July 9, 2020
The Governor of California
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Speaker of the Assembly
Sacramento, California 95814
Dear Governor and Legislative Leaders:
As directed by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, my office conducted an audit of the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Our assessment focused on the mobile home park and complaint inspections that HCD conducts under its Mobilehome and Special Occupancy Parks Program (parks program). This report concludes that HCD can better protect mobile home park residents’ health and safety by improving its inspection processes. It also needs to better manage the costs and resources of the parks program.
Although HCD is meeting its statutory goal of conducting park inspections at 5 percent of parks annually, it did not conduct park inspections at more than half of the active parks in its jurisdiction between 2010 and 2019, and its data indicate that it did not visit 9 percent of parks, or 330 parks representing 5,700 mobile home units, for any reason during that time. Long gaps between inspectors’ visits to a park increase the risk that health and safety violations remain undetected and unreported. By improving its selection process for annual park inspections to include some parks that it has not visited in recent years and implementing guidance for informal visits, HCD could reduce the risks posed by health and safety violations at parks.
Furthermore, HCD also has not adequately communicated with residents during park inspections and with individuals who submit complaints. For example, HCD did not consistently notify residents of violations within required time frames, nor did it share all required information about the rights, responsibilities, and resources available to park residents. As a result, some residents may have missed opportunities to obtain help in correcting violations before parks initiated steps to evict them.
We further identified in our audit the following aspects of HCD’s parks program that it could improve.
- HCD lacks the information necessary to determine how much work related to the parks program it performs and to properly determine inspector staffing levels.
- HCD has not adequately overseen its inspectors to ensure appropriate use of state time and resources.
- HCD has not taken adequate steps to determine whether inspectors have potential conflicts of interest related to the parks they inspect.
- HCD has not sufficiently evaluated the enforcement of health and safety standards by local enforcement agencies at mobile home parks to which it has delegated this responsibility.
ELAINE M. HOWLE, CPA
California State Auditor