Monday, November 25, 2013

When Space Rent Goes Up A Lot


We all agree mobile him park owners have a right to income on their investment.  Mobile home buyers also have a right to enjoyment of their investment, living in their own home.

In parks for seniors 55+ most of the residents live on fixed incomes, particularly those over 90. It isn't unusual for those closing in on the century mark to have outlived their savings and have social security $700 or less a month. If their space rent goes up to $500 a month or more, you see the problem there.

Additionally, elder mobile home owners may have occupied their home for 30 or 40 years with modest rent increases of 1% a year or less in keeping with the 1968 act providing for senior mobile home parks. This was changed in 1998 allowing mobile home park owners to raise rents with a 90 day notice.

An example would be the mobile home park where I live where rents were seldom increased until 2012 when a new manager took over. Since then rents on my space have been raised $100 a month in two $50 increases.

For the seniors living here 30 years it will be hard for them to move. Their choices are limited to paying, moving, having the coach moved out.


Check your state laws regarding tenant law. There is a national law pamphlet, "Mobile Home Residency Law" for each year. There may be help there.  Also check for City Ordinances regarding rents. A list of California cities with mobile home rent restrictions is here. They have saved some people. In Calistoga California and other places City Ordinances have protected mobile home owners from ruinous rent increases.

If you have received notices of unfair rent increases a good place to start is The Fair Housing Council in your area.

Good luck to you.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mobile Home Style Landscaping


The way people express themselves decorating the exterior of their homes is distinctly different in mobile home parks compared with the yards of tract homes.  Crushed rock is a favorite mobile home yard feature replacing the lawn present in a tract house yard.
However even here there is a wide range of popular styles.


This is the classic mobile home park landscape design.  It is seen from north to south, east to west in every park.  You might almost say it sets the mobile home park apart from any other property style.


Replacing the Troll Garden as a favorite mobile  home landscape style is the geometric design displaying evenly spaced plants and statuary.  This is the most popular design in the park where I live.


What keeps wandering the lanes of a mobile home park interesting is a row of predictable geometric design homefronts followed by a totally surprising, breathtakingly beautiful baroque landscape.


This is actually a deliberate style as mobile homes come with landscaping of some sort.  To achieve this zen-like emptiness requires vegetatation be removed and crushed rock added.
This does not exhaust the many styles of landscaping in mobile home parks.  The ingenuity of residents is inexhaustible.   A popular design elsewhere, but not in this park is the "country" style featuring old wheelbarrows, milk cans, and other items of byegone farm days.  There is no "Western" style here either with the wagon wheel a standard feature of that style.
Please feel free to comment in the comments section on your favorite style, or style where you live not mentioned here.  We are one.

Monday, October 7, 2013


Can you tell a Mobile Home on land from a house built on the property?  This  double wide Mobile Home featured in is an excellent example of hard-to-tell.

Not the Only One
The home in Kentucky is not the only showpiece mobile home.   

Many of the new manufactured homes are as large in square footage and with more amenities  than tract homes.  Mixed in a neighborhood it would be very hard to tell one from the other.

This home, displayed on    is part of a series on how mobile homes have influenced modern prefab houses.  It would look right at home in any neighborhood.

Which brings up the subject of Pre Fab homes.

Modular Houses and Pre Fab
The line between mobile homes, modular homes and pre fab has been blurred forever. The sales brochure of a high-end Pre Fab home at extolls the steel construction saying:

"Steel provides the strength and durability required for high
performance in extreme weather conditions, including hurricane-level wind zones, heavy snow loads, high seismic zones and challenging soil and marine moisture environments."

Sound like a mobile home? This is what it looks like

So How Do You Tell If It's A Mobile Home?

You can't.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Mobile Home? Motor Home? Trailer?


People use these words interchangeably.   Are they really all the same?  If not, what's the difference.  Are some words pejorative, others not?



This is a trailer.  Dictionary says:
trailer |ˈtrālər|
1 an unpowered vehicle towed by another, in particular:
an open cart.
an unpowered vehicle equipped for living in, typically used during vacations.

The item in the picture is a trailer.  It gets pulled by a car or truck.   A trailer typically used during vacations does not look like a house.   It has no built on porch, attached stairs, no separate house-like roof, or landscaping as would a Mobile Home or Manufactured Home.


Photo :

This is a typical Motor home.  It has an engine.  The dictionary says about it:
Motor home
A motor vehicle equipped like a trailer for living in, with kitchen facilities, beds, etc.

The operative word here is "motor vehicle," it moves under its own power.


Here is a Mobile Home on its way to a lot somewhere.  Most likely the lot will be in a mobile home "park."  The Mobile Home doesn't have a motor,  it is sitting on the truck bed being carried to its destination.

When it reaches its destination it will have stairs built to its doors with railings, maybe a porch, definitely landscaping.  It will have all the features of a home built on the site except with economy-of-scale built into the price.  Thus a mobile home is usually less expensive than a architect designed, contractor built home.

Okay, if now we know what a Mobile Home is, then what is a Manufactured Home?   Looking to the dictionary again for help with this one:

Manufactured Home
(mainly in advertising) a mobile home.

In other words, it is a made-up name created by advertising people to fancy up  the words Mobile Home.

People can get into serious arguments about defining words like this.  I hope this blog makes everything a little clearer.

For a look at a mobile home that looks nothing like a mobile home, check out

Photo from

It's amazing what beautiful design can do.

If you have any questions about what is or isn't a mobile home, please write it in the comment section below.  I will answer you within 24 hours.  General comments on the post are very welcome as well.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I Inherited A Cat


Living in a mobile home community of people all over the age of 55 means that sometimes we lose them.  There is a pattern of being healthy and active, then slowly things change,  marked by falls and visits to the home by paramedics on a regular basis.  Then they move in with relatives who can take care of them, or a care facility where professionals take care of them, or they pass away.

Over the weekend a neighbor passed away and her daughter appeared at my door asking if I would take her mom's cat?  Of course I would.  I had given her mom the kitten five years ago with the agreement that "if anything happens" she could return the cat to me.   And here it was.

Ginger has turned into a lovely cat who head bumps, and snuggles against your neck and ear.  She has a soft purr, more sonic vibration than sound.  She's very shy, cleverly opening the cabinet door to the towels to enjoy some privacy.


Actually, anyone can have an emergency where they need to be away from home for an extended period of time.  The best thing for pets is to have a plan in place for what should be done with the pet in case of hospitalization,  family emergency or when the animal's person has  to fly to the side of a relative or loved one and be gone for days.

Now our home is complete.

Monday, September 30, 2013

You Can Dance in the Daylight

A favorite fun-time thing for Mobile Home residents is go to a dance.  Within a 10 miles radius of Plaza Pines,(where I live), there are at least 5 places to dance during the day.  Long Beach features a full Big Band orchestra.

There is always a big turnout.  People dance like mad with nothing stronger to drink than KoolAid.  Watching the video you may wonder about that as there are some very creative dance moves by a couple towards the end.

Not all the dance venues have ballroom dancing only.  Fullerton Senior Center has everything from Big Band, through Salsa, and hip hop.   Hot, hot, hot!!!  Nobody leaves there alone unless they want to.   Pretty astonishing considering the dances are usually at 10:30 in the morning in bright light.   The right music is indeed magic.

Buena Park Senior Center has dances at night which caters to an entirely different crowd.  I have seen men under 50 there.  Cougar hunters??  I don't know. 

Just sayin'.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Used eBay's International Shipping by Accident-OMG

In the eternal quest for extra income, I listed something I wasn't using on eBay.

This little goody is an OmniChord QC-1, an instrument cross between a synthesizer,  beat box,
and a karaoke machine.

I had never learned to play it, had it sitting around for years and decided to sell it on eBay.

I wasn't worried.  Although I hadn't sold anything on eBay for about five years, what could go wrong?

So I took a few photos and listed it for seven days with free shipping, hoping that would sweeten the deal.  Several days went by, nobody bid on it.  With two days to go I wasn't sure it would sell at all, then there were five bids.

It looked like it was going to sell after all.  Out of curiosity I clicked on the buyer's information and found he was in Canada.  CANADA?!!!  And I was offering FREE shipping?  My heart was in my throat.  This set of musical doodads weighed almost 10 pounds.  I'd go broke.

Frantic, I checked eBay forums and help FAQs.  There was something new called International Shipping referred to in the forums as Global Shipping.  The feedback said it was so new anybody using it would be as a guinea pig.  Clicking the estimate feature it looked like the shipping would cost about $35 through eBay, USPS cheapest rate was $47.  Expensive, but not ruinous.

Today the auction ended.  The Canadian man won the auction.  I weighed, measured, and wrapped the package for shipment, printing out the eBay label.    Shipping was only $17.  I was so thrilled I 
added insurance bringing it to $22.

Apparently the way it works:  international buyers can bid on US auctions, the seller then has the option of using eBay's International Shipping (Global Shipping) where the address the seller sends the package to is eBay's warehouse in Kentucky, a USA address.  That's all the seller pays (as far as I know), the shipping between home and Kentucky.  From there eBay handles the paperwork, taxes, customs forms, and foreign shipping charges.

Wow. Who knew?