Skip to Content
Allen, Semelsberger & Kaelin LLP Allen, Semelsberger & Kaelin LLP
CALL TODAY! 888-998-2031

What Do I Need to Know About the California Mobile Home Residency Law?


Starting in the 1950s, mobile homes were used as an inexpensive housing option for people who wanted to own their homes. As of 2013, around 20 million Americans live in mobile homes across the United States. In California, one of the most populous states, mobile homes make up 4.4%of all housing units. And unlike other residencies, such as apartment buildings, mobile homes and parks require a different set of legal standards.

What Is the California Mobile Home Residency Law?

The California Mobile Home Residency Law (MRL) is a piece of legislation divided into nine Articles, all of which concern the maintenance and responsibilities surrounding owning and leasing mobile homes and mobile home parks. The law was solidified in 1978 and has been amended several times over the years.

Does the MRL Increase My Rent?

If you rent a mobile home or the land on which your mobile home sits, knowing who controls your rent is paramount to solving any payment issues. The MRL does not regulate the amount of rent increase in a mobile-home park. If your rent has gone up, talk to your landlord or the owner and determine the rent amount. The MRL also does not cap the amount of rent you can be charged.

Why Do I have to Pay Taxes on My Mobile Home and Pay a fee to the Park Owner for Property Taxes?

Sometimes the cost of property taxes mobile park owners must pay is included in the rent they charge their tenants. If the property taxes were not included in the rent, you do need to pay the extra taxes to cover the park property taxes. If you are a mobile-home owner, you might also need to pay a different property tax, one that covers your home, not the land on which your residence sits. This separate property tax varies by county.

I Might Be Getting Overcharged on Utilities. What Do I Do?

Many mobile-home parks use meters that measure electric, gas, and water distribution for all residents. These meters are owned, operated, and maintained by master-meter operators (the parks themselves). The Public Utilities Code mandates that master-meter operators charge residents no more than the local serving utility would charge a resident. If you suspect you’re being overcharged, you can call the County Weights and Measures (W&M). W&M will check the accuracy of the meters used in the park to make sure they work. If they still find nothing wrong, or they detect faulty meters, you can call the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to lodge an informal complaint. CPUC refers to these charges to work out the problem with park management. If, however, a third party billing agent prepares utility bills for you and the other residents, park management must give you the third party’s contact information so you can prove you were overcharged.

Do Mobile-Home Park Rules Trump State Laws?

State laws always prevail over mobile-home park rules. The park rules must be consistent with the MRL. For example, if the park rules say the landlord can list a mobile home owner’s residence for sale without their written authorization, the rule is invalid. Under MRL, the landlord must get your written permission before listing or showing your home to any potential buyers. If any park rules seem unfair or illegal, check the text of the MRL to make sure you’re protected under California law.

If you’re being treated unfairly by your park owner, or your rights have been violated, it may be time to speak to a San Diego mobile home park attorney. Contact us today to discuss your case!