Mobile home park manager harassment is a significant potential problem for tenants. Unfortunately, it can be a scary and stressful experience with difficult consequences for tenants, particularly if they don’t know how to deal with the problem.
Many people feel at the mercy of park managers. That’s why we’re covering the issue in this article. First, we’ll look at what constitutes harassment, and then we’ll see what you can do about it.
What constitutes mobile home park manager harassment?
In terms of legal considerations, harassment can be defined as continued or systematic unwanted actions of one party towards another party. Generally, the purpose and nature of the activities can vary widely, and you can find harassment in any situation from workplaces to personal relationships.
Typically, in the case of a mobile home park, it will be related in some way to your lot rental agreement. The manager will usually direct the actions towards you in terms of your and your household’s comfort and safety – or that of your property.
For example, when it comes to a mobile home park manager, they might be trying to extort a tenant to receive money. And to achieve this, the offending party might resort to threats of unfair eviction if you don’t pay penalties.
Mostly, when it comes to landlord or park manager harassment, landlords or managers are trying to create intentionally uncomfortable conditions to get people to choose to withdraw from their rental contracts willingly.
Doing this can help them avoid legal penalties or other issues related to eviction.
So you can see that two essential parts of harassment are that the actions are unwanted by one party and that the issue is systematic or continuous.
Down below, we’ll look at some of the common forms that mobile home park manager harassment takes. But there are many more – like sexual, discriminatory, and online. If you want more general information on the issue, take a look here.
Types of harassment
- You, any member of your household, or your guests could be denied access to the property without reasonable cause.
- Occasionally, the party could try to withhold information or documents and delay processes like sales.
- The manager or staff could resort to deliberately defacing or damaging your property or fixtures and facilities that you’ve rented.
- One of the more severe forms is if they use threats or intimidation directed towards the tenant or their household. These could be related to physical or financial injury.
- The manager could withhold repairs or maintenance to the property or rented facilities. Examples of this can be neglecting to landscape or not collecting garbage.
- One of the prevalent forms is repeated verbal complaints about imagined or exaggerated improper conduct of the tenant. This applies when they are false, misleading, or unreasonable.
- Generally, a landlord – or in this case a manager – is only allowed to enter the property with dire cause and when they have given sufficient notice. Therefore, one form of harassment is entering without a suitable reason, without notice, or not in an emergency.
- In some cases, the manager might disconnect your lot or mobile home from the water supply or other services without sufficient notice.
- The offending party could repeatedly and inappropriately bother the tenant about rent not paid or not paid in full.
- Another form of harassment is if the manager tries to make the tenants uncomfortable by creating a nuisance. Often this is done through making loud noises and not leaving tenants in peace.
- The offender could attempt to remove your property from the park without your permission and knowledge.
- Retaliation, especially retaliatory eviction, is another major issue.
- Lastly, the manager could resort to criminal activity directed against the tenant.
10 Things you can do about mobile home park manager harassment
One of the crucial things to keep in mind is that each case is unique. In some cases, it can, unfortunately, be tough to stop unwanted actions or prevent any future misconduct. Sometimes it can be even more challenging to get recompensed for the injury caused to you (whatever form it might take).
Many of your options depend on the contents and nature of the rental agreement that you signed. You will be able to pursue different kinds of actions based on this too.
When you sign the contract, you agree to elements that often lay out rules of conduct.
Did you agree to certain reasonable consequences for your actions? Have any of your own actions breached the terms? Or have the actions of the manager or other staff members done the same?
Therefore, you should never enter into any formal agreement lightly and without consideration.
Throughout the country, the different legal jurisdictions have different policies and laws in place to protect tenants in mobile home parks. Therefore, this will also play a role.
1 – Keep documents safe
Mobile home park managers who use dubious methods to dubious ends will often use your rental agreement against you. But remember, fair contracts are usually set up to protect all the parties involved.
For this reason and others, you should keep all the related documents safe. You really don’t want to lose these papers or allow them to be accidentally damaged. If possible, we recommend that you make copies and store them digitally and even keep one offsite.
2 – Collect evidence
Preferably, you should be conscientious with your admin and note-keeping throughout your rental period. Any documents or conversations between you and the mobile home park manager can serve as evidence and be useful to take action.
For this reason, you want to keep the following:
- Receipts of any payments made in including monthly rental fees
- Notes or records of any significant conversations
- Written notices or complaints
Generally, you will want to have some sort of written proof of any communication between you and the manager. If the conversations took place verbally, it could help to send an email or letter to confirm what you discussed or ask the manager to instead communicate with you in this way.
Aside from this, you should keep a record of the date at which incidents or conversations occurred.
For example, in one case, a tenant claimed that the manager served them with a notice to quit as retaliation. She had complained that the offending party was deliberately neglecting repairs to the fence on their lot.
Taking note of the dates helped her case because the manager served the notice a mere day after this.
3 – Call the police
Whenever the manager or the manager’s agents commit a crime against you, you must contact the police. You can open a case against the offender, and the appropriate actions will then be taken. Ideally, you should do this as soon as possible.
4 – Educate yourself
One of the best ways to protect you and your household from any type of abuse is to educate yourself. You need to know what you’re talking about and what constitutes misconduct on the part of either party.
Areas of knowledge that you have to investigate are:
- The laws and policies in your jurisdiction that pertain to mobile homes and mobile home parks specifically.
- Find out about your rights as a tenant.
- Make sure that you fully understand your rental contract and everything that it entails.
- Keep up to date with any changes in the rules and regulations of the park.
5 – File a lawsuit
Overall, it can be extremely challenging and, at times, even impossible to file a lawsuit against the park or the manager. You can face legal issues. And the process can also be expensive, stressful, and time-consuming.
Your first step should be to contact a lawyer or your local legal aid. They can give you professional advice on how to proceed if you should proceed at all.
Here are some cases where the actions of the manager can be the basis of a lawsuit:
- A form of extortion or blackmail is involved.
- There was discrimination on the basis of sex or race involved.
- Eviction was unlawful and unfair.
6 – Stick to the rules
Clearly, you should try to always follow the rules of any fair and reasonable contract that you sign. True, this might not be enough to avoid mobile home park manager harassment. But it can significantly reduce the chances of running into trouble.
Plus, if you already have issues, breaking the rules won’t help. So try to uphold your end of the bargain, whether that includes payments or maintenance or other commitments.
Remember, the manager might be able to use any misconduct of yours against you.
One example of this is rent. Commonly, rent is considered late on the 5th day after it was due. Once this grace period has passed, the park can serve you with a three-day notice to pay or quit.
If you don’t settle the account during this time, they can begin the process to evict you, and you will have no option or recourse.
7 – Join an advocacy group
The well-known saying is true. There is strength in numbers.
Experts recommend that you join a group with related interests if you are dealing with a troublesome manager. One reason for this is that the group will probably give you more information and advise you on measures you can take.
Another is that your chances of success will be much higher if there are more of you campaigning for the same issue.
Search for and affiliate yourself with the local homeowner’s organization or groups that advocate for mobile homeowners’ interests. If you can’t find one and have the time and knowledge, you can start one yourself.
8 – Contact the owner
Is the manager the owner of the park?
Luckily, the manager often doesn’t own the park or is at least subject to the authority of a board of directors or some similar governing structure. So it’s critical that you do your research. If the manager isn’t the final authority, it could be a good idea to go over the manager’s head.
Take your complaints and concerns to the owner. He or she could potentially help you to fix the issues.
9 – Relocate
Unfortunately, sometimes the cards are stacked against you. If you can’t do anything to stop the harassment and you can’t tolerate it, it might be best to move. It’s key that you do this by sticking to the proper procedures to avoid any future repercussions.
Of course, we know this may not be your preference for several reasons.
First, the park could be in an ideal location for you, like being close to your job.
Second, you might enjoy all other aspects of the park, and these benefits outweigh the costs for you.
Third, you may be unable or unwilling to move your mobile home. Transportation can be risky, and your property can be harmed in the process. Therefore, your house might be too old or otherwise unsuited for this.
However, despite these considerations, you may find that the benefits of moving outweigh the drawbacks. If you do decide to move, make sure that you thoroughly research the new park or location you’re moving too. Undoubtedly, you don’t want to move – only to then be faced with similar troubles.
10 – Do nothing
This last solution might be one of the hardest and one of the most unpopular options. However, many people find that this is the best choice for them. As we’ve said, it can be extremely difficult to prevent mobile home park manager harassment. And even more challenging to prosecute.
Therefore, you might find it easier to ignore the issue, uphold your responsibilities, and ride it out.
But we must stress that this isn’t possible in some cases. It is only really viable if the situation isn’t causing harm or injury to you or your property and if you don’t suspect it will. Plus, it’s also only possible if it’s at a level you can tolerate.
Working with professionals
Facing mobile home park manager harassment can be an incredibly unpleasant and even harmful experience. It is a situation that no one wants to deal with. That’s why it’s important that you always make sound decisions and try to work with reputable professionals in the industry.
Mobile home owners and park managers should work together to promote a safe environment. To keep you and your property safe as a home owner, take a look at The Complete Outdoor Safety Checklist For Your Mobile Home This Fall. And both mobile home dwellers and park managers can check out Mobile Home Community Management For A Safe, Friendly Environment.