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AG Campbell Releases Updated Guide to Community Law on Manufactured Homes

Boston – Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell has issued an updated Guide to Manufactured Housing Community Law (“Guide”), which provides guidance to owners, operators, and residents of manufactured housing communities regarding state laws and regulations governing manufactured housing, including the Manufactured Housing Act (“Act”) and the Attorney General’s Manufactured Housing Community Regulations (“AG’s Regulations”). The updated 2024 Guide provides additional clarifications and explanations on a range of key housing issues that the Public Prosecution Service (“AGO”) has frequently faced since the Guide was last updated in 2017.

AG Campbell announced the release of the updated guide earlier today, during a visit to a manufactured housing community in Taunton, where she met with residents and toured the community.

“As the cost of housing in Massachusetts continues to rise, manufactured housing provides sustainable and affordable housing options for some of our most vulnerable communities, including the elderly and low-income people,” said A. G. Campbell. “I am proud to release this updated guide, which provides additional clarifications that will enable residents, along with community and legal services organizations, to better understand the law, address common issues and thrive in their communities. ”

Due to the nature of manufactured home communities, in which residents often own their home but rent the lot on which their home sits from a respective community owner, residents and owners may face unique legal issues. Additionally, community owners establish their own rules to govern their individually crafted residential communities.

Accordingly, the Guide helps residents and community owners understand manufactured housing laws and regulations so they can avoid common disputes, resolve those that do arise, and, if necessary, take steps to enforce their legal rights to enforce. The Guide is regularly used by community and legal service providers, along with residents of manufactured housing communities, to understand and advocate for residents’ rights.

In addition to several other changes, the updated 2024 edition of the Guide includes the following changes and clarifications:

  • Clarifies that community owners may not deny rental applications based on a single factor, such as credit score or income level, when there is other reasonable evidence that a potential tenant has the ability to pay rent
  • Informs community owners that they must charge new residents entering their community the same rent as residents already living in the community, as long as the new residents have the same lot size and receive the same services as those already living in the community
  • Clarifies the responsibilities of community owners for the maintenance of permanent features in the community and on home sites
  • Clarifies when residents or community owners are responsible for paying for electricity, heating fuel, water and other utilities, and for maintaining the systems that provide such services
  • Clarifies the process that community owners must follow to terminate the use of a manufactured housing community
  • Provides additional information about rent control boards

You can view the updated 2024 Guide in its entirety here. A full list of substantive changes can be found on pages iv and v of the updated Guide.

The recent updates to the 2024 Guide were handled by the AG’s Division of Consumer Protection, which includes the AG’s Manufactured Housing Division.

The AG’s Office has the authority to enforce the Manufactured Housing Act and, along with the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (“EOHLC”), reviews all regulations promulgated by owners of manufactured housing communities. The AG’s Manufactured Housing Unit also regularly provides assistance, resources and information to residents and owners of manufactured housing communities.

Individuals can visit the AG’s website for more information about manufactured housing laws and regulations or to send questions regarding manufactured housing to [email protected]. The AG’s responses to frequently asked questions regarding manufactured housing communities can be viewed here.

Residents who believe they may have suffered violations of state housing laws can file a consumer complaint with the AG’s Office, which offers a voluntary dispute resolution assistance program.

The updated Guide is AG Campbell’s latest effort to advance, protect and advance housing-related rights and opportunities for everyone in the Commonwealth. Last week, AG Campbell announced the director of the Bureau’s newly established Housing Affordability Unit. The AG’s office also regularly hosts community engagement and education efforts to provide residents with resources and information about their housing-related rights.

Statements of support:

Ed Augustus, Secretary, Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities

“I commend Attorney General Campbell and her office for updating this important guide, which addresses common issues our agencies have identified since the last edition was published in 2017. The housing laws crafted by the Commonwealth preserve and protect important rights and responsibilities of both residents and operators of These updates will help address challenges that residents and operators would otherwise continue to face. EOHLC looks forward to continuing our long and productive relationship with the Attorney General’s Office to review community operator regulations and help residents and operators understand their rights. and responsibilities.”

Jacob Love, Staff Attorney, Civil Rights Attorneys

“Today’s announcement marks another milestone in the Attorney General’s campaign to protect renters in Massachusetts. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Across the Commonwealth, seniors and low-income residents of manufactured housing communities are feeling the financial strain of the affordable housing crisis. This newly updated Guide provides these residents with a valuable overview of their rights and a roadmap for preserving them. Lawyers for Civil Rights commends Attorney General Campbell for her leadership in supporting this particularly vulnerable – and often overlooked – segment of the community. It will go a long way to keeping people at home.”

Ethan Horowitz, Executive Director, Northeast Justice Center

“The Attorney General’s Guide is an essential resource for the residents of manufactured housing communities and the advocates who support them. Commonwealth laws provide substantial consumer protections to manufactured home owners because of their precarious economic position – that is, because their most valuable assets are fixed (usually immovable) on someone else’s land. But these protections can only benefit manufactured home owners or other residents of manufactured homes if they understand their rights and are able to enforce them.”

Sandra Overlock, president of the Manufactured Home Federation of MA, Inc.

“The Manufactured Home Federation of MA, Inc. (MFM) looks forward to Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell’s updated explanation of the terminology in The Attorney General’s Guide to Manufactured Housing Community Law. This is welcomed by the MFM as we receive several calls with questions about Manufactured Housing Communities. With approximately 247 manufactured home communities in the state, manufactured homes often go unrecognized by the public. Manufactured housing is affordable housing and is an essential source of housing in the state. Because of our unique situation of living in a corporately owned community with residents who rent the land but own their homes, it is important that the Attorney General’s Guide provides residents and property owners with guidance on the laws. We look forward to our continued relationship with the Manufactured Housing Division of the Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Protection.”

Ethan Mascoop, chairman of the Massachusetts Manufactured Homes Commission

“Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell’s updated guide to the Manufactured Housing Community Law will be a welcome addition to the resources that provide current and accessible information for all residents and owners of the approximately 247 manufactured housing communities throughout Massachusetts. Often unrecognized and unseen by the general public, these communities are located throughout the Commonwealth in urban, suburban, and rural cities and towns, providing a critical source of unsubsidized affordable housing for a diverse population of all ages. Massachusetts law provides vital protections to residents of manufactured homes and places important responsibilities on park owners and buyers due to the unique issues of living in or owning a manufactured home community. The Massachusetts Manufactured Homes Commission looks forward to continuing its work with the Attorney General and the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities in ensuring safe, habitable, affordable and fair housing for all residents of manufactured home communities throughout the Commonwealth .

Pam Zagorski, executive director of the Cooperative Development Institute

“Massachusetts manufactured housing communities provide affordable housing to more than 20,000 low- and moderate-income households. The Guide to Manufactured Housing Community Law gives them the peace of mind that they can live in a community where they are treated fairly. The Cooperative Development Institute has helped residents of 30 manufactured housing communities in Massachusetts, representing 3,600 individual homes, purchase and own the communities in which they live. We have witnessed firsthand the importance of a clear process for residents to exercise their right of first refusal when their community leaves for sale. We appreciate that the Attorney General’s Office listened to residents’ concerns when updating this guide.”

Paul Halfmann, Manager, Halfmann Public Health Consulting, LLC

“For community health consultants like Halfmann Public Health Consulting, the AG’s Guide to Manufactured Housing Community Law has served as a valuable tool for understanding the rights and responsibilities of both residents and community owners, ensuring safer and healthier manufactured housing communities. I applaud the AG’s Office for updating the Guide to better meet the needs of local health care systems and these communities, empowering them to better navigate complex legal issues.”

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