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NPR, MHAction memo, Cities Raise Fees, Close Manufactured Home Communities too

January 9th, 2017 Comments off
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Midfield Mobile Home Park. Credit: CBC.

The Daily Business News has provided in-depth coverage of the reaction to the National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast and story Mobile Home Park Owners Can Spoil An Affordable American Dream, and the attack on investor owned communities by MHAction.

The ongoing response from the industry’s professionals is to keep pointing to facts – versus private agendas – that have shown that exaggerations about manufactured homes and the community sectors of the industry are alive and well.

As commentary on Industry Voices (see examples, linked here and here) has reflected, the industry’s professionals do not believe in protecting bad actors.

With all the noise around media-driven misconceptions, it’s often overlooked by groups like NPR and MHAction that even cities and towns shut down communities, or do other things that they blame private investors for doing.

A recent example is found in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The city has plans in place to close a manufactured home community that has been around for over 45 years, Midfield Mobile Home Park.

They treat us like trailer trash,” said long-time resident Rudy Prediger, referencing the City of Calgary’s stewardship of the property.

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Rudy Prediger. Credit: Calgary Herald.

They made promises then broke them, they treated us with disrespect,” says Prediger, speaking of the city’s management.

I have a legal right to protect my property and that’s what I’m going to do.

Prediger speaks to a story that plays itself out repeatedly. Not just in manufactured communities, but in also in aging residential and commercial properties and apartment communities as well.

Per the Calgary Herald, the issues at Midfield began back to 2010, when their city council decided that repairing the park’s infrastructure, which included its aging sewer and water system, was too costly.

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A Google search on this date for apartments being redeveloped yielded over 40,000 possible hits. Conventional housing and commercial properties are also the subject of redevelopment, for the kinds of reasons cited by GMHA’s Jay Hamilton, below.

During that year, notices went out to the homeowners to inform them the community would close down in 2012.

Residents were told that they could move to land the city had purchased for a new community, and would be given a moving allowance to do so.

In 2014, plans for the new “mobile park” — all other existing ones in the city were full — were scuttled. Residents then received notice of Midfield’s official 2017 closure, along with a list of resources, which included contact info for such agencies as the Calgary Homeless Foundation and the Mustard Seed, according to the Herald.

Up to $20,000 in buyouts, along with counseling, was offered to each of the 173 owners.

Midfield sits on what’s considered to be “prime inner-city land” in Calgary.

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Aerial view of Midfield. Credit: Calgary Herald.

What often happens in these instances is that private and public community owners find themselves in “lose-lose” situations – which Jay Hamilton, Executive Director of the Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA) – described a few weeks ago.

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Jay Hamilton, Executive Director, Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA).

One of the biggest reasons that a Manufactured Home Community Owner sells his property is that over time property taxes increase four and five-fold.  But the owner can’t economically escalate the lot rent quick enough to keep up.  Or the resident could not afford to live there if they did,” said Hamilton.

As communities become surrounded and engulfed by restaurants, Hilton Hotels, stadiums, big box stores, airports, residential and commercial developments – property taxes begin exceeding the total revenue from renting spaces.

As this scenario continues to play out in the U.S. and Canada, the thoughts shared by ROC USA President Paul Bradley are relevant.

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Paul Bradley. Credit: Fosters.

How can we promote homeownership and sell new homes on leased land and at the same time close communities?” Bradley questioned.

It’s like selling tickets to a zoo where ‘only 1 in a 100 are eaten by the lions!’”

Bradley said, “One way to address this is to segment true homeownership land lease communities and differentiate it from traditional ‘parks’ where closure remains a risk, not a certainty but a risk.

NPR’s Latest anti-Investor Owned Community Salvo 

In their latest broadcast and published article dubbed “With Few Legal Protections, Nashville Mobile Home Park Residents At Risk Of Losing It All,” (see their article, linked here), NPR paints a radically different picture than what the USA Today network affiliate, The Tennessean did less than a month ago (see that article, linked here).

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See article that was the source of the above, linked here. Credit, the Tennessean.

Independent community operations manager Tom Fath pointed out numerous errors in NPR’s previous reports, and told MHProNews of the problems that such mainstream media stories cause.

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Sam Landy, REIT.com. To see an exclusive interview with Landy, click here.

UMH President and CEO Sam Landy told the Daily Business News that, “UMH has improved the lives of well over 1,000 manufactured home residents in the Nashville area. We have significantly upgraded communities. Our residents overwhelmingly support the companies actions.” Landy said his firm is preparing a detailed response to the NPR article about their Nashville locations.

The Daily Business News will continue to follow NPR, MHAction and similar cases of closely. The full commentary from Jay Hamilton is linked here. Commentary from Paul Bradley 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 for MHProNews.