Restrictions on the Sale of Mobile Home Parks

By January 31, 2024 Real Estate

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In 2023, the Maine Legislature enacted a bill to strengthen existing protections for homeowners in mobile home parks.  Since the late 1980s, Maine law has required the owner of a mobile home park to give residents notice of the owner’s intent to accept an offer to buy the park.  The recent amendments to this law increase the required time for notice, remove a significant exception to it, and require the park owner to consider certain purchase offers from residents during that time.  The law’s text can be found at Title 10, Section 9094-A of the Maine Revised Statutes.

This new law requires park owners to give 60 days’ notice to each owner of a mobile home in the park, as well as the Maine State Housing Authority, before making a final unconditional acceptance of an offer.  During that 60-day window, the park owner has an obligation to negotiate in good faith with any group of mobile home owners or with a mobile home owners’ association that makes an offer, provided the offer has the support of a majority of the park’s homeowners.  If the offer is accepted, the association or group of home owners has 90 days to obtain appropriate financing.

Unlike under the previous version of the law, there is no exception that allows the park owner not to provide notice if the sale restricts the purchaser from changing the use of the park within two years.  However, there are exceptions for, among a number of other things, gifts, sales or transfers to a family member of the park owner, or a conveyance of an interest in the park as part of a financing arrangement.

If a park owner fails to provide notice or negotiate in good faith when required to, mobile home owners in the park have a cause of action against the park owner.  Home owners’ claims can be brought in Maine Superior Court, and the home owners may be able to obtain damages, attorneys’ fees, and/or an injunction that prevents the park owner from making a sale or transfer without providing the required notice.  Unlike in other states, damages are not capped to a specific dollar amount or percentage of the sale price, and violations of this law are considered evidence of an unfair or deceptive trade practice.

If you have any questions about whether a notice or offer was validly made, whether an exception applies, or would simply appreciate assistance in navigating your duties or rights under this law, it is best to consult with an attorney to determine the appropriate course of action to pursue.  If you would like assistance with these matters, contact Peter McDonell or Andrew Hersom at Perkins Thompson by phone at 207-774-2635.