Manufactured home owners have been given added protections from lot-rent increases along with rental assistance for those who qualify under a new law.
Senate Bill 317, passed by the General Assembly and signed into law June 30 by Gov. John Carney, continues to allow for an annual lot-rent increase based only on a consumer price index for the Philadelphia, Camden and Wilmington region, or market rent using comparable manufactured home communities within the competitive area.
Under the new law, however, rent cannot be increased if there are health or safety violations that have not been addressed by the manufactured community owner.
“If a community owner increases rent … and does not provide documentation to the Delaware Manufactured Home Relocation Authority that the violation has been corrected [under this section], the rent increase does not take effect,” the law states.
It gives DEMHRA the right to make a claim on a community’s surety bond, or promulgate regulations in the event that safety and health violations have gone on for more than 15 days and have been ignored.
The law also establishes a rental assistance program for homeowners who are eligible for Social Security Disability or supplemental security income benefits, or who are 62 and older and have lived at the home for five consecutive years before requesting lot-rent assistance.
“The homeowner must reside full time and exclusively in the manufactured home in the manufactured home community, and the manufactured home must be the homeowner’s only residence,” the law states.
In order to qualify, the income of the homeowner and all occupants must be equal to or less than 40% of the county median income, as determined by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Total liquid assets must also be below $50,000, which includes stocks, bonds and bank accounts.