The best thing that manufactured-home owners can do to help themselves is to get organized!
Many park residents will not be motivated to form any kind of organization unless the wolf is already at the door. However, in every park there are at least a few people who care – residents who are concerned about protection of homeowners’ rights, or who simply want to make the park a better place in which to live. In many cases, a residents’ organization has been successfully started by a small group such as this who meet together and work out ways to promote their group to the rest of the residents. So, the first thing to do: find the People Who Care!
What kind of group should your residents try to form – a Homeowners Association, or a GSMOL Chapter? See the chart below for the differences between these kinds of residents’ organizations. If you have only one group, theoretically it would combine the focus areas listed below; however, in order to get all the benefits that these groups have to offer, the ideal thing would be to start one group and get it “up and running”, and then form the other group later on. The second group can have the same officers, meeting times, etc.; although any money belonging to the groups must remain separate.
|GSMOL Chapter||Homeowners Association|
|Legal Status||Cannot function as legal entity||Can become mutual benefit nonprofit corporation, e.g. for court case or to buy park|
|Scope||Local branch of statewide organization||Independent organization|
|Focus||Mostly state & local bills & ordinances, community projects, education on MRL and HCD regulations||Mostly park matters, e.g. liaison with management, park improvements, social events|
Only GSMOL members. Need at least 15 GSMOL members if 150 or more spaces; or 10% of spaces if fewer than 150.
|All park residents eligible. Residents must join the organization if the HOA intends to represent them.|
Whatever kind of organization you form, the important thing is to get organized and stay organized, to be prepared for what’s coming down the road. Worst case scenario, it will be an earthquake or a court case. Best case scenario, it will be a plan for your residents to buy your park. With some help from your nearest GSMOL regional leader, it only takes a few committed residents to get the ball rolling.