More Than Half Of CA Mobile Home Parks Haven’t Been Inspected In The Last Decade, Audit Finds
State workers didn’t inspect more than half of California’s mobile home parks between 2010 and 2019, there are no written policies for selecting which parks should be inspected, and inspectors don’t document their work thoroughly.
Those are the findings of an audit of the California Department of Housing and Community Development. HCD oversees mobile home parks that are home to hundreds of thousands of Californians, making sure they’re safe and habitable. But it could be doing a better job, State Auditor Elaine Howle said.
In a letter, HCD Chief Deputy Director Zack Olmstead said he agreed with suggested changes, including documenting all visits by inspectors, guidelines for which parks are prioritized for inspections, and better communication with park owners and residents.
The limited number of inspections does not violate state law, which only requires HCD to inspect 5% of the nearly 4,500 parks under its jurisdiction each year.
The requirements have changed dramatically over time: In 1967, the Mobilehome Parks Act required HCD to inspect every park annually. By 1973, the number of required inspections was zero. The particulars have continued to fluctuate in recent years.
HCD is part of a patchwork of rental housing regulators in the state. The agency oversees mobile home park inspections, while cities and counties oversee apartment buildings. Single family rentals receive little regulatory scrutiny.
A KPCC/LAist investigation of rental empire PAMA Management found that HCD documented extremely poor conditions at Southern California mobile home parks.
At the California Trailer Grove in Pomona, inspectors found 111 health and safety violations in 2016, including a long-running sewage problem. The park had been the site of a typhus outbreak the previous year. HCD suspended its license in 2016 and again in 2018.
At 4J’s Mobile Home Park in Oildale, an HCD inspector found residents living in unlicensed mobile homes, and an imminent electrical hazard in January 2016. Weeks later, a five month-old girl died at the park in a fire. An attorney with the California Department of Real Estate wrote that the “complete disregard for all Health and Safety Code statutes and regulations that are intended to protect the public led to the death of an infant.”
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