A N A C T
RELATING TO MOTOR AND OTHER VEHICLES -- MOBILE AND MANUFACTURED HOME LOT RENTAL INCREASES
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 31-44.1-2 of the General Laws in Chapter 31-44.1 entitled "Mobile and Manufactured Home Lot Rental Increases" is hereby amended to read as follows:
31-44.1-2. Rent increases for mobile and manufactured home lots -- (a) "Excessive rent increase" means, for the purposes of this section, an increase which is
indefensible unreasonable based on the park owner's or operator's total expenses, including debt service related to the owner's acquisition or capital management of the park and a reasonable return on the park owner's investment or equity in the park.
(b) Any person who owns, operates, or maintains a mobile and manufactured home park pursuant to the provisions of chapter 44 of title 31 shall give the mobile home owners of the park sixty (60) days written notice prior to any lot rent increase going into effect. The written notice shall set forth the current rent, the proposed rent, and the date on which the increase takes effect.
(c) If a majority of the mobile home owners of the park believe that the rent increase is
clearly excessive, they may request in writing from the American arbitration association that binding arbitration take place between the park owner or operator and the mobile home owners .. The association will authenticate on a confidential basis the request and the signatures of a majority of the park mobile home owners, The association will authenticate on a confidential basis the request and the signatures of a majority of the park mobile home owners, who shall be made aware of the costs involved in seeking binding arbitration. For purposes of determining a majority, there shall be one vote per mobile home unit. The names of the mobile homer owners requesting the binding arbitration shall not be disclosed by the association to the park owner or operator. Upon authentication that a majority of the owners are requesting mediation, the association shall appoint an impartial and qualified arbitrator. The park owner or operator and the mobile home owners will cooperate with the arbitrator in an effort to resolve their differences. The costs and expenses of the arbitrator shall be borne equally by the park owner or operator and the mobile home owners.
(d) The arbitrator shall perform an analysis as to the mobile home park owner's need for rent increase and services provided to the park. The analysis shall be performed for a period of not less than three (3) years prior to the application for rental increase. Specifically excluded in the analysis shall be any debt service incurred using the mobile home park as collateral or other security for investment, enterprises, businesses, or similar ventures separate and apart from the mobile home park.
(e) The arbitrator will promptly hear the dispute and render a decision based on the
clearly excessive rent increase standard. For purposes of determining a reasonable return on the park owner's investment or equity, the arbitrator shall perform a risk analysis and consider alternative and comparative investments. The costs of the arbitration shall be borne by the losing party in the arbitration.
(f) No lot rent increase shall go into effect until the earlier of either completion of the binding arbitration process or one hundred twenty (120) days after the written notice given under subsection (a).
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.