22 Oct Pass Through Fees: Legal?
Pass through fees, or pass through rents, are legal in California. These fees are in addition to the rent as stated in the lease or rental agreement. The lease or rental agreement must provide for such assessments or fees for items such as maintenance, upgrades, and other services. Fees for services rendered such as garbage pick up should be spelled out in the rental agreement or lease. Also included should be services billed, such as for water usage, electricity, etc. according to Civil Code §798.32(a).
If these items are not covered in the lease or rental agreement, this Civil Code requires 60-day advance written notice. By signing a new lease or rental agreement which includes these fees, the renter is agreeing to pay said fees. The law does not require an advance notice for increases with an already existing fee.
There may be some local ordinances which have mobilehome park rent control. These ordinances may regulate some of the fees or pass-through rents which parks can charge their residents. For instance, an example of an ordinance might be to differentiate between maintenance and capital improvements. This could control whether to allow a pass-through fee of a particular capital improvement, which would be amortized over a certain period of time.
To recap: If not specifically mentioned in the lease or rental agreement, a 60-day advance written notice is required for a new fee not previously listed. However, it is important to note that prior notice isn’t required for an increase in an existing fee, covered in the lease or rental agreement previously. This is just one area where having the properly prepared leases and rental agreements are vitally important. Having things spelled out in writing allows for proper preparation of expectations for both mobile home park owners and park tenants. No one appreciates an unexpected financial hit of extra fees they were not anticipating.