Eminent Domain – The Overview

There has been a lot of discussion recently among MH park residents about the use of eminent domain to force the park owner to sell the park to the resident group.  

Note that the residents are actually talking about the use of eminent domain powers of government to adversely condemn someone’s private property against their will for the public good.  

This is very different from “Friendly Condemnation”, where the park owner agrees to be condemned and sell to the resident group, and gets some tax benefits in exchange.  (We have used Friendly Condemnation several times with resident park purchases and it works just fine.)

Some of what I have read about the eminent domain discussion is accurate, some of it not accurate.

Regarding the legality, I worked with Will Constantine, a Santa Cruz, CA attorney, on the Surf & Sand MHP issue.  I talked with Will, reviewed his correspondence, and reviewed the relevant CA legal documents.  

Bottom Line: Will thinks, (and I agree) that in California local government powers can be used to acquire an MHP for the benefit of the resident group.

But, that usually isn’t the end (or even the beginning) of the story. 

Getting to the end of the game – owning the park – takes dealing with a lot more issues, such as:

  • Political Issues
  • Financial Issues
  • Organizational Issues
  • Timing Issues
  • Owner Issues
  • Unknown Issues specific to your park

I will discuss each of these in future BLOGS.

I’ll be in touch,

Deane

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