With AB 1472 in the rear-view mirror (for now), what lies ahead for the RV park industry?
We have had a nice run of laying low and falling back on the RV park residency law – (California Civil Codes Chapter 2.6) to assist with removals and evictions. But now that we have been in the limelight it might be time to clean up our act a bit and fly right rather than under the radar.
Many RV parks need long term tenants to stay afloat so it has become common practice to allow for a percentage of the park to become “residential”. The appearance of residential affordable housing is the very thing that will bury us in the legislature in the very near future.
If it walks like a duck and floats like a duck, then it must be a duck. If we look like and act like low-income housing, then that is how we will be perceived and regulated. As an industry, we must operate our parks as though they are 100% transient even though we may have long term guests, but how do we do that?
A good solid set of rules THAT YOU ACTUALLY FOLLOW. Rules are of no use if you allow everyone to break them, and our attorney partners will appreciate your adherence to your own rules when they must defend you in an unlawful detainer case.
Utilize the Special Occupancy Parks Act and RVP Law. Did you know that your guest CANNOT occupy more than 75% of their site? It is the law.
Do you know the civil code rules for accessory structures? If you don’t, you should.
What about modification of an RV (you know like those window AC units)? Yes, that means the RV has been modified and cannot be in your park.
What about an RVIA (or similar) seal of approval? The RVIA changed the wording on their seal to read “This recreational vehicle is designed for temporary recreational camping or seasonal use.” Manufacturers will no longer warranty a vehicle that is being “lived” in full time. An RV must have a seal, or the owner must self-declare for the vehicle to be in an RV park. Do you have a self-declare waiver?
The vehicle must be operable and registered with the DMV (not as a non-op). This means that all the systems must be operable. Toilet, shower, refrigerator, AC, and appliances must all be operable as well as the vehicle itself. The vehicle and tow vehicle (if applicable) must be registered with tags on. This is a basic state law. If they can’t follow this, they will not follow your park rules.
This might be difficult to hear, but parks that are operating as residential parks may want to consider reregistering as a mobile home park to avoid the inference on your counterparts who choose to be transient that all RV parks are low-income housing.
A great deal of thought was put into SOPA by the founders of this association. It set to separate RV parks and their transient occupancy from full time mobile home parks. Now we are at risk of losing the very code and law that make us unique.
See you on the road.
It was a long legislative day yesterday, but as of 8:16 pm we had our vote on AB 1472 (Alvarez – San Diego).
AB 1472 set to fine parks for allowing reregistration of tenants under the assumption that the only reason they were asked to leave was to prevent residency. CalOHA, along with our lobbyist, Andrew Govenar, representatives from Terra Vista Mgmt, Santee Lakes Recreation District, and the Western Fairs Association opposed the legislation in a challenging battle that pit RV parks against affordable housing.
AB 1472 was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 27th. At that time the committee instructed the Asm to work with opposition on amendments and bring it back for a vote only on July 11th. It is anyone’s guess as to why the Asm took the path he did, but the bill was brought back to committee with no amendments and no attempt to work with opposition.
AB 1472 failed in Senate Judiciary Committee as a vote only 2-6 on July 11th. Senators Weiner (San Francisco) and Durazo (Los Angeles) voted Aye. Senators Umberg (Anaheim), Ashby, (Sacramento), Min (Orange), Laird (Central Coast), Neillo (Elk Grove to Yuba City), Caballero (Fresno) voted NO. Wilk (Palmdale/Lancaster), Allen (LA Ventura coast) and Stern (Ventura County) abstained.
Senator Laird moved for reconsideration, and it was granted, meaning that Asm Alvarez can bring the bill back in the spring. However, the strong opposition from the committee would indicate a full need to gut and amend before presenting to the committee again. It is likely that the bill will be brought back to committee in some form and unlikely the Asm will work with opposition.
However, this is just the beginning of what could be more legislation between RV parks and housing issues. As an industry we need to look to the future and what direction we should take to protect our parks. 20+ years ago the founders of CalOHA took the initiative to write SOPA. Now it is time to rethink RV parks and where we want to land for the next 20 years.
Please take a moment to thank the Senators, especially if they are in your district, for their support of RV parks and campgrounds throughout California.
Need to find your representatives?
California Outdoor Hospitality Association has a long history of success advocating for its members before the California State Legislature and pushing back against aggressive state bureaucracies.
Over the years, CalOHA has won its members the ability to build and rent tent and camping cabins to their customers, carved RV Parks out of the onerous tenant protection requirements mobile home parks are subject to by passing the Special Occupancy Parks Act and pushed back for years against costly regulations by Regional Water Quality Control Boards.
As of lately, California Outdoor Hospitality Association has been fighting tooth and nail against Assembly Bill 1472, which strips RV parks and campgrounds of their right to ask tenants to leave the premises and then allow them to come back and reregister. This would appear to be the first step in classifying RV parks as mobile home parks and eliminating our no cause evictions.
In response to this bill, CalOHA launched a letter writing campaign. We contacted both association members and nonmembers across the state requesting they send in opposition letters to Senator Tom Umberg. The response we received was not only immediate, but enormous as well. Thanks to our lobbyist and the RV parks and campgrounds of California, our association was able to abolish AB 1472. This bill and our fight against it begs the question:
Why do our advocacy efforts matter?
Our industry is continuously growing. However, if we do not take care of them, RV parks and campgrounds may not be able to sustain themselves in the future. Alongside our members and partners, CalOHA works hard to expand the travel and tourism industry while protecting RV parks and campgrounds from harmful legislation. We do this by lobbying and enlisting your help to fight with us.
California Outdoor Hospitality Association has strength in numbers. The support of our members is what allows us to continue fighting and advocating for the future of the outdoor hospitality industry. The connection between a legislator and the district they represent is incredibly powerful. With members in virtually every legislative district in California, CalOHA has the ability to engage with many legislators in a more meaningful way through you. We encourage our members to begin building these relationships early, not just when activated by CalOHA.
The stronger we are together, the better we become.
To find your local California Representative, check out the FindYourRep website!
This year over 2500 bills were introduced to the California legislature. More than we have seen in decades.
Historically, RV parks and campgrounds tend to fly under the radar avoiding some of those bills that wreak havoc on our counterparts, in the mobile home space however as more RV parks are moving to an extended stay model our industry is now suddenly being included in everything from Narcan dispensing, fee transparency, rent control, affordable housing bills and even updating the Special Occupancy Parks Act.
As the state looks to “solve” the problem of not enough camping sites, brought about by its own inability to deal with state park registration issues, they have looked to RV parks for a solution but what they see is parks filled with long term residents. Without context, independent RV parks have taken on the look of affordable housing but what isn’t seen is that parks provide a service to the community. They house teachers for a season, line workers bringing new power, traveling nurses, and even state legislators.
To a politician looking to expand travel and tourism it would appear that RV parks are not a reasonable option stating that “tourists do not want to vacation where others live”. So, they are removing our transient business for what they believe is a more suitable experience for the out of state traveler.
While on the other end of the bookshelf, legislators are forcing RV parks into full time affordable housing completely disregarding our travel and tourism segment. They see our industry as a solution to the housing crisis and perhaps even the homeless crisis. Little understanding is given to the “intent” by which a traveler chooses to stay at a park, and they are blissfully ignorant to the role RV parks play in supporting travel and tourism during the winter months when our parks fill with snowbirds.
Between opposing legislation, RV parks are being bookended into a death spiral and it won’t stop here. When the unintended consequences start rolling in new legislation will be introduced to correct the inaccuracies of the bills on the table today. SOPA is on the table and if we don’t get involved with the process the legislators will do it for us.
As an industry we must take a stand. It is time to encourage those parks that are not members to join us in support. It is time for you as members to get involved. And it is time to hold your board of directors accountable.
We need to stop the spiral before it is too late.
See you on the road.
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