Why Get Organized?
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. Each type of organization has its advantages over the other type. It is easiest to form a GSMOL Chapter because you will have the help of local GSMOL leaders. However, in order to be prepared to buy your park should the opportunity arise, forming a simple HOA (which can be registered now and set up as a nonprofit organization later) will save the trouble of trying to put it together quickly when the park goes up for sale. The two groups can have officers in common, but must have separate Bylaws and treasuries. It is good for the groups to work out a plan stating which group is going to do what, so that they don’t step on each others’ toes.
|GSMOL Chapter||Homeowners Association|
|Legal Status||Cannot function as legal entity||Can become mutual benefit nonprofit corporation, e.g. for court case or to purchase the park|
|Scope||Local branch of statewide organization||Independent organization|
|Membership||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.|
|Support||Backed by statewide GSMOL. Might also form or join a Coalition of Chapters within city or county.||Independent, but might form or join a Coalition of HOAs within city or county.|
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.