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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Ayotte’

Ag Commissioner, Gubernatorial Candidate Adam Putnam Tours Palm Harbor Plant

February 7th, 2018 Comments off

MarkKellyPalmHarborFMHAFLAGCommissionerAdamPutnamDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA) and Palm Harbor Homes hosted Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner and Republican gubernatorial candidate, Adam Putnam, in Plant City, FL on January 16.

It was a very positive experience for everyone involved, said Mark Kelly with Palm Harbor Homes, in a release to the Daily Business News.

Putnam’s office is a statewide elected position, and “his subsequent tour of the manufacturing floor proved to be eye-opening for him, and it is fair to say that Commissioner Putnam was amazed by the high end appointments and overall quality of the models he toured. He took time to introduce himself and talk with construction crew and other employees about their particular experiences and concerns as well.”

 

The Orlando Sentinel indicated that “2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam delivers remarks during a campaign stop…Putnam is on a 10-day, 22-city campaign swing across Florida.”

Kelly is the current FMHA president.

 

He made the points that the “FMHA maintains a steady effort to connect with government officials to forge positive relationships. Educating political figures in state and local government will undoubtedly elevate the stature of manufactured and modular housing – the more of them that see and understand, the more helpful it can be to our causes. Other legislators and officials in many states have been surprised to learn about the homes we are producing, especially by how much they look like site-built homes both on retail lots and increasingly within communities.”

 JimAytotteNicoleWeissMarkKellyCommissionerPutnamDwightSelbyKenCashinEricZimmermanFMHATourPalmHarborPlantCityFL550

At the heart of FMHA’s efforts is raising awareness that manufactured and modular homes are the only affordable options for home buyers looking to spend under $200,000, especially for the two biggest markets: millennials often weighed down with debt looking for a first-time home, and boomers looking to downsize and live off sometimes meager retirements. As the economic impact of Florida’s MH industry’s increases, so does our power to achieve significant goals through legislative changes and regulatory reform.”

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Commissioner Adam Putnam, standing, speaking with some workers in the Palm Harbor production center in Plant City, FL.

The FMHA’s release noted that “The Commissioner commented on several things that appealed to the industry, including the need to promote technical education.  The demand for skilled tradespeople is high and many young people may be more successful learning a trade rather than incurring enormous debt for a four-year college degree that often does not lead to a higher paying job.  This is a priority initiative for the industry’s homebuilders that are struggling to hire enough workers to increase production capacity.”

Weather Expert’s Surprising, Bombshell Statement on Tornado Deaths and Affordable Manufactured Homes

Kelly touted their “Hand Built Homes” campaign and noted that it’s gaining interest beyond Florida’s borders. An FMHA video can be viewed as part of a new related report on the durability of modern HUD Code manufactured homes in windstorms, found on MHLivingNews, at the link above. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

FHFA Publishes Final Evaluation Guidance for Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing, Rural, Underserved Markets by Government Sponsored Enterprises

November 29th, 2017 Comments off
FHFADutyToServeManufacturedHousingGovtSponsoredEnterprisesFannieMaeFreddieMac-postedManufactruredHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Image credit, FHFA to the Daily Business News on MHProNews.com.

Almost a decade after the enactment of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA 2008) that birthed the Duty to Serve and the SAFE Act, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has published “its final Evaluation Guidance for the Duty to Serve Program.

In a release to MHProNews, the FHFA said, “FHFA’s Evaluation Guidance communicates FHFA’s expectations regarding the process for developing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s (the Enterprises) Underserved Markets Plans, the standard for FHFA to issue a “Non-Objection” to the Plans, and the process by which FHFA will evaluate the Plans and report to Congress the Enterprises’ achievements under their Plans each year.”

The Underserved Markets Plans, that propose the activities the Enterprises will undertake over a three year period to support housing finance in the manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural housing markets, are scheduled to be finalized before the end of the year, said the FHFA’s release.

Some top-line screen captures from the attachment, linked below include these.

KeyMilestonesDutyToServeManufacturedHousingRuralUnderservedMarketsProcessFHFADailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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The entire final guidance document provided by the FHFA is linked here.

The Daily Business News has noted that ROCs already have some chattel lending secured under a pilot program.

New Long-Term, Market Rate Loans in Manufactured Home Communities, Report, Reactions

Previous links on this topic are linked below.

“An Elephant Ass,” Understanding GSEs, Duty to Serve, Manufactured Home Lending

Duty to Serve (DTS) Manufactured Housing “Confidential Documents,” Draft and Downloads, FHFA, GSEs

 

Industry Should Stay the Course in Duty to Serve Efforts

MHARR’s Mark Weiss Reaction to Jim Ayotte’s GSE’s Duty to Serve Commentary

 “More of the Same,” Leader Says About Fannie Mae Duty to Serve Meeting

MHProNews will see industry input on this topic.  But the initial read is this is a “slow crawl, then walk” course – before there is hope of this becoming a ‘run’ in the finance sector of manufactured home chattel (personal property, home only) lending.  © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Soheyla is a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC the parent company to MHProNews and MHLivingNews.

 

The End of MHC’s in Palm Beach County?

January 31st, 2017 Comments off
TheEndofMHCsinPalmBeachCountycreditMHProNews-SuniSands-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Suni Sands Mobile Home Park. Credit: MHProNews.

What a difference a storm can make.

According to the Palm Beach Post, a tornado that ripped through the Juno Beach Condo Mobile Home Park last week put the issues surrounding manufactured home communities in Palm Beach county front and center again, as a combination of developers buying up communities and high housing prices threaten access to affordable housing in the area.

 

Many manufactured home communities in the county sit on large lots of land, usually with access to main roads, boat docks, and, most important to developers, commercial or multi-family zoning.

When other housing or commercial buildings replace a manufactured home community, urban planners often refer to it as “infill development,” which according to the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) is defined as “the process of developing vacant or under-used parcels within existing urban areas that are already largely developed.

TheEndofMHCsinPalmBeachCountycreditPalmBeachPost-JunoCleanUp-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

A crew cleans up at Juno after last week’s tornado. Credit: Palm Beach Post.

And, although residents of manufactured home communities see things differently, what may be more troubling in Palm Beach county is what appears to be a “backdoor” version of NIMBY (Not-In-My-Back-Yard.)

Per the Palm Beach Post, politicians, and the residents who reelect them, seem to know that developments bring more tax revenue than manufactured home communities.

Infill development in the county has already taken place in Jupiter at the site of the former Whitehaven Senior Mobile Home Park, which is now home to Culver’s Custard and the Barcelona apartments.

TheEndofMHCsinPalmBeachCountycreditGoogle-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

A map of the area, with Juno highlighted. Credit: Google.

Residents at Bell’s Mobile Home Park and Suni Sands Mobile Home Park met a similar fate when developers acquired the properties and announced new development plans. The last of the residents at Suni Sands left the community in mid December.

TheEndofMHCsinPalmBeachCountycreditPalmBeachPost-BellsMHP-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

A view of Bell’s Mobile Home Park. Credit: Palm Beach Post.

I grew up here. My kids worked here. This place is a part of me. The residents aren’t the only ones feeling the loss. I’m glad it’s over. It’s time to move on,” said community manager Steve Burns.

I never imagined I would live in such a magical place like Suni Sands. My husband and I are going to get a pizza tonight and sit on the deck with another couple. One last night in paradise,” said Joyce Miller, a 15-year resident.

Even moving assistance from the government usually isn’t enough to help residents.

While offering up to $6,000 in moving expenses for manufactured homeowners who are displaced, that amount doesn’t go very far in a county where everything tends to be expensive.

Many simply walk away from their homes all together, with it being too expensive to move them.

Views from the MH Industry

jimayottecreditmhpronewsusersrcdesktoppaulbradleycredtimhpronewsstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnewsAs similar instances continue to take place around the U.S., MH industry professionals have provided their take.

Jim Ayotte, executive director of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA), told MHProNews – “A community owner shouldn’t be compelled to close a community without regard for homeowners.

Ayotte explained some of the various stress points that are often at play, including local governments that have limited ability in their budgets to provide affordable housing. Yet, local governments often try to impose measures that force property owners to act contrary to their property rights.

This is unfair to the private sector and quite frankly, should be unconstitutional,” said Ayotte.

jay-hamiltong-executive-director-georgia-manufactured-housing-association-gmha-posted-mhpronews-com1-1

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

Property owners have the right to develop their land. And the government has the responsibility to make affordable housing available to citizens, especially for the elderly and low-income. There has to be some type of balance.

As MH association directors, we support a property owner’s rights to buy, sell and make a profit at any time, Jay Hamilton, of the George Manufactured Housing Association told MHProNews.

What we do hope for is that the MH Community owner does it ethically, which is usually the case.

The community owner should help minimize the impact by working with local government and social service agencies to identify alternative housing options,” said Ayotte, adding that he has seen a number of examples of community closures where owners, residents and local officials worked successfully together.

Ayotte’s full comments about the matter are linked here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

Residents Forced to Move Due to Rezoning

November 8th, 2016 Comments off
residentsforcedtomoveduetorezoningcredittwcnews2-postedtothedailybusinessnewamhpronewsmhlivingnews

Melrose Mobile Home Park. Credit: TWC News.

Residents of the Melrose Mobile Home Park will have to move.

According to TWC News, city leaders in Wilmington, North Carolina are moving forward with a plan to rezone parts of Wrightsville Avenue.

Officials said the zoning became necessary due to continuous population growth. The city plans to designate the site mixed-use, with both business and residential units.

City officials told TWC News they are working to increase access to affordable housing in Wilmington, but many residents are concerned.

It is all about money. At Wrightsville Beach they want this property so they can zone it so they can build more rich condos here,” said park resident Rhonda Poythress.

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Rhonda Poythress. Credit: TWC News.

But it is just putting so many people out. Not to mention the elderly people who can’t get out to look for a place or pack their stuff up and move it. Some of them don’t even have family here; that’s what’s really breaking my heart.

North Carolina state law only requires residents to be given 180 days notice to vacate a community. While some states require relocation assistance for displaced residents, North Carolina has no such provision.

Residents have been given until the end of March to vacate the property.

The Daily Business News has covered a number of rezoning cases recently, including Boulder City, Nevada and Aurora, Colorado.

residentsforcedtomoveduetorezoningcredittwcnews3-postedtothedailybusinessnewamhpronewsmhlivingnews

Melrose Mobile Home Park. Credit: TWC News.

The MH Industry Speaks 

Jim Ayotte, executive director of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA), speaking about a similar case told MHProNewsA community owner shouldn’t be compelled to close a community without regard for homeowners.jimayottecreditmhpronewsusersrcdesktoppaulbradleycredtimhpronewsstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnews

Ayotte explained some of the various stress points that are often at play, including local governments that have limited ability in their budgets to provide affordable housing.  Yet, local governments often try to impose measures that force property owners to act contrary to their property rights.

This is unfair to the private sector and quite frankly, should be unconstitutional,” Ayotte said.

jay-hamiltong-executive-director-georgia-manufactured-housing-association-gmha-posted-mhpronews-com(1) (1)

Jay Hamilton.

As MH association directors, we support a property owner’s rights to buy, sell and make a profit at any time,Jay Hamilton, of the George Manufactured Housing Association told MHProNews.

What we do hope for is that the MH Community owner does it ethically, which is usually the case.

The community owner should help minimize the impact by working with local government and social service agencies to identify alternative housing options,” Ayotte said, adding that he has seen a number of examples of community closures where owners, residents and local officials worked successfully together. Ayotte’s full comments about the matter are linked here. ##

(Image credits are as shown.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

Pending Denver Meadows Sale/Closure roils media, creating ripples and reactions from residents and owner

September 29th, 2016 Comments off

denvermeadowsmobilehomervparkgabrielchristusaurorasentinel-postedmanufacturedhousingindustrydailybusinessnewsmhpronewsAn already tumultuous relationship between Denver Meadows Mobile Home and RV Park owner Shawn Lustigman and the community’s residents has only gotten worse in recent weeks.

In two years, I’ll be homeless,” resident Petra Bennett told The Aurora Sentinel.I need two tractor trailers to move it at $10,000; I don’t have $10,000 in two years, nor can I save $10,000 in two years.”

Close to 100 residents will be forced to move from the community when Lustigman closes it in June 2018, reports The Sentinel. Lustigman’s plan is sell the property to a developer.

The land is in a valuable location, due to its proximity to the Anschutz Medical Campus and the Colfax Station of the Regional Transportation District’s upcoming light rail.

The decision is unpopular among Denver Meadow residents, despite the two-year heads up.

Many like Bennett have paid thousands of dollars in principle and interest on their homes, plus of course their site fees.  Local media relays her assertion that she doesn’t see how she will be able to pay off her loan, much less afford to move their home from Lustigman’s community.

Seeking the Various Perspectives…

MHProNews reached out and spoke to Lustigman’s manager, who referred us to Lustigman himself.  He was polite, but in the wake of a lot of unfavorable local media coverage, the owner was not willing to add to statements he had previously made.

Numerous, Largely Negative Local Media Reports

Lustigman’s decision to close and sell Denver Meadows and protests by residents are not the first reported bone of contention between him and the community’s residents.

nancyflores_westword-com

Photo credit, Westword.

In May, residents were concerned that they were going to have to move when a proposed zoning change was before the Aurora City Council. The re-zoning was geared towards transit-oriented development.  It would have eliminated Denver Meadows to make room for properties like high-rise apartments, commercial, mixed-use residential, retail or hotels.

Residents and Lustigman alike were confident that the re-zoning was going to happen.

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The move is definitely going to happen,” Bennett told The Denver Post in May. “They want to go ahead and rebuild this area to better serve the veteran’s hospital and the light rail, so us vacating the land is definitely going to happen; they made it clear.”

I don’t know why it wouldn’t go through; it would be good for the city,” Lustigman told The Post. Speaking about his own property, the owner said – “It’s a rundown park, it isn’t very attractive and I think the city will welcome a change in zoning so that it can be redeveloped.”

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The map reflects the potential value of a property like this, near businesses, hospital and extensive highway frontage.

Lustigman seemed willing to help out his residents if they were forced to move. “We’re going to try to with some of the people there to try to help them out,” he told The Denver Post.They have been my tenants and I’m going to try to help them.”

Sometime between then and now, the local reports suggest that his sentiment seems to have changed.

It may have had to do with the small victory Denver Meadows received in July when the City Council postponed the vote to rezone the property. Fox 31 Denver reported council members decided to put the vote on hold until Lustigman could secure a developer, and a way for residents to be compensated for their moving costs.

In August, Denver Meadows residents received a letter from the property managers, stating that their lot fees, would be raised another $60 a month, from the current $780 to $840.

While increases happen for a variety of reasons, a manufactured housing professional who spoke to MHProNews off-the-record about Denver Meadows issue thought that this was a shoddy business practice, given the plan to close the property.

Residents say that the property gets worse day by day, pointing to raccoons and feral cats roaming between or under the homes. Plus, residents have stated that their vehicles are towed randomly from the property.

Denver-Meadows-Aurora, Colorado - posted Daily Business News MHProNews

A raccoon takes a plate of food under a home on Wednesday Sept. 07, 2016 at the Denver Meadows mobile home park. However, it should be noted that a manufactured home’s foundation enclosures – a.k.a. “skirting” – is typically the duty of the home owner.  Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel.

 

Jim Ayotte, Executive Director of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA), told MHProNews – A community owner shouldn’t be compelled to close a community without regard for homeowners.

Ayotte explained some of the various stress points that are often at play, including local governments that have limited ability in their budgets to provide affordable housing.  Yet, local governments often try to impose measures that force property owners to act contrary to their property rights.

This is unfair to the private sector and quite frankly, should be unconstitutional,” Ayotte said.

As MH Association Directors, we support a property owner’s rights to buy, sell and make a profit at any time,” Jay Hamilton, of the George Manufactured Housing Association told MHProNews. “What we do hope for is that the MH Community owner does it ethically, which is usually the case.”

The community owner should help minimize the impact by working with local government and social service agencies to identify alternative housing options,” Ayotte said, adding that he has seen a number of examples of community closures done where owners, residents and local officials worked successfully together.  Ayotte’s full comments about the matter are linked here.

Since the initial rash of reporting, Lustigman has largely remained silent.  When asked what he planned to do with the property when it closed, he simply replied, “It’s my property.” ##

(Editor’s Notes – for every community like this one, there are numerous others that have a different experience, please see the story, linked here. For related MH professional commentary, click here.

On a similar owners rights vs. residents rights battle – featured on Fox News complete with their video – is linked here.)

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Joe Dyton, for the Daily Business News, MHProNews.

(Image credits are as shown above.)

Submitted by Joe Dyton to the Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Battle Over Community Owner’s Rights vs. Resident’s Rights highlighted in St. Anthony case

September 28th, 2016 Comments off

lowrygrovecreditstartribunestanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnewsResidents of the Lowry Grove community in the Minneapolis, MN suburb of St. Anthony lost their bid to block the sale of the property, according to a ruling by a Hennepin County Judge.

We continue working together to save Lowry Grove. We will organize more action,” said Antonia Alvarez, president of the Lowry Grove Resident Association, per the Star Tribune’s report. I understand they are very rich, but we have community support.”

The ruling is a blow to the residents who sued to keep the park open. A state law drafted in 1991 was designed to give manufactured home owners the right of first refusal to buy land in the event it was put up for sale.

paulbradleycredtimhpronewsstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnewsPaul Bradley, president of ROC USA posed the following question to MHProNews. “How can we promote homeownership and sell new homes on leased land and at the same time close communities?”

Judge Joseph R. Klein wrote, in part, that the statute “…does not grant them an unfettered ability to purchase the park. They were not deprived on that right because it was never, in fact, granted to them.judgejosephkleincreditmncourtsgovstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnews1

 

This is believed to be the first major legal test of the law.

The owners of Lowry Grove, LLC notified residents in April that they intended to sell the property to The Village LLC, a subsidiary of Wayzata, MN based Continental Property Group, for $6 million. The Village announced that they would close the park in a year and redevelop the 15 acres of land.

Fearing the loss of access to good schools and safe streets, the residents prepared to respond.

Under state law, residents had 45 days to match the offer. Homeowners partnered with Aeon Management, a Minneapolis based non-profit management company, to make a matching $6 million offer on June 10, the day of the deadline.

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Lowry Grove residents protesting.

The offer was rejected.

On June 13, the sale to The Village became final. Aeon Management and Lowry Grove residents sued, arguing that the law, and their civil rights, had been violated.

 

lowrygrovervparkcreditgoogleStAnthonyCaseHighlightsBattleOverCommunityOwnersRightsvsResidentsRights-DailyBusinessNews

The Lowry Grove RV park and manufactured home community is on a prime parcel of real estate, as this Google earth image reflects.

When the statue was passed, said Judge Klein, the intent was clear.

Should a park be sold contrary to [the law] the only remedy the residents in the park have is to sue under a violation of this law for something besides ownership of the land, said Judge Klein.

Explaining further, Klein wrote that lawmakers were balancing competing priorities when passing the statute, giving manufactured homeowners a tool to protect their homes while not overtly interfering with park owner’s ability to sell their property.”

tomastracicreditiremmnstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnews1We are pleased with, but not surprised by, Judge Klein’s ruling,” said The Village Vice President Traci Tomas in a written statement. “From the beginning, we’ve realized that this is a difficult situation for the residents. That has never been something we’ve taken lightly.”

Tomas has also denied violating the state statute, countering that residents didn’t meet all the criteria. She also shared where the Village’s focus is.

Right now, we are focused on those who have expressed a desire to complete their move before winter sets in,” Tomas said. “We are working with the City of St. Anthony so residents can submit applications to the Minnesota Manufactured Home Relocation Trust Fund for financial assistance that will help with their relocation.”

jimayottecreditmhpronewsusersrcdesktoppaulbradleycredtimhpronewsstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnewsJim Ayotte, Executive Director of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA), provided commentary on a similar situation with the Denver Meadows community in Aurora, CO in his column on MHProNews. “It costs money to create affordable housing, which local governments don’t have, and it is more politically expedient to put the screws to a business owner and get favorable press for protecting a group of economically challenged homeowners.

This is unfair to the private sector and, quite frankly, should be unconstitutional,” says Ayotte. “What that said, it is the responsibility of all parties to do the right thing.”alanarthuraeoncreditmprnewsstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnews1

Aeon Management CEO Alan Arthur commented, “I am sad that our world seems to value bottom line financial returns more than it does people.” Aeon is also exploring other legal options for Lowry Grove residents.

The struggle over community owner’s property rights vs. land-lease community resident rights continues, and the Daily Business News plans to track this story to its conclusion. ##

(Editor’s Note: Equity LifeStyle Communities Chairman Sam Zell’s view on property owners rights is published exclusively in a report on MHProNews, linked 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, MHProNews.

Rising Land Values Force Older Manufactured Home Communities Out

March 30th, 2015 Comments off

mfg_community_closing__tampabayAll across Florida many manufactured home communities (MHCs), often filled with pre-HUD Code homes, many of which are too decrepit to move or do not meet construction standards required in other communities, are being re-purposed and developed into more lucrative uses. Some are on scenic waterways that were out of the way places when they were first established in the 1950s and 1960s, but as the population has grown, the land values have risen.

The eight acres with 46 homesites occupied by Rainbow Court and the nearby Brightside Mobile Home Parks in eastern Pasco County north of Tampa, have been acquired by a Dallas developer. The communities are bordered by a Walmart, Arby’s and TJ Maxx. Rainbow is destined to become an Aldi’s and a movie theatre.

Now that the housing market is coming back and the commercial market is coming back, there’s more pressure to close under-performing or older parks, and replace them with something that provides a higher and better use, says Jim Ayotte, executive director of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA).

Affordable housing provided by pre HUD Code homes has been a staple in Florida for may years. Factory-built homes account for 25 percent of all residences in Pasco County, 21 percent in neighboring Hernando, and ten percent in Pinellas (St. Petersburg) and Hillsborough (Tampa), as tampabay informs MHProNews.

Over the past decade, the number of homesites has shrunk by 2,000 to about 320,000 statewide, and the Florida Mobile Home Relocation Trust Fund has paid out over $2 million in the past several years to help move residents from 20 closed communities. Owners of single-section homes receive $1,375 from the relocation fund; multi-section owners receive $2,750.

Several communities have become co-operatives, owned by the residents. Many larger rental communities have been upscaled by corporate players like Chicago’s Equity LifeStyle Properties, which owns 87 communities in Florida comprised of 37,000 homesites.

For the most part, the goal is to build and maintain a park, but you get to the point where the community gets so old, it’s very difficult to start replacing homes and the infrastructure needs to be upgraded, Ayotte said. You’re talking about a large investment of dollars and sometimes the economics don’t work. We see it all over the place where you get these old mobile home parks built outside of town but with urban sprawl it’s now in a commercial zone and highly desirable.##

(Photo credit: tampabay–closing manufactured home community)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com   Article submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Writer Slams Manufactured Housing Communities but Residents Love Life

May 20th, 2014 Comments off

While tampabay.com writer Drew Harwell pounds owners of manufactured housing communities (MHCs) for taking advantage of people of limited means—”Mobile home parks charge homeowners every month to rent their square of dirt and concrete,” he says, which is not exactly complimentary of the residents either, because “they can’t afford to live anywhere else,” he adds—people he interviews tend to like their homes. Describing a couple who moved from Baltimore “1,000 miles south to a field of asphalt in the Florida pine flats” and put angel figurines in the front yard of their home in Countrywood, the woman, Una Kemper says, “As far as I’m concerned I’m in paradise.”

Harwell says a new wave of investors is getting into the MHC marketplace because it is profitable, and residents have weak credit, low savings and cannot afford to move. Countrywood, an MHC on the north side of Plant City, which Harwell calls a “desolate flatness far from anything else,” is the home of Jim and Carolyn Young, who moved here more than ten years ago and bought a $28,000 multisection MH. Paying $500 a month for site rent and utilities, which they say is less than their house payment was before, they have tennis matches, bingo and other social events that keep them busy and they love it. “You can’t live as good as you can live here, out there, for this amount of money,” Jim says.

Harwell says revenue for Equity LifeStyle Properties (NYSE:ELS), which owns Countrywood, jumped six percent to $187 million last year and owns 120 other communities in Florida. He does note the community is definitely upscale with golf carts buzzing around taking residents to different activities. Patrick Waite, ELS’ executive vice-president of operations says, “We’re basically running small cities. It’s not a very sexy business, but it’s a very good investment.”

“People are living longer today than ever before, and the financial status of those people is changing,” says Jim Ayotte, the director of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA). “They’re saying, ‘If I’m going to be around till I’m in my 90s, do I have enough money to live?’” As MHProNews.com understands, the residents have spoken. ##

(Photo credit: Equity LifeStyle Properties–Lake Have, Clearwater, Florida)

Adkins Blasts Media for Anti-Manufactured Home Bias

August 30th, 2013 3 comments

In an editorial, MH aficionado Crystal Adkins said that in her opinion, journalists are a significant part of the image problem manufactured home owners and professionals face daily. “There are so many great benefits and advantages of manufactured homes.” Adkins said. She writes that manufactured home owners ought to be celebrated for living within their means, but instead are stigmatized by the media. As evidence that this isn’t a “conspiracy theory,” Adkins observes that on one week using Google alerts, she had “34 of those articles are about fires. There’s only 45 total articles.” She continued” “Out of the 45, only 6 were articles that were not negative. 2 of those weren’t even about real mobile homes and 1 was an ad on Craigslist. The craziest thing about all this is that Foremost Insurance Company shows that site-built homes are more than twice as likely to experience a fire than manufactured homes. According to this study, the number of home fires is 17 per 1,000 for site-built homes, while only eight per 1,000 for manufactured homes.” Adkins makes important points. As regular MHProNews readers know, we see it similarly and realize it is up to professionals to work daily to improve our image, celebrated daily on the new MHLivingNews.com website. Image building will also be one of the many topics that are part of the commentary in Florida Manufactured Housing Association Executive Director’s upcoming exclusive interview here, A Cup of Coffee with…Jim Ayotte. ##

(Image credit: Crystal Adkins/Mobile Home Living)

Manufactured Housing in Florida is Losing Insurance Coverage

April 26th, 2013 Comments off

As it looks for ways to drop its risk, marconews reports Citizens Property Insurance Co., the state-run insurer that covers 130,000 factory-built homes in Florida, most of which are over 20 years old, is depreciating older homes, offering cash value in case of a loss instead of replacement cost. In one instance, a couple did have coverage of $64,000 on their 1988 manufactured home purchased for $67,500 in 1998. That coverage, which cost $1,362 a year in 2012, has been reduced to $18,000, now costing $1,129 per year. If they did suffer a loss they could not buy much for $18k. Likewise, if they tried to sell their home, no one would likely buy it because it could not be fully covered. The change in coverage applies to manufactured homes built before 1994, which accounts for roughly 75 percent of all MH statewide. Jim Ayotte, executive director of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA) says if the situation does not change, retirees may go elsewhere. As MHProNews has learned, he added if homes are destroyed, it will leave holes in communities. Legislation to counter Citizens’ cash-value policy has not made it through the legislative process. ##

(Photo credit: MHVillage–Lake Village MHC, Nokomis, Fla.)