As a new park owner, I’ve had quite a few questions from residents about trees. My thought is that the resident is responsible for basic maintenance of the tree(s) located on their respective lot. That means cleaning up branches, sticks, fruit, etc… from the lot. If it is a safety issue such as a large branch that is busted or a tree is totally dead, it is my responsibility to take care of that so no one gets hurt. Any thoughts? I don’t feel it is my responsibilty to trim them on a regular basis. The cost to do that is enormous.
I think you have a good handle on it. Nobody trims trees in parks on a regular basis except for the reasons you outlined. If they want Ritz-Carlton service, they should move to the Ritz-Carlton – I think they will rent you a room for as little as $300 per day.
Our policy is that anything that can be reached without going up on a ladder is the resident’s responsibility - that means mowing the grass, and trimming shrubs. The trees are our responsibility, but we only trim those when major branches break or the entire tree is falling.
Keep in mind, your liability as a landlord begins with a dead/diseased tree. These trees are ‘known hazzards’ and are the responsibility of the landlord to care for and you will be liable for damage they cause to homes, cars, and people. However any live tree that falls over is an ‘act of God’ and you are not liable for damage. If this happens, be sure to get photographs of the tree, hopefully with lots of green leaves on it, should anyone claim the tree was dead and your responsibility.
You should have insurance on park-owned homes (Kurt Kelley is your man for that), and strongly encourage your residents who own their own homes to have their own home insurance (and insurance on their cars).
You wouldn’t want a tenant like me, -----who after repeatedly asking to have something done to the large, hollow, leaning (towards the trailer), buckling up the pavement of the driveway, dying oak tree----sending you certified mail containing photos of same tree with queries about how and when you’ll take care of it. A large tree so hollow and rotten at the base, you could put your fist into it at ground level almost to your elbow. Like the other failing oak trees (Oak Wilt problem in this county), that were hollow or dying and fell over during storms (in the park).
While he never did remove that “legal liability waiting to happen”, I still have the photos and copies of the certified letter I sent him, as well as the times and dates, and his replies when we talked about his getting it squared away. I have a witness to one of those discussions. When I sold the home, I pointed out the tree, told the new owner that the park owner’s last reply was “He’ll get to it” and let her know she or her insurance company can contact (or subpeana) me should it fall on the home.
While I still owned the home, I also let the park owner know (should the tree fall) that having some unlicensed, unbonded, uninsured young guys (who lived in the park) walk all over my roof to cut down the evidence and remove the tree (if I was not home) would not be acceptable. He was to call my emergency contacts who would come out to take photos of the damage FIRST, so I could be properly notified. This being due to an incident a few years ago, during a major storm that knocked trees onto or up against 3 privately owned mobile homes in the park. He sent out those young, unbonded, uninsured park guys to cut the trees and limbs off the homes, and they did more damage by dropping a log and putting a hole in the roof of at least one of them. Then covering it with duct tape, and not saying anything to anyone. Home owner, who was out of town at the time, wasn’t made aware of the guy’s dropping damage, until a neighbor asked her about it.
My ex-landlord park owner has a “do you feel lucky” way of dealing with “known hazzards” of any kind. Oh and by the way, I for one, didn’t expect Ritz-Carlton service-----I just wanted to drive home, after a storm, and not have to wonder on the way there “Did that rotten, hollow tree finally cleave my home in half?” Or an even worse scenerio—being there when it did.
This forum is for mobile home park owners, not for residents of mobile home parks
But we are in agreement that dead or ‘dying oak tree’ would be the landlord’s responsibility to take care of
You are correct Wisconsin I would not want a tenant like you. Not because of your concern regarding such issues as the trees but because of the way you appear to deal with your concerns.
Having said that every park has at least one tenant like yourself (I know I do) but park owners learn quickly how to deal, or not deal, with their concerns.
I’ll take that into consideration, as at this time I’m not a park owner, but who knows what may happen in the future. I find this forum fascinating and full of information that would be helpful in any landlord/tenant situation.
The scenerios I’ve brought up in this and past threads, and how they were dealt with (or not) by my particular park owner aren’t something that could be thought provoking, and useful by others?
Yes, I suppose every park has someone who would be considered a “pain in the ***”. for one reason or another. After sending the certified letter (which documented my concerns in case of loss, damage or injury), I let it go, until I moved out. As for the park owner sending inexperienced goof balls onto privately owned homes, creating more damage while the homeowners hadn’t even been notified-----I surely didn’t want the liability should one of these people fall off my roof.
I know quite a few parks that have built into their leases that all trees on lots are the responsibility of the TENANT. If the tenant does not maintain the tree the park will give notice, then if nothing is done, hire the work themselves and add it to the rent as an assessment.
That is, if you rent a lot with a tree on it, you better budget in the tree service. My policy is that shrubs or trees planted by the tenant are the tenants to deal with and NO trees are to be planted without my permission. Also, branches that brush against the tenants home are the tenants issue to deal with, but those must be dealt with by an insured tree service…
If I should ever buy another park I would look into the state laws and if viable, that is how I would do it.
I take responsibility for the trees themselves because should I have a tenant who decide that they could cut down a tree themselves, or have a buddy help them for a case of beer, it could pose a huge liability to other tenants. Also I do not want tenants thinking that they can cut down any tree they wish just because they don’t like raking leaves etc.
That said, over the last 7 years I have incurred huge fees to take down diseased ash trees. The cost of cutting down one large tree easily wipes out the profit on a lot for one or even two years. In the past my policy was to replace them with new trees, but in this litigious society I have decided that any tree that goes does not get replaced. In time 10 wooded acres will lose 75 percent of the trees and that’s a shame.
That is helpful. Thanks for your insight.
This park doesn’t have any park-owned homes, just privately owned.
The situation that came up that an elderly lady was freaked out that a large (live) branch was going to fall on her home and kill her. I briefly looked at it after I met with the manager for the first time. She is correct. It is a very big branch that is about 1 foot from the roof of her home. My fear is that if I took care of it, many others would expect the same service. I received 2 bids on it. Tree companie(s) want $1200.00 to take care of the one large tree branch. After recently buying the park, I’m hesitant about popping $1200 for 1 tree branch that I missed during due dilligence. I’d rather use that as a contribution to a downpayment on another park.
frankrolfe No, we do not want Ritz-Carlton service, just a habitable, clean environment we can come home to without stepping on sewage or trees falling on us or our loved ones. Is that too much to ask from greedy owners who refuse to maintain mobile home lots? If you choose not to maintain the lot then why do you still charge the tenant rent? At least at the Ritz-Carlton they will provide you with the services you paid for. It seems more and more mobile home park owners are turning into thieves. I am glad I read this thread. Now at least I know the tricks of the trade