Cities that Impose Licensing Requirements on Parks

Currently I’m in due diligence phase on a San Antonio park. I was surprised to learn that the City of San Antonio has implemented a licensing requirement for all MH Parks inside the city limits. The requirement involves:

  • Annual attendance to a Continuing Education course
  • $35 fee per pad per year to cover Code Enforcement’s expense of on-going inspections of the park (appears they will go monthly or quarterly).

The question/concerns I wished to ask the group are:

  • Are you aware of other cities with a similar annual fee/CE structure?
  • I’m conflicted and would like your opinion as to whether:
    (A) this is the cheapest management oversight an out of town owner can purchase for their park, or
    (B) the city’s goal is to be openly hostile in an attempt to drive MH Parks out of the city and increase the Operating Expenses to a point that no longer makes financial sense?

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

Delaware charges a per pad fee per year to fund a government account that is used to relocate tenants who are displaced from mobile home parks that are closing. In fact there was a lawsuit several years back because the fund has grown very large and some question if the fee is still necessary or more of a mechanism for the government to collect money. Despite that, the fee still stands.

I do not fully understand your question A, but if you think the government is providing a management oversight service to you, you will be sadly mistaken. At best they will be neutral and only steal your lunch money. Likely they will question a few minor things per year for you to address with minimal effort.

Based on the info that you provide, I see no reason to view this as a hostile attempt to drive out the parks in that city. Requiring 60 minutes of your time and $35 per year per pad is not enough to drive you out of business. It appears at the surface to be an attempt for the government to get money from you. I would see this as an trigger to do more due diligence.

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I manage a park in San Antonio and I also have been a long time resident here, my experience in this park the city regulations has not felt punitive or controlling. Yes San Antonio has upped the code enforcement presence. On the flip side though, in this park I have developed a working relationship with the officers. Because of our parks willingness to be proactive the officers help us work with problem tenants before things get out of hand. In my experience in some parks in San Antonio low income housing there have been instances of unscrupulous landlords. And the city I think is trying to balance out a communication medium between residents and management/ owners. In my experience a disgruntled resident will call code enforcement to “get back” for whatever the situation might be. The city also runs background checks on owners and managers. While it is a lot of hassle I think in the long run it is a benefit because the city knows that in this park we do our best to keep a problem free community and they also can protect us as well if we run into difficult residents in the future.

I would view the licencing as a good thing. It will hopefully maintained the quality of your community allowing you to impose strict regulations on your tenants in regards to the upkeep of their home and lot. The cost of the licencing should be passed along to tenants through higher lot fees.
By maintain higher standards you attract higher quality tenants. It is a fairly easy transition from affordable housing into possibly retirement housing.

I looked at one of the worst parks of my life in the city limits of San Antonio. Code Enforcement was out there multiple times per week trying to motivate the owner to not run a drug infested trailer park.

In this case I really don’t think the intent for the city is to be hostile to MHP owners, rather have a tool to motivate them to run their business reasonably, in a similar fashion to other multifamily residential properties. Could it be abused as you suggest? Probably.

I would be curious if the city also charges apartments a per dwelling structure $35 fee, as that seems to be a MHP specific discriminatory charge.

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