A bill that would give more protections to mobile home owners who rent land in mobile home parks could face an uphill battle this legislative session, supporters of the legislation say.
Backers of the bill hope it will at least generate more discussion on the issue during the short 30-day legislative session.
"We are hoping that we can rekindle some interest in this issue," said Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, who filed House Bill 327 on Thursday. "We are hoping to at least get a hearing in a committee and some debate."
Among other things, House Bill 327 would establish good cause for evictions of mobile home residents and would require at least a 60-day notice before someone can be evicted from a mobile home park. Currently, people who own a mobile home and rent month to month with no lease, can be given notice of eviction without cause. They then have 30 days to remove their mobile homes from the park. A move can cost between $2,000 and $4,000. Many mobile home owners don't have the money to move their mobile homes and instead abandon or sell the homes, advocates say.
Kentucky is one of only 14 states that has no specific protections for people who own their mobile homes but lease land in a mobile home park.
Wayne said the bill addresses loopholes in current landlord-tenant laws.
"It basically establishes legal protections for residents so there would be just cause for eviction and gives them time to move their mobile home," Wayne said. "This gives them the same protections as renters."
Rich Seckel, director of the nonprofit Kentucky Equal Justice, has pushed the legislature to pass more protections for mobile home owners. Wayne sponsored similar bills geared toward mobile home owner protections from 2004 to 2007. But those bills were opposed by the manufactured home industry. In 2005, a mobile home protection bill was heard in committee but never made it to the House floor for a vote.
"I think it's going to take some movement on the part of (House) leadership and the manufactured home industry stakeholders," Seckel said of getting the bill through the House.
Wayne said Friday that he hopes the bill will at least get a hearing so the issue can be discussed. Supporters may have to push the issue in the 2016 legislative session, which is a 60-day session.
Recent media attention on mobile home parks prompted him to file the bill again, Wayne said. The Herald-Leader wrote a story about the issue in December, and other media outlets in northern Kentucky and Louisville have highlighted issues with mobile home parks.
The manufactured home industry has said the bills would make it too difficult for landlords to evict bad tenants. The state already has sufficient protections for mobile home owners in its current landlord and tenant law, they argue. The industry has also argued that the bills would give too many protections to tenants and not enough protections to mobile home park owners.