Written on: November 4th, 2015 in Manufactured Housing
The Delaware Manufactured Home Relocation Authority (“DEMHRA”) requested advice on (i) whether 25 Del. C. § 7014(a) requires DEMHRA to grant abandoned home benefits to an applying landowner when “the home in question has been abandoned before the landowner announced its intent to engage in a change of use in the park”; and (ii) whether the landowner’s continued payment of DEMHRA assessments between the time of a homeowner’s abandonment and the landowner’s announcement of a change in use has any effect on that landowner’s right to collect benefits. Based on our review of the Act, the factual scenario outlined by DEMHRA’s letter and applicable law, we believe that the provisions of the Act that permit DEMHRA to provide financial assistance to landowners for the removal or disposal of an abandoned manufactured home are limited to situations in which the manufactured home in question was abandoned as a result of a “change in use” plan being filed by the landowner. To make the contrary determination would, in our view, expand the limited scope of the Act into a general assistance program designed to help landlords of manufactured home communities with assistance in removing and/or disposing of abandoned manufactured homes. We believe that if the General Assembly had intended to create such a program – the efficacy or desirability of which we take no position on – it would have done so in clear and explicit language. Absent such a legislative change, it is our advice that DEMHRA lacks the authority to provide financial assistance to the landowner in the factual scenario described by your letter.