A mobile or manufactured home park owner in New York state must comply with a variety of laws regarding how the park is built, permitted and operated. Parks must also comply with the requirements of Section 233 of New York State’s Real Property Law, known as the "Manufactured Home Owners Bill of Rights," which covers the renting of mobile homes to tenants.
Applying for a Mobile Home Park Permit
A permit is required to operate a mobile home in New York state. The park owner applies for this permit at the county health department where the park is located. Permits apply to parks with at least five mobile homes and where the owner or operator is compensated for the use of the mobile home park. The county inspects parks annually to make sure they are compliant.
Application for a permit to operate a mobile home park must be filed at least 30 days before the first day of its operation. If there is an intended change of a mobile home park’s operator or name, the new operator must apply for a permit before the change takes place.
In this instance, the operator is required to give written notice to the permit-issuing official within 30 days of the change. Permits are not assignable or transferable.
Issuance of a Permit in the State of New York
If a park is determined not to endanger the health or safety of its occupants or the overall public, an official issues a permit to the park on a form from the state commissioner of health. The permit expires upon an owner or operator change, upon the permit’s revocation, or by the date specified on the permit.
Maintaining a Permit
If the park violates maintenance, operation, occupation laws, is abandoned, or the permittee requests it, revocation of the permit may occur.
The permit must be posted in a conspicuous place on the park’s premises or be readily available to the permitting official request. Separate permits may be required for a pool, a beach, a camp for children, a temporary residence or a food service establishment.
The official issuing the permit can establish procedures to trade information with other government agencies responsible for the health and safety of mobile home park tenants and can use this information to determine a permit’s issuance.
Mobile Home Park Fire Safety Requirements
Buildings constructed on park-owned structures must be in accordance with New York State Building Construction Codes and its Fire Prevention Code. Homes built after June 15, 1976 that fail to meet the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Mobile Home Construction and Safety Standard may not be installed in a park.
Mobile homes and accessory structures that are put in place after this date must also have a distance of separation of at least 10 feet from other structures.
Rules for a Park’s Water Supply
The park owner is responsible for installing and maintaining a park’s utilities, in accordance with state and local laws. They are also responsible for connecting these utilities to each home.
New York law requires an adequate quantity of drinking water with a level of quality that is approved by the permit-issuing official and which is readily available to the park’s occupants. Occupants must not have access to nonpotable water.
Water Pipes and Valves
A three-quarter-inch riser pipe must be installed on each site and have at least 20 pounds psi of water pressure at all times. Sites must be connected to a service box that has a shut-off valve and is installed below the frost line. Surface water must divert from the connection, and the riser pipe must have a watertight seal when it is not connected to a mobile home.
Park operators are responsible for maintaining the riser pipe and shut-off valve, unless the occupant has been made responsible for the riser pipe via a formal written agreement. The agreement must be available for review by the official that issued the permit.
Rules for a Mobile Park’s Sewage System
The park must provide and maintain a system for the treatment and disposal of sewage. Facilities must be constructed, designed and maintained according to the Departments of Health or Environmental Conservation. Construction of new or modified sewage facilities cannot begin without approval unless the agency with jurisdiction gives approval to the operator in writing.
The construction must be according to approved plans. Each site must have a minimum 4-inch sewage pipe below ground and a 4-inch riser pipe. It must also have a non-collapsible and semirigid connecting pipe from the home to the riser pipe that is a minimum 3-inch in diameter. These connections must be watertight.
The riser pipe must have a watertight seal when it is not connected to a mobile home. Inadequately treated sewage on the ground’s surface is prohibited. Park operators are responsible for maintaining the sewage system and riser pipe, unless the occupant has been made responsible for the riser pipe through a formal written agreement, which must be available for review by the official issuing the permit.
Additional Utilities in Mobile Home Parks
Electrical systems, including a mobile home’s service equipment and feeder assembly, and oil and gas systems must operate in accordance with state and local regulations.
Park operators are responsible for maintaining these systems unless the occupant has been made responsible in a formal written agreement, which must be available for review by the official issuing the permit.
Park Size and Mobile Home Stands
Every site at a new or existing park shall be at least 5,000 square feet. A mobile home’s stand must provide adequate support for the home’s placement and anchoring according to accepted standards. It cannot heave, shift or settle under a home’s weight due to frost, inadequate drainage, vibration, wind or any other force.
The stand must prevent water from ponding under or around a mobile home. A local or state law may require anchoring systems, which the park’s operator is responsible for properly installing.
The operator is also responsible for keeping all facilities on the property in good working order and repair. Additional facilities include those for grounds, roadways, appliances or equipment used for a mobile home park’s operation.
Requirements for Trash and Pests
A mobile home park in New York state must have facilities that are adequate and sanitary for the temporary collection, handling, storage and disposal of trash. Mobile home park trash treatment, processing, and disposal facilities must meet the State Commissioner of Environmental Conservation’s requirements.
If the operator does not provide trash pick up, occupants are responsible for transporting refuse to the park’s trash storage area; they are also responsible for maintaining and storing their own refuse before disposing of it.
The park’s buildings, structures and grounds must be maintained to control infestations of insects and rodents. Extermination and other measures to control these pests must comply with the requirements of the agency with jurisdiction.
Requirements for Weeds and Toxins
The park operator must control the growth of ragweed, poison ivy, oak, sumac and other poisonous weeds according to requirements of the agency with jurisdiction. If such weeds are present only on a single site, their elimination is the responsibility of the occupants of that site.
Pesticides and other toxic chemicals cannot be stored in a location accessible to residents. These must be used as directed on their packaging and in accordance with requirements of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Toxins must be stored in a way that they do not pollute the air, surface water or groundwater.
Operator Duties at a Mobile Home Park
The owner of a mobile park must put a responsible and suitable person in place to run it. When the park is occupied, this person must be readily available. They must comply with the permit’s requirements and allow the issuing official or their representative onto the mobile home park’s premises at any reasonable time.
The park operator is also responsible for managing traffic to preclude hazards to people or other vehicles and to ensure easy access to the park by emergency vehicles at all times. The operator is also responsible for immediately reporting fires on the property, interruption in the treatment of the drinking water’s supply, and inadequately treated sewage on the ground’s surface.
Temporary Permit for Mobile Home Park
If a mobile home park doesn’t meet permitting requirements, the official issuing a permit may issue the park operator a temporary one if the park operator meets specific conditions. To get a permanent permit, the operator must file a statement of intention to comply with the necessary state and local requirements within 90 days.
There can be no adverse effects on park occupants’ health or safety or that of others during that period.
The temporary permit will state the conditions, terms and requirements under which the mobile home park may operate. The permit will expire on the date the permit-issuing official designates, but not later than 90 days after the issuance date.
Tenant/Landlord Laws for Mobile Home Parks
State law covers tenant/landlord relationships in mobile home parks. Section 233 of New York State Real Property Law governs tenancy in mobile home parks and limits the amount by which a park owner can increase a tenant’s home lot rent, fees or utilities.
Rent can only be increased by 3 percent in most cases, but it can be up to 6 percent with a “justifiable” reason, such as operating expenses, property taxes or capital improvement costs relating to the park.
This law also states:
- Owners must offer a one-year lease and have the obligation to renew the leases of all tenants in good standing.
- Tenants do not have to buy their home or any equipment or services from the park owner.
- Tenants may use contractors of their own choosing to repair and maintain their homes.
- Tenants must have 90-days' notice of new fees or changes.
- If a tenant violates park rules, the owner must give them written notice of these violations and 10 days to correct them.
Renting to Own Manufactured Housing in NY State
Tenants entering into a rent-to-own agreement with an owner must receive a contract from that owner that includes:
- Terms of the contract.
- Fees, rent or additional charges due during the life of the contract.
- Mobile home’s fair market value.
- Responsibility of owner for repairs and improvements during that period.
- Rider setting out tenant’s rights.
- Statement that until transfer of the property occurs, the tenant is renting the home, and the owner is responsible for keeping it in habitable condition. The owner must state that they will make all major repairs and improvements on the home and keep the tenant free from dangerous conditions that could impact their health and safety.
The tenant is entitled to an annual itemized account of the payments they make toward ownership. If their lease is terminated, the owner must return the rent-to-own payments in addition to any sums paid for the rental of the lot and home.
Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. She holds a B.A. in Communications and English from Niagara University.