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Delaware Department of Justice
Attorney General
Kathy Jennings

Fraud & Consumer Protection Division



Manufactured Housing


The General Assembly called for the creation of the Office of the Manufactured Housing Ombudsperson (“MHO”) in 2018.  The Office was formally launched in October 2019.  The purpose of the MHO is to (1) provide information to home owners and community owners about relevant laws and their rights and responsibilities thereunder; (2) attempt to resolve disputes between home owners and community owners; and (3) ensure that parties abide by Delaware Law by investigating complaints and, where appropriate, referring matters to the Consumer Protection Unit for potential enforcement actions. 

 

An ombudsperson is someone who investigates complaints and problems and attempts to resolve them.

The MHO assists home owners, home owners’ associations (“HOAs”) representing home owners, and community owners in manufactured home communities in understanding their rights and responsibilities, investigates complaints, and attempts to resolve disputes fairly.

Education

The MHO provides resources to home owners, HOAs, and community owners about manufactured housing law and other relevant laws, rules, and regulations. The majority of resources are available under Helpful Links. Some are also available as print resources.

The MHO can also provide speakers to present on issues relevant to manufactured housing in Delaware. To request a speaker for your event, please click here.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

In situations where there is an ongoing dispute between parties, the parties involved may wish to attempt to resolve their dispute without having to go through the time and expense of litigation. For example, community owners and home owners in a dispute about whose responsibility it is to correct a problematic condition in the community may wish to attempt to resolve the matter with a negotiated solution prior to any potential litigation.

Although parties can negotiate resolutions to disputes on their own, they often benefit from assistance from a neutral third party. Such assistance can take several forms that are collectively called “Alternative Dispute Resolution” or “ADR.”

Home owners and community owners who wish to attempt to resolve their disputes without litigation can request mediation services through the MHO. Both parties must agree to mediation for the MHO to provide services.

More details about mediation, and a form to request mediation services through the MHO, can be found here.

Complaint Investigation and Resolution

The MHO accepts complaints from home owners and attempts resolve those complaints by working with both home owners and community owners to find mutually agreeable resolutions. When a dispute cannot be resolved, the MHO investigates the complaint to determine if there have been violations of Delaware laws. The MHO does not represent either side of the dispute.

If the MHO concludes that there appear to be violations of Delaware laws that the Consumer Protection Unit is empowered to enforce, the MHO will refer the matter to the CPU.  The CPU will make the final determination as to whether to file an enforcement action on behalf of the State of Delaware.  Other matters may be referred to other enforcement agencies as appropriate, and those agencies will determine what actions to take based on their own procedures.

Other than very limited investigation to ensure that proper notices were sent out and that the statutorily required meetings occurred, the MHO does not investigate rent increases subject to the Rent Justification Act. 25 C. §§ 7050-7056. Challenges to rent increases are initiated by filing a petition for arbitration with the Delaware Manufactured Home Relocation Authority (“DEMHRA”).  DEMHRA has sample letters and forms available on its website, including petitions for arbitration. The MHO cannot investigate whether any particular rent increase should be considered justified under the Rent Justification Act.

To file a complaint with the MHO, please download and complete the complaint form below or at this link.

If you have a manufactured housing issue that you would like the Consumer Protection Unit to review, please fill out our Manufactured Housing Consumer Complaint Form (below) and return it via the instructions on the form.

The complaint form is a fillable PDF. This means you can type directly into the application on your computer or device. To successfully complete the form, please follow the steps below.

  1. Ensure you have Adobe Acrobat Reader prior to trying to save the form to submit online. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, please find a free download for the software for the following devices: Desktop Computers | iPhone/iPad | Android | Windows Phone. This is the only platform that supports the online submission of fillable PDF’s. If you are using a Mac/Apple computer or device, do not fill out the form using Preview. Please use Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  2. Download the form.
  3. Save the form to your computer or device.
  4. Open the now-saved PDF in Adobe Acrobat Reader and complete the form.
  5. Save the completed form to your computer or device.

The form will not automatically save your information for your reference, even after you have downloaded it. In order to fill in the form and make necessary changes as you go along or after you submit it, you must save the form to your computer or device prior to inputting any information into it.

If you don’t have access to Adobe Acrobat Reader, you may download the form, print it out, complete the application, and mail, or scan it in to email it to the Delaware Department of Justice Consumer Protection Unit:

Delaware Department of Justice
Consumer Protection Unit
Carvel State Office Bldg.
820 N. French St., 5th fl.
Wilmington, DE 19801

Manufactured Housing Complaint Form (Bilingual)

Form Power of Attorney

The following model bylaws were previously incorporated into the Delaware Code as an example of bylaws that comply with Delaware law.  HOAs are not required to utilize these bylaws but must ensure that their bylaws comply with Delaware law.   These model bylaws are provided here as a courtesy for home owners who are forming HOAs.  The MHO makes reasonable efforts to ensure that these bylaws are kept current but cannot guarantee that the bylaws will be changed immediately after changes in the relevant statutes take effect.  Home owners wishing to form an HOA are advised to consult the Delaware Code or with an attorney.

The MHO’s model bylaws for HOAs can be found here.

Office Location:

Delaware Department of Justice
Office of the Manufactured Housing Ombudsperson
102 W. Water St.
Dover, DE 19904

Please direct all mail to:

Delaware Department of Justice
Office of the Manufactured Housing Ombudsperson
820 N. French St., 5th Floor
Wilmington, DE 19801

Phone:  (302) 577-5035
Fax:  (302) 577-6499
manufactured.housing@delaware.gov

 

 

Helpful Links

County Resources

 

New Castle County

Code Enforcement: (302) 395-5555
New Castle County Police: (302) 573-2800

Kent County

Inspections and Enforcement: (302) 744-2451
Delaware State Police: (302) 739-7300

Sussex County

Code Enforcement: (302) 855-7819
Delaware State Police: (302) 739-7300

FAQs

 




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