RV Park Style

Summer 2002 CSANews Issue 43  |  Posted date : Apr 06, 2007.Back to list

That is a question many snowbirds and RV park residents are asking in light of Florida's newest legislative changes. And, it's one that Florida legislators appear to have ignored.

In 2001, Florida passed extensive legislation that put real "teeth" in laws to protect the mobile home community owner, that requires park owners to comply with more stringent regulation. Specifically, this law mandates that mobile home owners: "be privy to full and fair disclosure of terms and conditions governing occupancy; full access to records; full participation in all discussions with park owners; full disclosure of current and future obligations pertaining to tenancy; just compensation in the event of change of land use; the right of home owners to sell without interference from park owners, the right to organize and use common areas without interference from park owners; and the right to have rules applied equally and uniformly." These changes to statute FS 723 were sponsored by such open-minded state representatives as Bruce Kyle of Ft. Myers, and cheered by residents of mobile home communities throughout the state. However, many mobile home residents were forgotten in this process. They can be found in numerous RV parks throughout Florida.

There are many RV parks in Florida that aggressively advertise and sell "Park Model" and "Double-Wide" mobile home units within their properties. These units, when located in a mobile home park, are protected by FS 723, yet they are excluded from this statute when located in an RV park. Why?

The homes are identical. Tie-downs, height regulations, licensing and taxation apply equally to each installation. Costs to relocate these units are identical to those in mobile home parks. The only difference between the two appears to be the designation of the property use.

RV parks that were established many years ago could expect near-total occupancy in the peak season and near-total vacancy when "snowbirds" towed their trailers north as the season closed. However, it was not long before the parks recognized the value of offering permanent tie-downs to retain a higher percentage of predictable annual rentals. In years past, the travel trailer was simply tied down to an RV site and skirting installed, along with permanent water, sewer, electric, telephone and cable TV connections. In recent years, "Park Model" and "Double-Wide" mobile home units have replaced the older travel trailers. Most of these units have added Florida rooms that are taxed equally to those found in mobile home parks ­ further evidence of the permanence of these homes.

Make no mistake. Florida's legislators are to be commended for their work on FS 723. The changes have been long overdue and other states should take notice of Florida's initiative. Now, it's time for our legislators to get out and take a good look at RV parks and the changes that have taken place over the past couple of decades. They will certainly find that a metamorphosis has occurred. It's time to change a few words in the Florida statutes and to include these mobile homes located within RV parks under the protection of FS 723.

Interested parties are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the current Florida state statutes. On the Internet, Florida's "Online Sunshine" home page at www.leg.state.fl.us provides links to existing statutes, legislation in progress, names and addresses of legislators by district, and much more. The Federation of Manufactured Home Owners of Florida (FMO) is an excellent source of current events affecting the mobile home community, and legislative lobby efforts by the FMO are largely responsible for successful changes to the law in 2001. Although our focus is on the state of Florida, residents in other states should research the law applicable to their parks. The officers of our residents' association will be happy to discuss this issue at any time. Please feel free to contact us.

Robert V. Lang is the Vice-President of The Indian Creek Park Residents' Association and can be reached at:
Robert V. Lang
17340 San Carlos Blvd. #710
Ft. Myers Beach, FL 33931