Mobile homes can be substantially less expensive than traditional houses because they are constructed in a factory rather than built on-site. A mobile home, also referred to as "manufactured housing," may not be very "mobile" once it is installed on a site. A mobile home owner can be in the odd position of owning his or her home but renting the land upon which it sits if the home is located in a mobile home, or manufactured housing, park. Manufactured housing parks straddle a complex intersection of statute, common law, culture, zoning laws, and economics. Legal questions involving manufactured housing parks can be complicated because of competing, and seemingly irreconcilable, legal doctrines. The purpose of this section is to outline the New Hampshire statute that regulates manufactured housing parks.
RSA 205-A defines a manufactured housing park as any parcel of land under common ownership or control that contains, or is designed to contain, two or more manufactured housing units such as mobile homes. Owners and operators of manufactured housing parks are prohibited from:
In addition, owners and operators of manufactured housing parks must:
The law also outlines the legally allowable reasons for eviction from a mobile home park. Park residents have specified periods of time available to them to "correct" the reason for the eviction. Before a tenant can be legally evicted from a manufactured housing park, the resident must be notified that she or he has:
Park owners are required to fully disclose to a prospective tenant in writing all rent, and utility and service charges before the tenant signs the lease agreement. Once the lease agreement is signed, rents and fees cannot be increased without a minimum of 60 days written notice to the tenant.
The New Hampshire Board of Manufactured Housing (the Board) can also be a significant source of protection for manufactured housing park tenants. The Board provides a low-cost and efficient alternative to the Courts for a wide range of tenant grievances. The Board is an administrative panel made up of housing park tenants, owners, two member of the NH House of Representatives, and a consumer representative, empowered to "hear and determine" disputes between park tenants and management concerning illegal or unreasonable park rules. The Board conducts informal evidentiary hearings and makes decisions, which are reviewed by the Superior Court, and can be adopted as enforceable court orders. The Board's jurisdiction extends to all of the prohibited practices listed in RSA 205-A: 2, 7 and 8. The Board does not, however, have authority to hear matters directly involving rent increases or evictions, nor can it rule on health and safety issues. These matters must be dealt with in district court. Information about the Board, its rules, as well as complaint forms, can be found at the Board's Web site.
New Hampshire's Landlord-Tenant Law (RSA 540) also generally applies to mobile home parks (for more information on this statute, refer to Renting, Security Deposits and Evictions). Park residents have the right to enforce their rights to live in a safe and healthy environment in accordance with state and local health codes. Furthermore, mobile home park residents have special rights and protections if the park is sold.
Points To Remember
Where To Go If You Have A Problem
Contact the NH Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau if you have a problem with a mobile home or other manufactured housing park:
NH Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau
33 Capitol Street
Concord, NH 03301-6397
You may also find the Manufactured Home Owners and Tenants Association (MOTA) to be a valuable resource:
PO Box 998
Concord, NH 03302-0998
The Board of Manufactured Housing will accept complaints involving manufactured housing park rules, excluding rent and eviction issues:
Board of Manufactured Housing
117 Pleasant Street, Dolloff Bldg., Room 418
Concord, NH 03301
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New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301