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City Adopts Manufactured Housing Ordinance, Terminology Matters

April 10th, 2017 Comments off
CityAdoptsManufacturedHousingOrdinanceTerminologyMatterscreditWisconsinDepartmentofProfessionalServices-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Wisconsin Department of Safety Professional Services.

In Groesbeck, Texas the city council passed an ordinance that makes a distinction between manufactured and mobile homes.

According to the Groesbeck Journal, the passing of the ordinance reflects the members’ consensus from a workshop on the subject that they held in early March.

As informed veteran manufactured housing professionals and enthusiasts know, HUD Code manufactured homes that are properly installed and maintained have a similar life expectancy as conventional housing. Any housing that is not, for whatever reason, properly maintained tends to fall into disrepair and can deteriorate more rapidly, and thus, shorten its useful life expectancy.

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Credit: Best Places to Live.

By contrast, pre-HUD Code mobile homes were not routinely built to those same standards. Even so, millions of mobile homes have gone years beyond their projected useful life expectancy.

The council said that the distinction between the two are important, because the term “mobile home” is often used in common parlance to refer to manufactured homes built before and after the defining 1976 date.

The city’s ongoing efforts to regulate manufactured housing have caused some people to believe the city is prohibiting all manufactured housing, regardless of age.

 

Terminology Matters 

In a recent story from the Daily Business News about mobile and manufactured home myths and facts, we shined a bright light on the differences between mobile and manufactured homes, and why terminology matters.

MobileManufacturedHomeFireMythsgoUpinSmokeFireChiefMarkKellerCreditUrbanaFireDivision-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Chief Mark Keller. Official Photo.

This fire involved a true mobile home and was not a manufactured home. I do not have the age of the mobile home available right now,” Urbana Fire Chief Mark Keller told MHProNews.

Mobile homes are inherently bad with fire conditions. They’re not really designed to withhold any kind of fire.”

As an Industry, we are always saddened to hear of such tragedies such as the fire that occurred in Champaign County,” said Andrea Reichman, Assistant Director of the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association (OMHA).

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Andrea Reichman. Credit: LinkedIn.

As noted by the local Fire Chief Mark Keller, the home involved was a ‘mobile home,’ which indicates the home was built prior to the 1976 HUD Code Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards,” Reichman said.

Often times such incidents are reported inaccurately, and facilitate the image that manufactured homes are not safe when nothing could be further from the truth.  Manufactured homes are no more prone to fire than homes built on-site. The 1986 national fire safety study by the Foremost Insurance Company showed that site-built homes are more than twice as likely to experience a fire than manufactured homes,” said Reichman.

The issue in Ohio points to a larger trend that’s happening nationally, and one industry organization cites frustration with “sloppy journalism.”

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M. Mark Weiss. Credit: MHProNews.

While any harm to people or property is regrettable, there is no excuse for sloppy journalism that can harm the industry and consumers. The fact is that today’s federally regulated manufactured homes are as safe or safer than other types of homes when it comes to fire, as shown by research done by the National Fire Protection Association on multiple fire safety metrics,” said M. Mark Weiss, JD, President CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

It is therefore misleading and a disservice to readers to fail to distinguish between pre-1976 ‘mobile homes,’ said Weiss“and today’s manufactured homes. This is why MHARR successfully demanded several years ago that the U.S. Fire Administration remove similarly misleading language from it’s website. 

The industry and consumers need to insist on an accurate media portrayal of today’s high-quality manufactured homes,” said Weiss.

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Credit: MHLivingNews.

For more on from the NFPA report on fire safety of modern manufactured home compared to conventional housing and mobile homes, click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

City Makes Moves to Preserve Affordable Housing

April 6th, 2017 Comments off
CityMakesMovestoPreserveAffordableHousingcreditDailyCamera-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Daily Camera.

In Colorado, city officials in Louisville are working to solve a growing affordable housing crisis.

According to the Daily Camera, the focus is on the sole manufactured home community in the city, the 94-unit Parco Dello Zingaro Mobile Home Park, which has served as a cost effective alternative for a number of decades.

The city is weighing city-funded incentives – tax breaks, loans or grants to promote maintenance of the community.

Affordable housing is certainly something that is critical,” said Councilman Chris Leh.

It’s something that everyone recognizes as increasingly difficult in Louisville, and it’s not going to get any easier.”

Also on the table is the potential for a resident-owned community, similar to nearby Boulder’s Mapleton Mobile Home Park. In this scenario, residents would purchase the community and form a co-op.

Community owners in the area and beyond face intense pressure to sell or redevelop their properties as the community around them grows and land values increase. The Daily Business News recently covered a similar scenario in Calgary, Canada, in a story linked here.

In the area over the last three years, the number of single-family homes for sale under $250,000 has dropped 72 percent, and the number of attached dwellings for less than $150,000 has declined by 87 percent.

And in these desperate times, city officials are looking to manufactured housing as a practical solution.

Generally we can say that in addition to the work we do all over Boulder County, the Boulder County Housing Authority is supportive of efforts that can help preserve existing affordable housing where and when possible,” said Jim Williams, a spokesman for Boulder County Housing and Human Services.

These are complicated issues,” said Councilman Jeff Lipton.

There’s lots of balances that need to be weighed. If there was a way to kind of have those interests come together and the area be designated somehow as an area where we want affordable housing, it could be better for us.”

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Louisville, shaded in red. Credit: Google.

In an affordability study done by Amy Aschenbrenner, CEO of the Longmont Association of Realtors, and Kyle Snyder, of Land Title Guarantee Company, the average single-family home price in Louisville last year was $627,938.

There are no entry level housing options left in Boulder County,” said Snyder.

And, as the dream of homeownership moves further out of reach, housing authority officials have shifted to preserving manufactured housing communities like Parco Dello Zingaro.

City officials recognizing a lack of affordable housing often leads to a chill on development,” said Parco Dello Zingaro owner Keith Cowan.

After dealing with several cities, there are times something is said about lack of affordable housing and the very first thing (the city says) is that you can’t build anymore.

Cowan says that there are fears of him opting to raze the community in favor of more costly townhomes. But as a proponent of affordable housing, he’s actually looking to double down.

My plans are exactly the opposite of redeveloping the park [sic],” said Cowan.

I want to build more, but council and city zoning will not allow that to happen. If you want to restrict it and not allow it to expand, then don’t stand and say we need more affordable housing.”

For more on similar situations, including a case in Melbourne, Australia, click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

City Residents Make Unexpected Moves – Opportunity for MH?

March 31st, 2017 Comments off
CityResidentsMakeUnexpectedMovesOpportunityforMHcreditForbes-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Forbes.

New data shows an interesting trend – popular cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C., normally destinations for living, are actually losing people in mass.

According to a study by Bloomberg, in the 100 most populous U.S. metros, the New York City area ranked 2nd, losing about a net 163,000 residents, Honolulu came in fourth, and Los Angeles came in at 14th.

These areas also have the distinction of having some of the highest inflows of people coming in from outside the country, which has a net result showing a steadily growing population, despite people leaving.

I have an idea of what’s going on here,” said Michael Stoll, a professor of public policy and urban planning at the University of California Los Angeles.

Soaring home prices are pushing local residents out and scaring away potential new ones from other parts of the country.

And, when those people leave, most often those who move in from abroad fill vacant low skilled jobs. How? Stoll has an idea about that as well.

They are able to do so by living in ‘creative housing arrangements,’” said Stoll.

They pack six to eight individuals, or two to four families, into one apartment or home. It’s an arrangement that most Americans just aren’t willing to pursue, and even many immigrants decide it’s not for them as time goes by.”

High skilled foreign workers coming into the country, specifically in the technology industry, they earn enough to live in high cost areas.

They are compensated appropriately and can afford to live in these high-cost areas, just like Americans who hold similar positions,” said Stoll.

One example is Washington, D.C., which had a lot of people from abroad arriving to soak up jobs in the growing tech-hub.

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Credit: Bloomberg.

Rust belt cities like Cleveland, Dayton and Toledo, didn’t fare so well.

Even though the cost of living is low, the cities did not get the same influx of people that the other major cities did, which potentially shows that locals were leaving for lack of jobs.

This is part of a multiple-decade trend of the U.S. population moving away from these manufacturing hubs to areas in the Sun Belt and the Pacific Northwest,” said Stoll.

Retiring baby boomers are also leaving the Northeast and migrating to more affordable places with better climates.

 

Opportunity for Manufactured Housing?

Credit: Yahoo.

Many of those retirees have chosen a familiar location.

According to the Census Bureau, The Villages, Florida, was the nation’s fastest-growing metro area for the fourth year in a row, with a 4.3 percent population increase between 2015 and 2016.” The Villages includes a significant amount of manufactured home communities.

The Daily Business NewsMHProNews and MHLivingNews have covered the case for manufactured housing as a viable solution to hope for the American Dream of home ownership at a reasonable price extensively, including Bloomberg making a statement to the same effect.

The myths, and the facts surrounding manufactured housing abound. To learn more, including why manufactured housing is the solution hiding in plain sight for many to achieve the American Dream, click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

City Makes Decision on Manufactured Home Zoning

March 29th, 2017 Comments off
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A manufactured home in Queensbury, NY. Credit: Bayshore Homes.

In Queensbury, New York, manufactured housing has scored a victory.

According to the Post Star, the town received word that a new state law will require it to allow the manufactured homes in residential districts.

The law, which originally passed in 2015, allows for any single-family manufactured home that “appears similar to other homes” to be included.

This is the catch: if it fits in aesthetically with the character of the neighborhood,” said Supervisor John Strough.

Now, traditionally, mobile homes [sic] are not allowed in your traditional residential district. Now, you cannot zone out manufactured homes.

New York state law now refers to so-called “mobile homes” as manufactured homes. As Daily Business News readers are already aware, most references to “mobile homes” by publications are incorrect, as the last mobile home was built in the U.S. in 1976. For a more detailed history on the journey from mobile to manufactured homes, please click here.

With the news, town officials say that they are now struggling to implement the law.

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Credit: Google.

The difficult part is if it fits in with the character of the neighborhood, said Strough.

Your opinion? My opinion? The neighbors’ opinion? Who does decide? What if it has a homeowners’ association?

It appears that the decision could be left to the town code enforcer or the Planning Board.

I can see some issues,” said Strough. “We’re going to be forced to deal with it.

According to state lawmakers, the law was designed to promote more affordable housing. Town attorneys are researching other municipalities to see how they are handling the integration.

 

Same Old Stereotypes?

The Daily Business NewsMHProNews and MHLivingNews have covered the case for manufactured housing as a viable solution to hope for the American Dream of home ownership at a reasonable price extensively, including Bloomberg making a statement to the same effect.

The myths, and the facts surrounding manufactured housing abound. To learn more, including why manufactured housing is the solution hiding in plain sight for many to achieve the American Dream, click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

City Invests in Manufactured Homes for Affordable Housing

March 27th, 2017 Comments off
CityInvestsinManufacturedHomesforAffordable HousingcreditSonomaWest-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Sonoma West.

In Northern California, the city of Sebastopol is investing $258,000 into a project that establishes affordable housing for low-income residents at the city’s eastern gateway.

A partial solution for that affordable housing? Manufactured homes.

According to Sonoma West, at a city council meeting last week, officials decided to create a mix of affordable manufactured homes and apartments for residents at the Village Mobile Home Park.

Nine acres of the property is designed for the newly created Tomodachi Park and the rest will become a mix of the manufactured homes and apartments.

The $258,000 expenditure includes about $155,000 in construction and renovation work that the city will put out to bid and a $95,000 grant to the West County Community Services (WCCS) agency to manage the housing units and provide services to “precariously housed Sebastopol-area families.

65 people currently reside in the 18 home community, and an agreement with a nearby Guerneville-based nonprofit agency calls for it to provide eight more manufactured homes for new tenants.

City officials stressed that WCCS will not be operating a homeless services center at the location, but will provide support services to residents such as access to medical and substance abuse services.

The agency provides similar services at Sebastopol’s “limited income units” at three other communities in the area.

A major concern for officials is what happens when the nearby Laguna de Santa Rosa River rises and inundates a large area of the property where manufactured homes are located.

The agency will have to develop an emergency evacuation plan that will likely involve hauling threatened mobile home [sic] units to higher ground in event of flooding,” said Tim Miller, WCCS executive director.

Funding for the project is coming from a source called “inclusionary housing fees,” which developers pay in lieu of providing affordable housing units in their buildings.

The city has collected about $360,000 in such fees, but that amount is too small for the city to undertake affordable housing construction on its own,” said Sebastopol Mayor Una Glass. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Modular Tapped to Help City With Housing Needs

March 3rd, 2017 Comments off
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A rendering of one of the modular homes. Credit: Belgrade News.

In Belgrade, Montana, the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) has looked to modular housing as a solution to what the organization calls “immense affordable housing needs.

According to Belgrade News, the HRDC will add 20 small modular homes to land that they already own.

The soon-to-be housing development will be on the plot of land just west of Family Dollar in Belgrade,” said HRDC Special Projects Officer Tracy Menuez.

The HRDC has owned the land for years and decided to move forward on development plans with the city of Belgrade last summer after finding suitable homes to put on it.

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Tracy Menuez. Credit: Youtube.

Menuez says the organization purchased 75 two-bedroom, two-bathroom modular homes from a real estate company in Sidney, and some of the homes have been sold to partner organizations, while others will be placed later when more land becomes available throughout the communities the HRDC serves.

Menuez also provided additional details on the importance of keeping prices in reach for those who need the housing most.

One of the challenges we’ve found with these modulars is finding affordable land to put them on,” said Menuez.

Without affordable land, even the cheapest homes can become unaffordable. By utilizing land the HRDC already owns, we can be sure the homes will remain within the financial reach of lower income families. We want to make sure these are affordable to households who are underserved by our current market.

The plot of land that will be used for the homes will also include some office space and a new Head Start building with four new classrooms. Menuez said that those are critical, as Belgrade has been a high growth area for the Head Start program.

Groundbreaking is expected to take place later this spring and the homes, along with the Head Start program, should be up and running over the summer after the city sorts out issues with infrastructure for water delivery to the area.

In development time, the delay’s really not that much,” said Belgrade City Planner Jason Karp.

It’s frustrating, but the homes will happen.”

Menuez said that there will be an application process of some kind through the HRDC to live in the modular homes, but it is not available yet.

The Daily Business News covered the HRDC last year, in what ended up being a rumor that manufactured housing the organization had was for Syrian refugees. That story is linked here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Op-Ed Takes City to Task, Advocates for MH as Solution

February 22nd, 2017 Comments off
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A home in the Crown Villa community in Bend, Oregon. Credit: Crown Villa.

Former Bend, Oregon mayor and property firm president Allan Bruckner, recently penned an op-ed in The Bulletin, which makes the case for manufactured housing as a solution to the city’s affordable housing crisis.

One of the obvious and most talked about problems in Bend is our need for affordable housing. Yet so far there has been no effective approach to solving this need. There has been some success for apartments, which require a subsidy to the developer, but very little progress for single-family dwellings,” wrote Bruckner.

Why not consider a subdivision based on factory-built housing (previously called mobile homes [sic]) that doesn’t require a subsidy. Economical factory housing is advertised for around $50 per square foot, whereas low-cost, site-built housing in Bend costs around $100 per square foot for a 900- to 1,200-square-foot house. (Costs for land, water, sewer and road are additional.)

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Allan Bruckner. Credit: Source Weekly.

Bruckner continued, speaking very strongly about the negative perceptions of manufactured housing, and how it needs to change.

While they have a historic negative image as creating slum like conditions, or depreciating like junk, that need not be the case,” wrote Bruckner.

For example, consider the successful local examples such as the Romaine Village subdivision or the Crown Villa mobile home park. Each has provided safe, code-compliant, low-cost housing for over 40 years! Each remains very attractive after these 40 years. Why not develop such a project today? And such a project could address a large number of housing units, not like a few ‘ADUs’ (accessory dwelling units) here and there.”

Bruckner went on to discuss the Juniper Ridge industrial park, and its failure over the last 10 years, as an option for the city to redesignate in parts for extensive affordable housing.

He also called for specific restrictions to make sure that it happens.

Of course, just rezoning land for housing will not guarantee its use for low-cost housing, so specific restrictions are necessary,” wrote Bruckner.

To make this truly low-cost housing, the city should make the land available free. At an average price of $100,000 per lot in Bend, combined with factory-built housing at about half the price of site-built houses, this would be a huge savings. With perhaps 10 units per acre, and developing 20 or 30 acres, this approach would have a major impact on availability of affordable housing.

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The Juniper Ridge Industrial Park. Credit: Bend Bulletin.

In closing, Bruckner pointed to the need for the housing, and for action.

The need is obviously great. If we really want to provide affordable housing, why not free land? After all, the city got the land for $1 from the county, which got it free from Bureau of Land Management. Understandably, there would have to be controls so the resident gets the benefit of free land, and doesn’t get a windfall upon resale, but those are solvable legal issues. (Perhaps the city places a lien on the property, maybe releasable gradually over time),” wrote Bruckner.

It could provide a huge increase in affordable housing with limited out-of-pocket costs to taxpayers. If this problem is to be addressed, it is time for bold action.” ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

As Cities Zone Out, Industry Pros Ask – are HUD Code Manufactured Homes Discriminated Against?

December 16th, 2016 Comments off

AlamosaCOmanufacturedHome-creditZillow-com-postedManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe HUD Code has de facto become a discrimination code,”  attorney Marty Lavin told MHProNews some months ago.

Lavin – an award-winning expert with decades of manufactured home lending, communities and retailing experience – was pointing to incidents like the one in the Meyersdale Borough Council, near Somerset, Pennsylvania.

The council are moving towards a ban of manufactured homes outside of land-leaes communities, as the Daily American reports.

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Marty Lavin, JD.

The Alamosa, Colorado city council is likewise planning a public hearing next week on a temporary moratorium for manufactured homes in their city.

The Alamosa News reports that City Attorney Erich Schwiesow and City Public Works Director Pat Steenburg explained that the city’s code is unclear regarding pre-HUD mobile, manufactured homes and modular homes, but they are updating the code, a process that Schwiesow is hoping will be completed before May when the moratorium would end.

Homes would still be allowed in manufactured home communities but not in other parts of the city until the code is revised.

Homes that are IRC (International Residential Code) certified would be permitted regardless. That too is a de facto discriminatory act against federally certified HUD Code manufactured housing.

The city’s code currently does not make a clear distinction between mobile homes, manufactured homes and modular homes,” said Schwiesow.

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Would private property installations like the one shown above be prohibited by the growing number of local jurisdictions seeking to limit or ban manufactured homes outside of land-lease communities or specifically zoned MH developments?

The code prohibits ‘mobile homes’ [sic] anywhere in the city except mobile home parks [sic] but does not define ‘mobile home [sic].’”
Schwiesow added that the moratorium would affect a relatively small number of homeowners during that time.

Apparently, Schwiesow and/or the Alamosa News is unaware that there have been no mobile homes built in over 40 years, and that the definitions are defined by federal law.

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Pat Steenburg. Official photo.

Right now the problem is trying to determine mobile home, manufactured home, modular,” Steenburg added.
Steenburg stressed that they city needs to be clear on this subject, and the code update that is underway would accomplish that goal.

Views From the Industry

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Richard Nodel, owner, Nodel Parks, photo credit, LinkedIn.

It is not unprecedented for a city to issue a temporary moratorium on a specific activity while they rewrite a statute,” said Richard Nodel, Owner of Nodel Parks.

That being said, this could just be another case of MH being unfairly restricted. Situations like this is where the state manufactured housing association can be of great help. In many instances the association will present testimony and bring other resources to combat those that are opposing the placement of homes. I would wait to see what the city does in May and then take action if necessary.

These cases underscore the HUD program’s utter failure to fulfill a fundamental purpose of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 — i.e.,”facilitating the availability of affordable manufactured homes … for all Americans” and utilizing enhanced federal preemption under the same law (as well as other tools available to the Department) to prevent communities from either barring HUD-regulated manufactured housing altogether, or unreasonably restricting where today’s high-quality HUD Code homes can be placed,” said attorney Mark Weiss.

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Mark Weiss, MHARR. Photo credit, MHProNews.

Weiss is the president and CEO of Washington, DC based Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), which primarily represents the independent producers of HUD Code manufactured Homes.

Weiss said, “While the program has continually ratcheted-up needless regulation, it has sat on its hands when it comes to protecting the basic right of manufactured home owners to live where they wish.” ##

(Editor’s note: a similar incident was reported in the report, linked here.)

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

City Weighs Repair Assistance Options for MH Community Residents

December 14th, 2016 Comments off
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Residents discuss their options in light of rent increases. Credit: East Bay Times.

Residents of a San Leandro, California manufactured home community are facing rent increases next month, but they may get assistance from city leaders through a proposed minor home repair program.

According to the East Bay Times, the proposal was presented by San Leandro staff at the City Council meeting on December 5th, and suggests partnering with nonprofit Rebuilding Together in nearby Oakland to exclusively help residents in the Trailer Haven Mobile Home and RV Park.

The program would be funded by $150,000 in city tax revenues from the 8.23-acre property and would focus on three key repair categories:

  • deferred maintenance,
  • health and safety fixes or upgrades,
  • and energy efficient upgrades, such as new windows or energy-efficient appliances.

 

The program’s goal is to cut key expenses for some residents and address potentially expensive fixes to their homes,” San Leandro Community Development Director Cynthia Battenberg told the council.

This is a way to assist owner-occupied mobile home [sic] units in taking care of their property and keeping their value.

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Trailer Haven RV and Mobile Home Park (marked.) Credit: Google.

The proposal comes after Trailer Haven residents approached the city, stating that rent increases set to take effect in January are excessive and may force some of them to move out.

The East Bay Times reports that the increases were imposed by the property’s new owners, San Leandro Mobile Home & RV Park LP, but property management representatives have said the increases are needed to offset deferred maintenance costs as well as taxes and fees that rose when they bought the site.

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Credit: Cascade Corporate Management.

Cascade Corporate Management, a Sacramento, California-based manufactured home community and RV park management company that oversees the Trailer Haven operations, notified residents of the rent increase in September, which averages about $117 per site, along with a $45 sewer and water charge.

Based on the response and the communication between our resident meetings, I can understand the impact that it’s going to have,” said Cascade Corporate Management quality control director Brock Kaveny to the city council.

I think it’s going to be nominal compared to some of the public concern. I think some of the concern was amplified with residents who weren’t even residents of our mobile home community.

Councilwoman Corina Lopez believes that a 15 to 25 percent rent increase is excessive and hopes the park’s new owners will adjust it.

Bring that amount down and smooth your increases over time so it’s more bearable for the people who are residing there,” said Lopez.

I understand that you have managing expenses and you’re looking to do some capital improvements, but this is quite significant for a population that we understand to be encumbered by poverty.

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Trailer Haven residents Maxine Ventura (right) with her daughter. Credit: East Bay Times.

San Leandro Mobile Home & RV Park LP is planning to extend a 10 percent discount on rent to income-eligible renters in the Trailer Haven community. Eligible households must not have incomes that exceed 50 percent of the area’s median income, or $32,200 for a single person, $36,800 for two people, and $46,000 for four people.

I support the city’s home repair program proposal,” said Councilman Ben Lee.

But I’m particularly concerned about those residents whose incomes are below those thresholds. I worry that rents may not be affordable for some residents even with a 10 percent discount.

manufacturedhomecommunityresidentsprotestrentincreasecreditapartmentscom-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Apartments.com

Let’s face it, even 10 percent off a 25 percent increase, if it was that, is still a 15 percent increase, and there’s going to be some of our long-term San Leandro residents who are going to be forced out of their homes,” said Councilman Jim Prola.

I’ve seen this too often in San Leandro lately, where people come in from outside, buy up property and then put the rents up to such an extreme level that our own homeowners can’t afford to stay here.

City staff plans to bring a formal grant program for the Trailer Haven community to the council in February or March. If approved, it could start as early as spring 2017, but it would take about a year for city staff to review residents’ applications and start improvements.

The Daily Business News recently covered resident protests at Trailer Haven, including the push for rent control as a solution. That story is linked here.

For an industry legal commentary on why rent control is the wrong move for local governments to enact, please click here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

MHCs and Rent Control – Cure or Cause for Affordable Housing Crisis?

December 7th, 2016 Comments off

rentcontrolunionleadercaliforniamanufacturedhomecommunity-postedmanufacturedhousingindustrydailybusinessnewsmhpronewsThe housing and human services commission in Sunnyvale, California, has made a significant recommendation to the city council.

Per the San Jose Mercury News, on November 16th the commission unanimously voted to rank “rent stabilization” as the top issue to recommend that the city council study in January.

The recommendation comes as groups form to “protect” manufactured home community residents from high prices and projects that could replace the parks.

I believe it’s important and that it needs to be studied and understood to see what can the city can consider putting in place to protect these residents,” said Commissioner Diana Gilbert.

The issue was driven to the forefront in part by residents of the Plaza Del Rey Mobile Home Park.

The community was sold to the Carlyle Group last year, and residents claim that their rents were increased by 7.5 percent. In August several residents of Plaza Del Rey contacted residents of other manufactured home communities in the city and founded the Sunnyvale Mobile Home Alliance, which made rent stabilization for their communities a top priority.

Many group members attended the commission meeting and urged commissioners to recommend the issue be studied by the city council.

This is an important issue to a lot of people. We’re afraid we’ll be priced out,” said Ron Banks, a Plaza Del Rey resident.

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Location of Plaza Del Ray. Credit: Google.

The Mercury News reports that in June, Councilmembers Jim Davis and Tara Martin-Milius both suggested studying the rent control issue in 2017. City staff recommended deferring the issue, suggesting instead that the council prioritize affordable housing efforts. Housing and human service commissioners disagreed, ranking the issue number one of several issues presented to them.

If the city council does choose to study rent stabilization, phase one would involve research into existing stabilization programs and assessing the benefits and costs of such an ordinance in the city. It would be followed by community outreach and study sessions with the housing and human services commission.

What Does “Rent Control” Actually Mean? MH Industry Experts Speak

rentcontrolcwilliamdahlinjdhartkinglawindustryvoicesmanufacturedhomeindustrycommentarymhpronews-500x300The entire objective of rent control is to distort the market and have a government agency decide what rent is appropriate,” said C. William Dahlin, JD  of Hart | King Law in his comments regarding the situation in Sunnyvale.

Such governmental controls never lead to more housing or better housing. 

Dahlin also cites the impact on taxpayers.

Any unbiased research will disclose that cities across California, and elsewhere in the nation, have engaged in time consuming and expensive litigation because of price-fixing for rents in mobilehome parks,” said Dahlin.

The cities of Escondido, Hollister, San Marcos, Palm Springs, and multiple others have spent literally millions of dollars arising out of enactment of rent control ordinances. All of those funds come from the taxpayers in the city. Only a small minority of city residents reap the ‘benefits.’” Dahlin’s full commentary is here.

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Sam Landy, UMH President and CEO.

Sam Landy, Esq., President and CEO of UMH Properties, Inc., makes his company’s position very clear on the issue.

UMH would not buy a rent controlled community and believes all community owners should work with residents to avoid rent control,” said Landy.

The fact is if we raise our rents too high we will have no sales and no occupancy. No reasonable landlord would do such a thing. Our rents have to make economic sense or we have no business. Therefore, in the long term, there is never a need for rent control.

Landy’s points dovetail with those of Dahlin.  You can read Sam Landy’s full commentary here.

I would like to think there are alternatives that don’t rely on third-party boards and local ordinances,” said Paul Bradley, President of ROC USA. “I approach

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Paul Bradley. Credit: Fosters.

things with a win/win mindset, and from what I’ve seen, courts and boards seem to satisfy neither party in most cases.  A fundamentally different value proposition and mindset is required to stem the tide of rent control.” The fully commentary from Bradley can be found here.

The Daily Business News will continue to monitor the Sunnyvale situation as it develops. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.