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Effective Use of Workplace Violence Petitions in Your Community

Manufactured Home Communities (MHC) are typically very nice communities in which to live and work. Everyone gets along and residents embrace community policies, community management, and the relationship between the residents and the employees is one of cooperation and mutual respect. However, sometimes, tempers flare and residents focus their tempers and frustration on the community management. Sometimes this can lead to threats of violence against the community management. What is a community owner to do? This article focuses on how California has come to the aid of community owners to protect some of their best assets, their community management employees.

Rule Enforcement: Effective Use of Seven Day Notices

In California, for parks with residents who are not complying with the park's rules and regulations, the Mobilehome Residency Laws, California Civil Code § 798 et seq. ("MRL"), provide park owners and managers with tools to effectively enforce the park's rules and regulations. The MRL provides a procedure to serve a Seven Day Notice for rules violations for "failure to comply with a reasonable rule or regulation of the park that is part of the rental agreement." MRL § 798.56(d). The focus of this article is California-centric, and while your state might not have rules specific for your communities, you will find this information insightful.

"Substantial Annoyance" as a Basis for Eviction

Park residents are constantly complaining to Park owners or management about how "annoying" their neighbors can be at times. Park owners can address the majority of these situations through friendly informal notices. However, if a homeowner or resident's conduct begins jeopardizing the quiet enjoyment, health or safety of other Park residents; swift action is required by the Park owner. Like other jurisdictions, California Civil Code § 798.56(b) authorizes termination of a homeowner or resident's tenancy for conduct constituting a "substantial annoyance to other homeowners or residents." Under the right situation, it can be one of the most effective tools available to a Park to ensure safety and security for its residents. This article will focus on the California requirements for terminating an "annoying" tenant in a Community.

State Law vs. Federal Law - Is the "Grass" Greener?

Many manufactured home communities are located in states that have legalized, decriminalized, or provided for the medical use and possession of marijuana. California was the first state to establish a medical marijuana program, enacted by Proposition 215 in 1996 which was followed up by Senate Bill 420 in 2003. In 2010, Senate Bill 1449 was enacted in California and decriminalized the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a citation, similar to a traffic violation, with a $100 fine and no mandatory court appearance or criminal record. Marijuana has been legalized in Colorado and Washington State and decriminalized or allowed for medical purposes in twenty-five other states and the District of Columbia. However, marijuana remains a Schedule I substance that is illegal under federal law.

Potential Liability Alert - Free Wi-Fi and Copyright Infringement Claims

Wi-Fi is everywhere and much of the time it is offered for "free." Starbucks offers it. So, too, does McDonald's. In fact, you may even be offering it yourself. And, while many businesses understand that it is a great way to bring in new customers and business, many do not understand the potential implications of allowing relatively unfettered access to the Internet. Recently, we've had a number of clients learn about the implications the hard way. They received what are known as DMCA "takedown" notices. And with those takedown notices, they have received demand letters from Beverly Hills law firms, movie studios, and television networks threatening lawsuits and potential monetary damages reaching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Suddenly, free Wi-Fi access may not seem like such a great idea.

Clubhouse Use and "Social Hosts"

Many manufactured home communities have clubhouses for park and social events. Those events may be sponsored by the Park, but are also frequently sponsored by individuals or groups that reside within a given manufactured home community. An ongoing issue in many parks is whether to allow the service of alcoholic beverages at events held in a park's clubhouse. My firm, as a generality, always encourages any park owner that allows the use of a common area facility for an event where alcohol will be served, to require some form of additional adequate insurance.

Broker Communications and Claims Against Insurers

Mobile home parks typically carry liability insurance. Most policies are placed through a trusted insurance broker. When a claim or a lawsuit arises, the natural reaction is to contact the broker about tendering the matter to the insurer for coverage. After all, the broker has easy access to the policy information, and can quickly ascertain how to tender the claim. Assisting a client with claims is typically part of an insurance broker's services and is usually included within the fees paid for placing insurance. But is using your broker to tender a claim a good idea? Not always.

Keeping Your Promises: A Modern Day Tale

The foundation in the United States for commercial business, between consumers and retail sellers, as well as between business owners, is the sacrosanct idea that a promise in a contract is to be performed. The underlying expectation is the basis for all of our economic successes (and sometimes failures). This expectation is both an unwritten moral code as well as firmly embraced in our laws. For example, the United States Constitution even contains prohibitions on Congress, though hard to enforce, against laws that would excessively impair with an existing and ongoing contract. (Article 1, Section 10)

Recent Developments Regarding Enforceability of Binding Arbitration Agreements Under State and Federal Law

The U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have again weighed in on the thorny issue of the enforceability of binding arbitration agreements. The following is a brief recap of those decisions and how they will impact the enforceability of arbitration agreements between parties well into the future. Owners and managers should pay particular attention to these decisions because they may have a direct impact on agreements that affect you that are currently in place or that you may enter into in the future.

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