

Rent Deposit (Escrow) Requirements

Eviction Information

Eviction Process

Getting Repairs

Do You Own Your Home?

Ohio Law: What the Operator Must/Cannot Do

                     What the Resident Must Do

Relationships

When You Want to Move Out

Who Can Help?

 

How Do We Get People to Attend Our Resident Association Meetings? 

This is a question we are often asked. It seems that many communities the resident association takes on little meaning or generates only minimal interest from the folks. Here are some things that every association can do to increase attendance at their meetings:

1.)  Hold your meetings at a convenient time and place. Hold the meetings on the same day each month. This way folks can plan their schedules ahead of time.

2.)  Make the meetings fun. Serve refreshments. Hold a raffle. Give door prizes. Invite   speakers. Use a flyer to formally invite everyone in the community. People are more likely to come if they know the meeting will be interesting and that they are needed.    

3.)  Plan an agenda and, if possible, distribute it with the flyer announcing the meeting.

4.)  Keep the tone of meeting focused and upbeat. Don’t foster controversy. Consider

establishing a telephone bank to remind people of the meeting a few days before it is scheduled..

5.)  Keep your membership dues reasonable. Most associations charge from $5 -$15 per year for membership. The amount collected is used to offset postage, office supply and other costs.

6.)  Give as many as possible something to do following the meeting: even if that something is only telling those who did not come how interesting it was and why they are needed at the next one.

7.)  Plan activities as fundraisers. Things like bake sales, recycling drives, raffles, outings and barbeques are popular choices.

 

Things You Can Do Before Renting in a Manufactured Home Community

1.)  Check with the local health department for the record of the annual inspection of the facilities.

2.)  Talk to other residents about the community. Ask for a copy of the lease and their Rules and Regulations to review before agreeing to rent in the community.

3.)  Ask questions about everything.

 

Leases/Rental Agreements - - - Ohio Law Calls a Lease a Rental

    Oral agreements are not recommended!

Operators are required to offer written leases to every owner before they move into the community.  At the present time, there is no requirement for written leases for tenants.

     All rules and fees must be disclosed in writing and cannot be changed without thirty days’ notice.  (A new lease may contain changes).

    You are only required to acknowledge the rules and fees that are in writing. Every lease should contain the following:

1.)  A description of the property.

2.)  The rent, fees and charges, any late payment of rent charges.

3.)  Duration of the lease.  

4.)  Rules of the community.

5.)  Notice requirements to terminate the lease

 

What to Watch for in Leases and Rules 

1.)  Length of the lease (owners must be offered an annual lease prior to moving in and a new lease when one expires).

2.)  A clause that places the blame on you for any dispute with the operator or releases the operator from responsibility for injuries to you or your guests.

3.)  A provision in which you give up your right to a trial.

4.)  An agreement to pay the operator’s legal fees.

5.)  Anything that permits the operator to take unfair advantage of you, such as requiring that he/she automatically keeps your security deposit.

6.)  A provision that allows the operator to seize your personal property for non-payment of rent.

7.)  Provisions that allow the operator to cut off your utilities, padlock the home, or raise your rent if you complain to a government agency about the community, the operator, or if you try organizing a residents' association.

8.)  Provision that forces the tenant to continue to pay rent on a home that is destroyed by fire, tornado or other disaster.

9.)  Be sure you understand the Lease and the Rules.

          WARNING:  Even though these unlawful clauses may not be legally binding, you may be forced to go to court to protect your rights.  It is better to try to remove them before you sign a lease.

Terminating a Rental Agreement 

    Either a landlord or tenant may terminate a month-to-month agreement by giving a full 30 days’ notice to the other party. The 30 days begin on the next rental due date and runs with the rental period.

   A written rental agreement (lease) normally specifies the method of termination or renewal. If termination or renewal is not specified, then the agreement ends on the date in the agreement.

   A landlord may give a tenant a notice that the tenant is not complying with a requirement imposed on the tenant by the Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law which materially affects health and safety and advising the tenant that the rental agreement will end in 30 days. If the tenant corrects the condition, then the rental agreement will be terminated.

   A tenant may give a landlord a notice to comply with a duty imposed by the Ohio Landlord-Tenant law which materially affects the health and safety and requesting correction within 30 days. If the landlord fails to correct the condition, then the tenant may end the rental agreement.

   If a tenant breaks a lease by moving when the lease is up, or if a tenant has had a lease terminated because the tenant is in violation of the law, the tenant may be held liable under the agreement until the unit is rented again.

 

Rent Increases and Late Charges

  Under a month-to-month agreement, the landlord must give 30 days notice before increasing the rent. In the case of a written lease, the landlord may not Increase the rent during the term of the lease. There is no rent control in Ohio.

  Because the Ohio Landlord Tenant Law does not cover late charges, late charges may be included in a rental agreement, but they may not be “unconscionable” (unfair). Recent court decisions suggest that late fees should be reasonably related to the actual damages that a landlord suffers because of late payment of rent.

 

Rent Deposit (Escrow) Requirements

  The tenant must be current in his/her rent before depositing rent with the Clerk of Courts. The tenant may not deposit rent in “bad faith” or for a condition which the tenant caused. The tenant may not just hold onto the rent.

   Rent deposits must be made on or before the normal rent due date. Tenants should check with their local Clerk of Courts to find the exact procedures used in their court.

   If a tenant receives a written notice from the landlord at the beginning of the tenancy which states that the landlord owns 3 or fewer units, then the tenant is barred from taking legal action under the Ohio Landlord Tenant Law.

  If the landlord fails to disclose his/her name and address and the name and address of his/her agents, then the landlord gives up right to a notice before the tenant takes legal action.

 

Evictions

  A landlord may bring an eviction action against a tenant when the tenant has: 1). Failed to pay rent on time. 2). Occupied the unit after the termination or expiration of the rental agreement.

  To bring an eviction action, the landlord must first serve a 3-day notice to vacate the premises in person, by mail or at the premises. If the tenant does not move within the 3-day period, then the landlord must file an action (Forcible Entry and Detainer) at the court in the city where the property is located. The court will schedule a hearing and the tenant will receive a summons and complaint at least 10 days before the hearing.

  At the hearing, the landlord and tenant will present evidence in support and defense of the eviction action. A tenant may raise the issue of bad conditions as a defense or a counterclaim at the eviction hearing. If an eviction is ordered, the landlord will make arrangements with the court to have the tenant’s belongings removed from the unit if the tenant does not move.

   Local procedures may vary. Check with your municipal court or an attorney.

 

Eviction: Second Cause of Action

At the time of eviction, the landlord may also file a “second cause of action” to recover money damages. The tenant may answer the claim for money within 28 days of receiving the complaint in the mail. If the tenant fails to answer the complaint, the court may issue a default judgment in the landlord’s favor without holding a hearing. A default judgment will stop the tenant from later objecting to a landlord’s claim.

Eviction Process

   The most common reason for the filing of an eviction is for non-payment of rent. That constitutes about 90%. The other 10% includes illegal drugs, illegal occupants, and numerous lease violations; i.e. trash issues, disturbing the quiet enjoyment, not cleaning up after pets, destruction of property, working on vehicles, etc.

  Here are the steps that are taken. The first step is to give the resident a notice to vacate, which is a 3 day notice.  It states that the resident has 3 days to vacate the premises or legal action will be taken.

  If the resident comes to the office and is willing to discuss the issues at hand, they may try to work out a payment arrangement that has specific dates and amounts that are to be paid. This payment plan MUST be kept. If not, the next step is to file with the courts without any further communication with the resident.

  All paperwork is forwarded to the attorney. This includes supporting documents, such as the lease, the application and the resident ledger along with any warnings to the resident they may have had which would contribute to the filing.

  The attorney takes the paperwork to the court and a date established for the resident to appear. Then a bailiff from the court or a sheriff’s deputy posts the notice on the resident’s door.  Some people show up in court but most do not.

   At the hearing the judge asks if the resident is past due on rent. If those representing the community owner respond by answering “Yes,” he awards the judgment to them. He then establishes a date when the resident is to vacate the premises. On that date if they are still residing in their unit, the bailiff of the court is contacted. A time is set with him to come to the address in question. If he arrives and confirms that the residents are there or not, he will stay until any and all belongings of that resident are removed from the address. All personal items are placed in bags and set out on the curb.

  The locks are changed and then the fun begins. In the case where the resident is not present but his possessions are, they are removed and set on the curb. They are free for the taking. An entire apartment of belongings can be gone within 30 minutes of the departure of the bailiff and maintenance staff.

  The price of an eviction is very high. The resident pays all court costs. The eviction, once filed, becomes public record. Therefore, an eviction may cause problems for the resident to rent elsewhere, purchase a vehicle, obtain credit, etc.

   It only makes common sense that an eviction from a home should be avoided at all costs.

  

Getting Repairs

  If the landlord does not do the following: 1). Meet the duties imposed by the Landlord Tenant Law. 2). The local housing codes. 3). The rental agreement. 4). Conditions which materially affect the health and safety issues, then a tenant may give the landlord a written notice to correct the condition.

   This notice must be in writing and delivered to the person or at the place where the tenant normally pays rent. The tenant should keep a copy of this notice.

   If the landlord fails to correct the condition within a reasonable amount of time, not to exceed 30 days, then the tenant may do the following: Deposit his/her rent with the Clerk of Courts. 2). May apply to the court for an order to complete the repairs. 3). May terminate the rental agreement.

 

Do you own your home?

If you own the home located in a Manufactured Home Community you are not covered  under the Ohio landlord/tenant law.

 

What the Law Says an Operator Must Do

   Whether you have a written lease or not, the operator has legal obligations that he/she must perform.  For example, the operator must:

   Comply with all building, housing and health codes that significantly affect health     and safety.

   Manufactured home communities have health requirements concerning all of the       facilities in the community. A list may be obtained from your local health department.

   Make all repairs to the community and keep it habitable.

   Keep the community areas not related to the individual homes sanitary and safe.

   Give the residents at least 24 hours advance notice before entering the home lot.

   The law only requires that you let them come in to inspect utility connections.

 

What the Law Says an Operator Cannot Do

   Even if you are behind in paying rent, there are several things operators are not allowed to do under the law.                                                                 

   An operator cannot do anything to prevent you from taking lawful steps to get your home repaired.  The operator may not increase rent, decrease services, evict, or even threaten to evict you because you complained about needed repairs, had your home inspected by your local government housing inspector, or participated in a residents' association.

   An operator is not permitted to shut off any utilities, change the locks, or threaten any of these acts in order to make you move out of your home or community.

   An operator cannot harass you by demanding over and over to enter your home or by entering at unreasonable times of the day.

   An operator is not permitted to move your home out or remove any of your property from the home without a court order signed by a judge.

   An operator is not permitted to keep your belongings in order to try to force you to pay rent.

   WARNING:  If the operator does any of these things, consult an attorney immediately or contact your local Legal Aid office!

 

 What the Law Says a Resident Must Do

   If you do not pay your rent on time, the operator can refuse to accept your rent and evict you.

   If you must pay with cash, make sure you obtain a receipt.  Do not agree to have a receipt sent to you by mail.  If the operator does not give receipts, create one and ask your operator to sign it.

   If you pay by check or money order, keep your cancelled check or money order receipt to prove you paid the rent.

   WARNING:  Pay your rent on time.  If you do not, you risk being evicted.

  

What the Law Says a Resident Must Do

Besides paying the rent on time, you have other legal obligations as a resident. In general, you must avoid damaging the home or property of the community. Specifically, you must do the following:

1.)  Keep your home or lot safe and sanitary.

2.)  Dispose of trash and garbage properly.

   Keep all the appliances that the operator provides, in good working order.

   Keep the electrical and plumbing fixtures clean and use them properly.

Do not damage the home or lot or permit your guests to do so.

Do not disturb other residents.

Make certain that you, your family or guests, do not violate State or Federal drug laws.

 

Your Relationship with Your Operator

   By agreeing to rent your operator’s property, you are entering into a business relationship -- not a friendship.  You should:

   Treat your operator politely, respectfully.

   Do not argue.

   If something breaks, tell your operator right away.

   Write everything down and keep all receipts, including security deposits and any other payments.  Avoid paying in cash.

   Get all agreements in writing.

 

When You Want to Move Out

   When you own your own home and want to move it out, you have the right to do so. You must notify the operator and give him/her at least 30 days’ notice. If you have a lease it will tell you what the terms are for leaving. You may have penalty provisions identified in your lease. 

    There may be rules that must be observed regarding who and how the home is  moved by a truck. There may be charges for the actual costs the community incurs and/or for damages that were done in moving. If you decide to sell your home you must give the operator at least 10 days’ notice. You may use a realtor, yourself or the operator to do so. You only are required to pay the person selling your home.

    If you have a lease, you can stay until the lease expires. If you leave before the lease expires, you may have to pay some or all of the rent specified in the lease.

    Warning. The lease may automatically be renewed. You must give 7 ays’ notice if you pay rent once a week or 30 days’ notice if you pay monthly. Without proper notice the operator may keep part of your security deposit.

If things get anywhere beyond this, it is best to get legal help.

 

Who Can Help?

a. Local Legal Aide Office   1-886/529-6446

    They can give you advice and possibly represent you in court. If you have a low

    income, you may qualify for free legal assistance.

    Ohio State Legal Services Association, 555 Buttles Avenue, Columbus,  Ohio

    43215-1137  phone 614/221-7201 or  800/589-5888

b. Lawyers

    Usually you will not need a lawyer unless you go to court. If you need one, call your

    county bar association. They can refer you to an attorney.

c. Social Service Agencies

    The Local Urban League or Salvation Army may be able to advise you about your

    rights and answer questions about your problems with the operator.

d. Prevention, Retention & Contingency

    Your county welfare department may be able to help you stay in your home or help

    you move into a new home. Talk with your case worker or to an attorney.

e. Building Inspector or Health Department

    As a tenant, you can call your town or county health department (if you cannot find

    their number, call 614/466-1390) to inspect your home whenever you think repairs

    should be made. An inspection report could be good evidence to represent in court—

    even better if the inspector comes to court with you.

 

This information from the book “Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Mobile Home Park Resident” printed by Ohio State Legal Services Association.

 

Question: 

If you are looking for state laws regarding manufactured housing, where do you go? Answer: The Ohio Revised Code for manufactured home parks can be found by going to the Ohio Revised Code page on this web site or to www.codes.ohio.gov/orc/4781