I am a manufactured (mobile) home owner and my park owner is charging me a fee of $12. Is this legitimate? Where can I learn more?
In 2007, the state of Minnesota established the Minnesota Manufactured Home Relocation Trust Fund to provide manufactured (mobile) home owners with reasonable relocation compensation to in the event that all or part of their park closes. This central state fund is administered by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. It is currently the only method for receiving relocation compensation. Information is available from All Parks Alliance for Change (651-644-5525 or toll free 855-361-2722), Minnesota Management & Budget, or Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.
Why am I no longer being charged the $12 fee?
In 2011, a special Legislative session was held during the government shutdown. Behind closed doors Minnesota Legislature created a cap on the amount of money allowed in the Trust Fund, without a public hearing or any resident input. Once the Trust Fund reaches $1,000,000 no more money can be put into the Trust Fund. Collection of the home owners fee will begin again once the balance is again below $1,000.000.
Why was the Trust Fund created?
The trust fund was established by the Minnesota Legislature. It was developed in response to the risk of park closings. Prior to its adoption, park residents were not guaranteed compensation for relocation costs unless their city passed a local ordinance. Since only 22 cities passed such ordinances, over 100,000 residents in 400 cities remained unprotected. Now every manufactured home owner in the state is eligible for compensation. The legislation is available online here.
Do I have to pay the $12 annual fee?
Yes when the Trust Fund balance is below the $1,000,000 balance. This is not an optional fee. As with other laws, the state does not consider following this law to be optional. Your park owner pays for your lot up front and if the payment is not made to the park owner by the home owner when due, under the new law the home owner could potentially be sued and made to pay the fee AND the park owners court costs. By law, you must pay the fee.
Why am I paying the park owner $12?
Currently the Trust Fund has reached its cap, and you should not be paying the park owner the $12 fee. When the cap is removed, the park owner may collect from residents the $12 as this was paid up front by the park owner. This law was changed from a different collection method because it was not working properly and it was leaving almost half of the homeowners in the state ineligible or unprotected.
Can I send the money directly to the State of MN?
No. The park owner is invoiced for all licensed lots in their park by the state. They then have the option of collecting from the residents.
Does the park owner pay anything in to the trust fund?
Yes. A park owner who closes a park is responsible for paying up to $3250 for each single wide and $6000 for each double wide at the time of closing.
Under what circumstances is compensation available through the Trust Fund? How do I make a request?
In the event of a park closure, the local municipality will appoint a neutral third party approved by the home owners and the park owner. To file a compensation claim, the home owner submits a copy of the closure statement and proof that the property taxes are paid. If the home can be moved, the homeowner also provides a contract for moving costs. If the home cannot be moved, the home owner provides a certificate of title with releases on all liens. Upon approval by the neutral the MHFA issues checks to the home movers or the home owner as appropriate.
What are the benefits of the Trust Fund?
Manufactured home owners are guaranteed reasonable compensation for relocation costs. If you live in one of the 22 cities that had ordinances, you may be entitled to receive a higher level of compensation. Otherwise, if the home can be moved, the compensation is moving costs up to $4,000 for a single section home and up to $8,000 for a multi-section home. If the home cannot be moved within a 25-mile radius, the compensation is the value of the home up to $5,000 for a single section home and up to $9,000 for a multi-section home.
If my city has a local ordinance providing for relocation compensation, do I still have to pay the annual fee?
Yes. If a manufactured home owner resides in a community that previously adopted a local ordinance covering relocation or buyout payments, the home owner can receive the higher of the local ordinance compensation amount or the state law compensation amount. However, the home owner is still required to pay the annual fee in order to receive compensation.
The 22 cities with ordinances are: Anoka, Apple Valley, Austin, Bloomington, Brainerd, Burnsville, Dayton, Elk River, Fridley, Hopkins, Inver Grove Heights, Lake Elmo, Lexington, Mounds View, Oakdale, Red Wing, Rochester, Rosemount, Roseville, Shakopee, St. Anthony Village, and Stacy.