ADA Compliance in Manufactured Homes
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), mobilehome tenants — regardless of homeownership — are entitled to protection from disability discrimination. While these typically apply to any kind of public or private housing, California SB-1107 expanded these protections in 2008 by amending the state Civil Code to include mobilehome resident-specific language.
Here are five things you need to know.
1. You Have a Right to Install Accommodations
Section 798.29.6 of the California Civil Code prohibits landlords or mobilehome park management from limiting a resident's ability to install accommodations in their home or on the site of their residence. This can include ramps and railings, so long as they are compliant with housing codes and are removed once the tenant's lease is up or they decide to move from the residence.
However, this law does not prohibit a landlord or management from having a written agreement with the tenant regarding removing these installations. As such, the management team may enforce removal prior to reselling the space.
2. Tenants with Disabilities May Request Reasonable Accommodations
In compliance with FEHA, tenants with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations from the park's management that may require the "rules, policies..." to be altered or waived for the tenant to have "full enjoyment of the premises." FEHA also prohibits a landlord from terminating the contract with the tenant for requesting these accommodations.
Under California Government Code 12927, refusal to make reasonable accommodations is classified as discrimination, which may result in fines for the landlord or property management.
3. You Cannot Be Charged an Extra Rent Fee for Caregivers
Under Sections 798.34 and 799.9, disabled mobile homeowners may not be charged for caregivers who live in or guests staying in the residence for more than 20 consecutive days total. Family members over the age of 18 who live in to provide a written treatment plan from a physician/surgeon or supervise this treatment may also do so without fees from management.
This ruling also applies to senior living communities. So long as the family member is over 18 and provides care for the senior (over 55) resident, they may live in and relinquish management's responsibility for that tenant. However, that individual providing care may have no tenancy rights of their own and must still comply with the park's regulations.
4. You Have a Right to a Service Animal
As a state and federal law, mobilehome parks must allow disabled tenants to have a service animal as a reasonable accommodation. In California, Section 54 of the Civil Code outlines a disabled person's legal right to have a guide, signal, or service dog in a leased property without additional fees. However, a few stipulations for these animals still apply:
- These dogs must remain on a leash and be tagged as service animals with an agency-issued tag.
- Tenants assume responsibility for damages to the property caused by their dog.
5. Mobilehomes Parks Must Have Accessible Parking
California Building Codes require that at least one van-accessible parking space be available for lots of any size. Along with this, these parking spaces must have easy access to accessible entrances that do not require a disabled individual to go behind other parked cars to reach them. While the number of accessible spaces varies depending on the parking lot size, most mobilehome parks may require a minimum of three in addition to their one van-accessible spot.
As each individual mobilehome requires a minimum of two parking spaces, disabled tenants may request accessible parking as a reasonable accommodation.
Compliance Questions? We Have Answers
Living with a disability should not limit your quality of life, and if your mobilehome park management is not complying with ADA or FEHA regulations, you have a right to take legal action. The mobilehome park attorneys at Peters, Habib, McKenna, Juhl-Rhodes & Cardoza, LLP have decades of experience protecting the rights of tenants.
If you have questions or concerns regarding your property's compliance, call (530) 342-3593 to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.