Park Maintenance Problems

Are there problems with drinking water, septic systems, electrical wiring, roads, or trees at your park?

On this page, you will learn the steps you can take for any health or safety problem and specific information about septic, water, electric, road, and tree issues.

You can also call us at (802) 660-3455 x204.

Health and safety regulations for mobile home parks

Mobile home park owners must keep their parks “safe, clean and fit for human habitation” under Vermont law.

Read detailed rules about park health and safety from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

Steps to remedy health and safety problems

If you believe that your park or lot is not safe, here are some steps you can take to remedy the situation.

1. Put it in writing! Always mail a written notice to the park owner and property manager informing them both of the problem and of what actions you intend to take.  If your situation ever goes to court, e-mails, phone calls, or in-person conversations won’t count. Use our form letter if you like. Date the letter, keep a copy for your records, and consider sending it certified mail.

2. Contact your town health officer or the appropriate governmental agency. See septic, water, electric, below.  A town health officer or safety inspector can order the park owner to make repairs, and their report is your proof that the problem exists. The report is also your insurance against a retaliatory eviction. Always request a copy of your health inspection report. (Retaliatory evictions are illegal.)

3. If the owner/manager fails to make the repairs within a “reasonable amount of time,” you have sent a written notice, and the situation seriously affects your health or safety, you can take any or all of the following steps. A “reasonable amount of time” depends on the seriousness of the problem.

(a) Withhold lot rent. If you do withhold rent, you must not spend the money. A judge could decide you were incorrect in withholding rent and you would be ordered to pay some or all of what you withheld to the owner. It is best to put the rent into a separate account or certificate of deposit at a bank each time it is due.
(b) End your lease and move out after giving the park owner a “reasonable notice period.” (Again “a reasonable notice period” would depend on the seriousness of the problem.)
(c) Get an order from a judge forcing the park owner to make the repairs.
(d) Sue for damages and attorney’s costs.

Vermont Legal Aid (800-889-2047) may be able to help you or refer you to Law Line for advice in representing yourself.

Information about specific problems

Septic

The park owner is responsible for taking care of any part of the septic system that is underground. Homeowners are responsible for pipes above ground, and for any damage they have caused themselves.

A failed septic system is a wastewater system that…

  • Is uncovered or allows septic materials to surface up onto the ground,
  • Leaks septic material into surface water, or allows/causes septic to backup into the mobile homes,
  • Causes contamination of the water supply, or
  • Otherwise creates a health hazard.

Signs of a failed septic system include sewage backup into the mobile home or a spongy, wet leach field area.

If you suspect your septic system has failed, call your town health officer or your regional office of the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Water

Mobile home park water must be safe for humans to drink, wash, bathe, prepare food, etc. and it must be in adequate supply and pressure for normal daily use. The park owner is responsible for maintenance of pipes up to the point where they surface from the ground beneath the home. You are responsible for pipes above ground and in your home.

Who should you call about problems with your drinking water? It depends how your water is supplied. If you have municipal water, or if your park has its own system connecting 15 or more households, the water is regulated by the Drinking Water and Ground Water Protection Division, (800) 823-6500. These larger systems are considered “public” and monthly testing is required.

If your park has its own water system and fewer than 15 households are connected, your system is “private.” No regular testing is required by law. If you suspect problems with your water, ask your town health officer to test a sample. When there are serious problems, the Department of Environmental Conservation can intervene.

Electric

When you move in, you are responsible for hooking up your electric service. After that, you are responsible for the wiring inside your house and the park owner is responsible for the electric service to the mobile home including the “feeder line” from a nearby “shut off.”

The following are indications that your home or your park may have a problem with the electrical system:

  1. Fuses or breakers are tripping often
  2. You feel a sensation (current or shock) inside or around your home
  3. Lights have been dimming
  4. Unusually high electric bills

If there are problems with your park’s electrical system, call your regional office of the Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety.

Roads

In its housing rules, Vermont sets standards for mobile home park roads:

  • you can safely enter and exit the park
  • snow is plowed in a timely manner and icy conditions are mitigated
  • roads are reasonably free of potholes or depressions

It can be difficult to prove there is a safety problem with your roads. Ask your local fire department to determine whether their trucks can use the roads, and to write a statement for you.

Trees

Under new state rules adopted on February 1, 2013, park owners are responsible for tree maintenance. If a tree or branch is threatening your home, notify your landlord in writing, and “CC” (carbon copy) your homeowner’s insurance company.

Guidebooks and sample letter for park maintenance issues

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