TITLE 31
Motor and Other vehicles

CHAPTER 31-44
Mobile and Manufactured Homes

SECTION 31-44-3


§ 31-44-3 Rules and regulations.

The following requirements and restrictions shall apply to all mobile- and manufactured-home parks:

(1) A mobile- and manufactured-home park licensee shall promulgate reasonable rules and regulations that shall specify standards for mobile and manufactured homes in the park, entry requirements, and rules governing the rental or occupancy of a mobile- and manufactured-home lot and mobile- and manufactured-home park;

(2) Current rules and regulations promulgated by a mobile- and manufactured-home park licensee shall be delivered by the licensee to a prospective resident prior to entering into a rental agreement, and to the resident(s) as soon as promulgated and whenever revised. A copy of the rules and regulations shall be filed with the director and posted in a conspicuous place in the mobile- and manufactured-home park;

(3) Any rule or change in rent that does not apply uniformly to all mobile- and manufactured-home residents of a similar class shall create a rebuttable presumption that the rule or change in rent is unreasonable;

(4)(i) A mobile- and manufactured-home park licensee shall not impose any conditions of rental or occupancy that restricts the mobile- and manufactured-home owner in his or her choice of a seller of fuel, furnishings, goods, services, accessories, or other utilities connected with the rental or occupancy of a mobile- and manufactured-home lot;

(ii) The licensee who purchases electricity or gas (natural, manufactured, or similar gaseous substance) from any public utility or municipally owned utility or who purchases water from a water system for the purpose of supplying or reselling the electricity or gas to any other person to whom he leases, lets, rents, subleases, sublets, or subrents the premises upon which the electricity, gas, or water is to be used, shall not charge, demand, or receive directly or indirectly, any amount for the resale of any electricity, gas, or water greater than that amount charged by the public utility or municipally owned utility from which the electricity, gas, or water was purchased or by the public water system from which the water was purchased;

(iii) However, if the licensee incurs costs in bringing the utility service to individual units, or in utilizing individual meters, or in some similar cost, the licensee will be entitled to a return for the investment;

(iv) The park operator shall post in a conspicuous place the prevailing utility rate schedule as published by the serving utility;

(5) If any mobile- and manufactured-home park licensee adds, changes, deletes, or amends any rule governing the rental or occupancy of a mobile- and manufactured-home lot in a mobile- and manufactured-home park, a new copy of all those rules shall be furnished to all mobile- and manufactured-home residents in the park, and filed with the department for its review, recommendations, and recording for future reference at least forty-five (45) days prior to the effective date of the addition, change, deletion, or amendment. The new copy furnished to the resident shall be signed by both the mobile- and manufactured-home park owner and the mobile- and manufactured-home park resident. Any mobile park resident who believes the rule change is in violation of the chapter, may file a complaint with the director in accordance with § 31-44-17. The complaint shall be filed within twenty (20) days of receipt of written notice of the change. The complaint shall specify the rule in dispute and contain the basis by which the change violates this chapter;

(6) If any mobile- and manufactured-home park licensee changes the rent or fees associated with a mobile- and manufactured-home lot, notice of the change shall be given to the mobile- and manufactured-home resident at least sixty (60) days prior to the effective date of the change. Any mobile park resident who believes that the rule change is in violation of this chapter, may file a complaint with the director in accordance with § 31-44-17. The complaint shall be filed within twenty (20) days after receipt of written notice of the change. The complaint shall specify the basis by which the change violates this chapter;

(7) The owners of individual mobile and manufactured homes shall be entitled to have as many occupants in their homes as is consistent with the number of bedrooms and/or bed spaces certified by the manufacturer; provided that the occupancy does not violate any provision of the general laws or other municipal regulations. All bedrooms shall consist of a minimum of fifty (50) square feet of floor area and bedrooms designed and certified for two (2) or more people shall consist of seventy (70) square feet of floor area plus fifty (50) square feet for each person in excess of two (2). If there is sufficient bed space, according to the criteria set forth in this subdivision, additional rent or charges may not be imposed by a park owner or manager for any person or persons moving in with current resident owners of a mobile and manufactured home;

(8) A prospective resident shall not be charged an entrance fee for the privilege of leasing or occupying a mobile- and manufactured-home lot, except as provided in § 31-44-4; provided, that when a mobile and manufactured home is transported onto the mobile- and manufactured-home park, an entrance fee may be charged. However, if the park owner received a commission for the sale of the mobile and manufactured home, no entrance fee shall be charged. A reasonable charge for the fair value of the owner's cost in obtaining, preparing, and maintaining a lot, or for the fair value of services performed in placing a mobile and manufactured home on a lot, shall not be considered an entrance fee, but shall be deemed a hook-up fee or maintenance fee and shall be detailed in the fee schedule. No tenant, or person seeking space in a mobile- and manufactured-housing park, shall be required to purchase manufactured housing from any particular person unless the person designated is the park owner or operator and the requirement is imposed only in connection with the initial leasing or renting of a newly-constructed lot or space not previously leased or rented to any other person. A resident may remove and replace a mobile and manufactured home; provided, that the resident shall install the mobile and manufactured home in accordance with present park standards regarding structural requirements and aesthetic maintenance in the mobile- and manufactured-home park where the replacement occurs, and in accordance with minimum standards for mobile and manufactured homes established by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. No fee shall be charged by the licensee to residents as a result of the resident's installation of cable television;

(9) Prior to signing a lease, a licensee shall disclose, in writing, to the prospective resident:

(i) The rental for the space or lot; and

(ii) Any charges, including service charges, imposed by the licensee. The licensee shall disclose the rent and charges that were in effect during the three (3) preceding years, or the period during which the licensee has operated the mobile home park, whichever is shorter;

(10) A copy of the fee schedule shall be filed with the commission and posted in a conspicuous place in the mobile- and manufactured-home park; and

(11)(i) A resident shall not be charged a fee for keeping a pet in a mobile- and manufactured-home park unless the park owner or management actually provides special facilities or services for pets. If special pet facilities are maintained by the park owner or management, the fee charged shall reasonably relate to the cost of maintenance of the facilities or services and the number of pets kept in the park;

(ii) If the park owner or management of a mobile- and manufactured-home park implements a rule or regulation prohibiting residents from keeping pets in the park, the new rule or regulation shall not apply to prohibit the residents from continuing to keep the pets currently in the park if the pet otherwise conforms with the previous park rules or regulations relating to pets. However, if the pet dies, the resident shall have the right to replace the pet;

(iii) Any rule or regulation prohibiting residents from keeping pets in a mobile- and manufactured-home park shall not apply to guide, signal, or service animals;

(12) Any board or commission vested with governing powers over a mobile- or manufactured-home community, including resident-owned and nonresident-owned mobile home park resident associations, shall establish and/or adhere to fair and impartial written guidelines and bylaws for conducting elections that have been provided to all residents of the mobile home park at least forty-five (45) days prior to any election. The written guidelines and bylaws shall ensure transparency in the election process with reasonable and meaningful notice to, and participation of, all residents. The department is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to implement this subsection.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1984, ch. 382, § 2; P.L. 1985, ch. 88, § 2; P.L. 1985, ch. 414, § 1; P.L. 1987, ch. 116, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 217, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 347, § 1; P.L. 1993, ch. 287, § 1; P.L. 1993, ch. 309, § 1; 1994, ch. 182, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 248, § 1; P.L. 2009, ch. 119, § 1; P.L. 2009, ch. 146, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 349, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 378, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 512, art. 1, § 19.)