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Mobile home legislation presented to Senate economic committee

March 16, 2005
By: Elizabeth Baird
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - A top democratic leader said she's out to help Missouri mobile home residents.

Sen. Maida Coleman, D-St. Louis, presented a bill to the Senate economic committee on Wednesday that would impose new standards on both mobile home park owners and their tenants.

"What I'm asking for in this legislation is that people who live in mobile home parks have a fair shake," Coleman said, "The mobile home owner can't just come along and arbitrarily decide that they want to move someone out without good reason."

The bill stipulates that park owners have a mandatory one-year lease agreement, offer 120 days notice to tenants if their lease will not be renewed, that security deposits not exceed one month's rent, as well as several other notification requirements.

Missouri has over 600 mobile home parks, 12 of which are in Columbia.

Coleman also emphasized that the changes would hold tenants just as responsible as the owners.

"Tenants who live in those mobile homes must be required not to let the park become some derelict piece of property," Coleman said, "They must live by the rules, they must pay their rent on time."

Missouri currently has no specific laws that regulate mobile home parks.

Will Jordan, director of an equal opportunity housing effort in St. Louis said without this legislation, the federal "unlawful detainer law" allows owners who operate under month-to-month leases the ability to evict their tenants for any reason, as long as they give some kind of notice.

"Practically speaking in Missouri there are no protections under the federal law for discrimination," said Jordan, "We just find it to be a real crisis, there about 300,000 people that will be effected by this legislation."

Opposition to the bill came from Pettina Duenekle, director of the Missouri Manufactured Housing Association, who said that mobile home parks operate adequately the way they are.

"We do have landlord-tenant laws that sufficiently govern our parks," said Duenekel, "The security deposit is one issue we oppose as well as the one-year lease, a lot of tenants and owners like the month-to-month so they have that flexibility."

SB300 - would regulate mobile home tenants and park owners, granting more rights to tenants

- was presented to senate economic comittee

- awaiting a vote in committee