Most Colorado mobile home owners have never heard of a monitoring program designed to protect them, new report says

A year after Colorado lawmakers signed new protections into law for the state’s tens of thousands of mobile home owners, more than three-quarters of complaints against owners and managers remain unresolved and more than seven in 10 park residents had never heard of the state monitoring program. , according to an inaugural report released this week.

The “Annual Report of the Mobile Home Parks Monitoring Program,” released Tuesday, represents the most thorough review to date of the state of Colorado’s enhanced mobile home parks law, which in 2020 introduced a dispute resolution system for mobile home owners to file complaints as well as a centralized registration system for the state’s 718 mobile home parks.

The dispute resolution system — modeled after a similar program in Washington state — was designed to give mobile home owners a cheaper and easier way to resolve issues in their parks without costly attorney fees.

The most common complaints to state regulators involved park owners’ failure to properly maintain park trees, water and sewer lines, and common areas; owners instituting rules and regulations that would violate Colorado law; and landlords allegedly require residents to sign new leases or tenancy agreements that waive the rights of their landlords.

But the report also noted a persistent backlog of cases that haven’t been resolved by state regulators.

The program received 221 complaints between May 1, 2020 – when the dispute resolution process was launched – and June 30, 2021, encompassing 546 alleged violations. Of these complaints, 49 had been resolved, or only 23%. Seventy-seven of the 546 alleged breaches were resolved, meaning 86% remained open.

Christina Postolowski, who leads the state’s mobile home park monitoring program, said in an email that the state focused in its first year on building the database of mobile homes. fleet registration, much of which had to be entered manually. It took regulators months and contributed to the backlog of complaints.

“Obtaining current and accurate ownership and contact information for parks underpins the rest of the work done by the program,” Postolowski said in the email. “The structure of the program (as established by the state legislature) relies on the division’s ability to quickly identify and contact park owners to investigate complaints and disseminate information about the program to the resident owner. “

Mobile home owners told the Denver Post last fall of their frustration with long wait times to address their concerns, ranging from snow removal and sewer issues to mold in laundry rooms or the closing of the laundry room. water for days without notice. Some residents had still not resolved their issues more than a year after filing complaints with the state.

Four business owners — who own dozens of parks in Colorado — were responsible for a quarter of the complaints, according to state data from September. It’s part of a growing trend of hedge funds and big corporations buying up mobile home parks across the country, where they’ve been known to repeatedly raise rents and cut amenities.

Postolowski acknowledged in his email that the department initially did not have enough staff to register parks, meet park sales requirements, resolve complaints and enforce rules. In response, the department hopes to hire two additional staff to focus solely on park registration and mobile home park sales by early this year, she said.

“These additional human resources will help the program resolve the backlog in cases while working to resolve new complaints,” Postolowski wrote, noting that there are 36% more mobile home owners in the state than the initial data did not suggest so. “Demand for the program suggests the division may need additional staff beyond those two.”

Even with the delays, more than 40% of respondents to a state survey said they had a good experience when contacting the monitoring program, compared to less than 18% who said the experience was bad. Just over 35% said the experience was “ok.”

A persistent problem, however, is the lack of awareness of the monitoring program, especially among mobile home owners.

Nearly 73% of mobile home owners surveyed in the report had never heard of the state program. In contrast, only 5.6% of park managers and 16% of park owners were unaware of the program. According to respondents, approximately 10% of mobile home owners had contacted the monitoring program in some form.

Postolowski said the department has a mailing list of more than 800 members that state regulators use to share program updates, but they have no way to contact all homeowners directly. mobiles. The division plans to hire a field investigator who could enforce owner notice requirements, she said, as well as communications people to help spread the word.

Anyone seeking more information about the program is encouraged to call 1-833-924-1147 or the division’s website: cdola.colorado.gov/mobile-home-park-oversight.

The report also noted that two parks – out of 43 sales – were sold to resident co-ops during the fiscal year under the state’s new “opportunity to purchase” provision, which was intended to facilitate collective purchase of their parks by mobile home owners.

Housing advocates and mobile home owners have previously told the Post that landlords are circumventing the new law by not giving the required notice of sale or negotiating in bad faith when dealing with co-op residents, making nearly impossible for mobile home owners to put together successful deals.

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