Municipal Issues - Code violations and Restrictions on new homes


#1

We acquired a park this past December and recently had to hire a municipal attorney to help us get our business license with the city. They were trying to pull the normal stuff that park owners experience and we explained our grandfathered non conforming use status. That’s resolved. However, I met with the city inspector the other day and walked the site. He said that there were numerous code violations and we can’t move any new homes into the park until we resolve the current condition of the property. All of the homes are tenant owned. What am I responsible for in terms of code violation enforcement? I would think as the land owner if they want to site violations they are welcome to do so to the individual residents. Do they have any rights to actually prevent me from moving new homes onto the property?


#2

It’s gonna probably cost but sounds like a question for your attorney. If there are no issues with the infrastructure I don’t see how they could keep you from bringing homes in. You may need to lobby to the inspector’s bosses about how you’re gonna keep the park clean and presentable. Check with local mobile home dealers and let them know the issue…they may have a contact or have figured out a way to get past the city inspector.
Best of luck!


#3

Sounds like the City has sour grapes, and they are targeting you for retribution. How dare you stand up for your rights?

We are in a similar situation… we have a park (Indiana) with 10 vacant lots. City is saying that we can’t bring in homes. I am almost convinced that if we fight them, they will do the same to us as they are doing to you now.

I hope this story has a happy ending.

Btw, how much did it cost you to hire the municipal lawyer? Which state are you in?


#4

I’m in IL not sure if attorney is licensed there but email me mobilehomes2018@gmail.com and I can let you know. You definitely will want to hire an attorney. Call the Indiana Manufactured Housing association for referral too. Usually they can clear up an issue like yours with a phone call. Unless they do have some type of sunset provision in their ordinance which states that you cant. Typically even then you could fight it based of of grandfather / legal non conforming use status. You’ll want a municipal attorney that specializes in this. Ideally someone that has worked with mobile home park owners. Good luck!


#5

Already have been working with an attorney. I was just curious any response from the group here. What I found in seeking out an attorney is the average in Illinois is $300-350+/hour.

Thanks


#6

@nick84

Congrats on the park. Good question. Even if they are right or they are right it’s going to be arguing and I’m not sure it has to turn into a legal thing. We have a park that the city does this ( does not threaten not moving in homes ) on license inspection where they make the tenant problems ours. So For the most part our rules mirror what they want. We do try to stay on top of regular operations with violations letters but depending on who inspects the park they have a problem with this and that. We notify the tenants, tell them to comply. And If it’s something that is unreasonable we might try to work with them or update the city. Typically when they see good faith effort it all is fine.

If what they want is unreasonable in all respects I would probably be inclined to go the legal route.

But you have a chance to improve the park , let the city know you are willing to work with them , and maybe build some good will with them and you can always use the city as the scape goat ( though you shouldn’t need to )

Let us know how it plays out
A


#7

@nick84

Just saw this in Illinois. Have you seen the recent state inspection form from IDPH? If it’s good marks I would also bring that in the picture. The state does an annual inspection and they may not be aware of that. This may or may not have relevance but def find out about that as well.


#8

What are the code violations? Have the inspector tell you what they are and tell you what needs to be done to resolve them. They will usually tell you which lots are violating their code. You want to play ball with the city/inspector at this point. I suggest you document all communications with the city and inspector because you may have to bring your attorney back into the picture. Have a conversation with the inspector about what fixes need to be done and send him an email summarizing your conversation and attach a copy of the report he gave you - in that email state that ‘per our conversation, once these fixes are taken care of, you will allow me to move homes into my park’. Also in your email, request that he respond to your email to make sure you addressed all of his concerns and that the two of you are in agreement… he may or may not respond to you and that’s ok. As you take care of the issues, send him pictures of the fixes via email.

Show the violations to the tenants and give them a deadline to fix it. Also tell them that you will have it fixed and charge them for it if they don’t do it themselves. I, and this is just me, would tell the tenant that I will be fined if the issue isn’t fixed and the fine will be passed on to them - this isn’t true - but a sense of urgency needs to be communicated somehow.

Once you’ve sent the final email with proof of your fixes tell the inspector that you’ve completed all of the fixes per his requirements… I’d also state in that email that you will now be working on getting a permit to move in homes. If he finds some reason not to approve your permit, I would then respond and cc my attorney stating discrimination.


#9

In my jurisdiction the community owner is ultimately responsible for insuring every structure on their property is to code. I would insure every home owner maintained their building to code regardless of whether it was my legal responsibility or not. When I first purchased my community the first thing I did was walk the property with the building inspector and note every code violation. Every home owner with a violation was given 6 months to comply with code.
As a community owner I take my responsibility for my property very seriously and insure that every homeowner home is to code on my land.
Find out exactly what the code violations are and issue compliance notices to each resident. Their homes must be maintained to code.


#10

I totally agree and will do. Thanks
Just want to move new homes along with getting everything up to code and they are preventing that. Thanks


#11

I am in a similar situation. Illinois park, city doesn’t like it. Inspector gave me a 6 page list of violations. My question would be in order for the previous owners to receive a business license every year, the city needs to inspect the property annually to issue the license. The previous owners received a business license for the last 10 years. So how is it that I purchase the park in December 2018, and I’m hit with 6 pages of violations that did not appear over night??? I asked them to provide a list of all the violations from the previous inspections they sent to the previous owners, to show that they did not fix them, but still issued the license. Obviously they will not issue a license until I complete the list in 6 months, which includes fixing all of the Tenant owned homes…Zero Park owned… What a joke…


#12

I have a few attorney referrals if you want. That might be the only way for you unfortunately. Cities try and bully owners all the time and I think that an attorney speaking for your land owner rights can save money and headaches long term.

I spoke to my attorney about this issue I posted and Im very confident we will be fine moving forward.


#13

Thank you for the reply. I have not reached out yet, but I have an attorney that specializes in Municipal Law and Real Estate. However, if you are around the St. Louis area another contact would be great. Thank you, Nick.