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Transformational! Old Mobile Home Park Redeveloping Into Small or ‘Tiny House’ Factory-Built Housing Project

April 5th, 2019 Comments off

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Champion Homes, or Champion Home Builders, is a mobile and modular home manufacturing company that operates as a subsidiary of the Skyline Champion Corporation,” says Wikipedia. Among their operating brands is Silvercrest, located in Corona, CA 92880.

 

Silvercrest is very much in the mix of what is occurring at the “Palm Canyon Mobile Club.”

According to that land-lease communities YouTube page, “Built in the 1940s, the Palm Canyon Mobile Club was showing its age when the owners approached realtor Paul Kaplan about helping to sell new homes in the park.”

Kaplan suggested a fresh start to the development. He promoted the notion of investing in smaller factory-built homes, which they initially referred to as “tiny homes instead of traditional mobile homes. Rather than partnering with a prefab designer or tiny home architect, they chose to work with a traditional mobile home manufacturer because of the scale of the project (100 homes).”

While the nomenclature is the normal problematic mix, no doubt the promoters wanted the search engine optimization (SEO) value of the phrases “mobile home” and “tiny house.”

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You must meet people where they are. Terminology must be taught and caught. Make a habit of using the correct terminology.

Working with manufactured home builder Silvercrest, they pushed for a modern, Midcentury-inspired design more fitting of Palm Springs and avoiding some of the hallmark details of conventional mobile homes like ceiling moldings and six-panel doors,” states their YouTube web page, which has had over 500,000 views in about 7 months.

There’s also a stigma against mobile home parks,” explains Kaplan, adding, “You know the whole trailer trash kind of thing, and I think people are re-looking at it and seeing it really provides a nice sense of community.”

Their page said, “The Palm Canyon Mobile Club has a renovated pool and clubhouse with workout room and community kitchen. The houses start at $115,000 for the 600 square foot model, with a $650 monthly rental fee for the site.”

Their video is below. Let’s note once more that the old canard that a video has to be short to be viewed is proven errant by this one.  The issue in part is, does the viewer want to learn about that given topic?  If a viewer finds the video relevant, they will watch it.

 

 

Published on Sep 9, 2018, this video has at the time we posted it 511,939 views, with some 9,900 likes vs. 359 thumbs down from viewers.

Notice that this video dwarfs what Clayton Homes, or the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has produced in the way of views to ‘debunk’ the manufactured home stereotypes.

These are issues that must be carefully considered, because the powers-that-be in manufactured housing continue to put out industry ‘alerts’ and ‘news updates’ that make it sound like they are doing so much to ‘promote’ the industry or address underlying issues.  If so, where’s the beef?  Where are their results?

To learn more, see the articles linked below.  Our sources are telling us that the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington ‘axis’ are feeling the heat.  They need to, or they arguably have no incentive to change their patterns of behavior.

That’s this evening’s “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Deaths in MH Communities from Trees Falling, “Get to the Root of It”

September 6th, 2018 Comments off

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In Arkansas, and Florida, recent local media reports focused on tragic deaths that occurred when trees fell on what they each news outlet called a “mobile home.1” Meanwhile a West Coast law firm sent out a message announcing an event to discuss the liabilities involved, under the title – “Get to the Root of it! Tree Laws and Driveways.” 

In Russellville, AR, the following video was posted under the headline “Falling Trees an Ongoing Problem at Mobile Home Park Where Mom, Son Killed.”

Fox16 said, “Johnny Hicks, who used to live at the park off Main Street and was visiting family there over the weekend, can’t stop reliving what he witnessed when a rotting tree pinned a mother and her 2 children underneath

There was a little girl screaming and I started talking to her trying to calm her down,” Hicks said. “All the mom was saying was ‘I’m dying, help I’m dying.'”

The tree was so big crews needed a crane to get the family out. By then firefighters say Alesha Huggins and her 9-year-old son died, while the 6-year-old girl was injured and is recovering at the hospital,” said Fox16.

Hicks said he believes what happened was preventable, explaining that falling trees are an ongoing problem that park management neglects. “The family has told them they want this tree checked out, I guess too little too late,” Hicks said.

Meanwhile, “ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WEAR) — Tuesday night’s first storm-related death appears to have occurred in Escambia County.” Here’s ABC3340’s video on that fatal incident.

These are all stark reminders of how something like tree care can have life and death consequences.  Prudent advanced care can avoid injury, property damage, or death, along with avoiding the possible legal repercussions.  See related reports below for other perspectives. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

Footnote 1.  As regular readers know, mobile and manufactured homes often have terminology mixed and misapplied. To learn more, see this link here.

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Related Reports:

Exposé! Heartbroken Conventional Housing Buyers? Dare to Compare Site Built with Modern Manufactured Homes

 

Affordable Living! Before and After Video, Remodeling a 1972 Mobile Home, Under $5,000

 

Manufactured Housing Roadblock? BBC Reports “Trailer Park Living”

May 7th, 2018 Comments off

Longtime Daily Business News readers know that the MHProNews view – and that of scores of industry professionals – is that proper terminology is important.

 

The reverse of that is that improper terminology is to be avoided.

When the Daily Business News uses the term “trailer house” or “trailer park,” its typically because some third party that used that phrase.  A quote is a quote, nothing more or less.  Even if the person or party is misspeaking, it is not the journalist’s or trade media’s place to change what was said.

That said, the BBC used the term trailer house living” in their video report, shown below.  That’s where the headline comes from, and as of this date, the BBC video has over 1.1 million views.  Compared to the vast majority of manufactured home videos, this video has been seen by hundreds of thousands to a million more people.  That gives a tiny sense of why this is an imporant challenge for the industry to address.

There are times that the term “mobile home” legitimately applies, because a factory-built home built on a permeant frame was built before June 15, 1976.  In the 1930s to the 1950s, there were arguably trailer houses built.  A trailer house could be pulled behind a properly equipped car or light-duty pickup (see linked report, immediately below).

“Trailer House Trauma,” Fresh Look at Manufactured Housing’s Opportunities

There are scores who use the terms ‘trailer,’ ‘trailer house,’ ‘trailer park,’ ‘mobile home,’ or ‘mobile home park’ who are industry professionals and investors. When it’s a quote, we get it.  When it’s a punch like, in private, at MHProNews, we get it.  Properly used – it can be improperly applied – for SEO purposes, we get it.

But the vast majority of the time, the right thing to do is to use the correct terminology.  If you and your team don’t make that commitment, it’s not as easy to hold the media or others accountable when they misuse terms.

Some think that the term should be changed to just “home,” and that’s understandable.  That said, for reasons we won’t go into today, it’s not practical. Nor is it the law.

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Manufactured homes and manufactured housing are legal terms, defined by the HUD Code for manufactured housing, which went into effect on June 15, 1976. As Steve Duke said, the code defines the construction standards a factory-built home was built to, and thus should not be deliberately misused, ever.

The video above is one of numerous practical reasons why terminology matters.  When someone is shopping for a manufactured home – and they call it a trailer – or do a search for “trailer house living,” YouTube is likely to show the BBC video above as one of those results.

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When you wonder why the there is such a big fall-off between manufactured housing shoppers and buyers1, the BBC video posted above is one of dozens of exhibits industry pros, advocates and investors should consider.

Which video do you want the public watching, the one above, or the one below?

 

Correct terminology matters. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ##  (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Style or Substance? Lesson from Most Hated in America – Monday Morning Manufactured Home Sales, Marketing Meeting

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Another Manufactured Home Community Hit by Disaster

May 31st, 2017 Comments off

An unrelated home in Olalla, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Mitula.

In Olalla, British Columbia, Canada, a 55 and over manufactured home community finds itself suffering from the effects of flooding.

And, some residents say that the issue stems from lack of attention.

We’d be spared from flooding if they dredged that creek,” said resident Margaret Munn. Munn, along with other residents, feel the provincial government should do more to protect them.

According to Global News CA, resident Jim Stewart was forced to trek through his neighbor’s yard and climb through a fence to access his flooded home. Due to the flooding, he’s been put up at a hotel for the next week thanks to area emergency services.

The community also sits on a flood plain… and residents say this is unlike anything they’ve ever seen before.

A few of these mobile homes [sic] are wrecked right now, we’ve had it, they are flooded right out,” said Stewart.

The high water has flooded at least four mobile homes [sic].”

With the flooding, residents are having to decide whether to stay or go.

Mom called me up hysterically that the driveway is under water,” said resident Jamie Walker, who expressed concern about the well being of his 60-year-old mother.

It’s just the worry that the water is going to encroach on further property and create damage and more headaches.”

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Olalla (red marker). Credit: Google.

Elef Christensen, representative and Area G Director for the area, pointed to heat as the culprit.

The snow is melting up in Apex and it’s coming down to Keremeos Creek,” said Christensen.

Christensen did not provide a timeline for cleanup, next steps, or additional resources for the community residents.

 

Flooding Impacts on Manufactured Home Communities

The Daily Business News has covered scenarios similar to the one in Olalla, British Columbia recently, including the case of Riviera Estates in Eagle, Idaho, where officials were working to pump water out of the community’s shed pumps, which provide potable water to residents.

According to KBOI, residents were forced to evacuate due to floodwaters that initially spread two to three feet, then several more feet in the span of one day.

They’re going to still have to release more water, more water means deeper flood water,” said J.R. Schooley, who is working with a family to move out of the community.

Deeper flood water means there’s a point where you can’t get out of here and that’s what we worry about the most, you get to a point where it’s two, three feet deep.”

For more on manufactured home communities dealing with the effects of flooding, including those at the Balls Ferry Fishing Resort and Mobile Home Park in Anderson, California, click here. ##

 

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NIMBY? Fear? Ignorance? MHC Proposal on Hold

May 4th, 2017 Comments off
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Credit: OHRC.ON.CA, under fair use.

In Smyrna, North Carolina, landowner Carolyn Floyd-Robinson thought she had “checked all the boxes” when she was ready to contribute to the community. The response she received from city commissioner was not what she expected.

According to the Red Springs Citizen, Robinson appeared before the commissioners this week, seeking a conditional-use permit that would allow her to establish a 43- site manufactured home community on 24 acres she owns.

The property, which Robinson has owned for more than 10 years, is farmland and located in an area zoned residential/agricultural.

This land has always been family owned and I want to enhance the community,” Robinson told commissioners.

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Carolyn Floyd-Robinson. Credit: Red Springs Citizen.

It will be phased in in sections, the homes will all be new, and the leasing will be done through a property management company. There will be background checks, references will be required and there will be a property manager on site.”

Robinson did not receive the response she expected.

Three nearby property owners said that they are concerned a “mobile home park” would be a magnet for criminal activity. All three cited drug use and other criminal activities they have witnessed at a nearby community.

We don’t want that around our children,” said property owner Antionette Thompson.

We don’t need drugs in the area,” said Dematrius Hill. “It only takes one person with the wrong mindset.”

The responses were enough for commissioner Berlester Campbell to make a motion to table the request for the permit after hearing Robinson and opponents of the park argue their cases before the commissioners.

I know where the property is and I know it is all family land,” said Campbell. “I want us to sit down and discuss Wiregrass Road before this goes any further.”

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Smyrna, North Carolina (red marker). Credit: Google.

For Robinson, she believes that people had an opportunity to voice their opposition prior to her taking costly action.

I object,” said Robinson.

I’ve invested money in the project since the Planning Board approved my plans and no one came to that board’s meeting to voice objections.”

The commissioners say they will revisit the request in June.

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Danny Feagin. Credit: Aiken Standard.

The Daily Business News has covered a number of potential NIMBY (Not-In-My-Back-Yard) stories recently, where current residents appear to be working to keep manufactured homes or communities out. Most notable is the case in Aiken, South Carolinawhere Councilman Danny Feagin was quoted as saying “As long as it keeps the mobile home parks [sic] out, I think the folks would be satisfied,” in relation to a proposed rezoning ordinance.

For more on the myths and facts surrounding manufactured housing, and the opportunity for millions to achieve the American Dream of home ownership, click here. ##

 

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Affordable Modular Housing Opportunity Helps Desperate Residents

November 25th, 2016 Comments off
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A home in El Jebel. Credit: Trulia.

For residents in need of affordable housing in and around Glenwood, Colorado, modular homes are helping to provide the solution.

One of the first substantial additions to affordable housing stock in the area is underway in Roaring Fork Valley, as Crawford Properties LLC is adding 46 affordable housing units to the existing El Jebel Mobile Home Park.

The project, due for completion next spring, will provide eight two-bedroom units and 38 three-bedroom residences, per Crawford Properties President Robert Hubbell.

According to The-Independent, the first two modular homes arrived November 18th.

It was an emotional moment,” said Hubbell. “One that made me realize the project was really happening.” Three additional modular homes are scheduled for delivery in the first week of December, and the first five units will be ready for residents to move in by January 1st.

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Robert Hubbell. Credit: Aspen Times.

Six of the residences will be deed-restricted as affordable housing and rented in cooperation with the Eagle County Housing Authority. The 40 remaining units will be rented at 30 percent of the area median income, making them attainable for working class families and individuals.

Crawford Properties and the Crawford family have provided affordable housing in El Jebel for more than 50 years, and Hubbell is the grandson of the late Floyd Crawford, who developed the El Jebel Mobile Home Park.

More than 200 individuals and families have applied to rent the new units,” said Hubbell. “It’s a mixture of people who live in towns such as Rifle and Silt but work in the Roaring Fork Valley and want to move closer to their jobs, and current valley residents who want to improve their living situation.

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Credit: Google.

The El Jebel Mobile Home Park expansion is one of seven projects either under construction or under review in the area. All seven projects have an affordable housing component. ##

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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City Council Approves Rezoning of Manufactured Home Community

October 29th, 2016 Comments off
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Boulder City Mobile Home Park. Credit: KTNV

The Boulder City, Nevada City Council has unanimously approved the request of developer Randy Schams to rezone 7.33 acres of land he owns in the city to a multi-home residential area.

A number of regular Daily Business News readers may recognize Schams’ name, as part of our coverage on the Boulder City Planning Commission vote on the issue last month.

Schams purchased the property, known as the Boulder City Mobile Home Park. out of bankruptcy last November, and had been working to clean up the community, with a plan to turn it into 19 single story townhomes.

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Boulder City Planning Commission, Randy Schams 2nd from left. Credit: Boulder City Beat

The planning commission unanimously approved the request on September 21st, setting the stage for a city council decision.

Given the location of the property, Brok Armantrout, director of community development and other community members felt that the land should have a commercial designation.

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Brok Armantrout. Credit: bcnv.org.

We have asked the developer to change the designation to commercial, but he felt that a commercial property was not a viable option with the Interstate 11 coming,” said Armantrout.

According to the Boulder City Review, Schams insisted that “the mobile home park [sic] be rezoned as a residential area and not a commercial area” despite the pleas.

I didn’t have an issue here until recently because I was happy that the park [sic] was getting cleaned up,” said Boulder City resident Kevin Tibbs.

But after a lot of thought I think the only reasonable designation for the land is commercial just like everywhere else along the highway. Residential does not belong on this highway; we know that because of the condition of the park [sic] when the owner bought it. Please urge the developer to change his residential designation.

The city had a plan to make the area commercial and now they are just throwing it out to appease one person,” said resident Tracy Folda.

The city council and the planning commission disagreed, citing that the area has been a manufactured home community since the late 1950s.

Why is the best use of this land commercial if it has never been commercial?” Councilman Duncan McCoy asked.

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Duncan McCoy. Credit: bcnv.org

I have no problem with this project; people have been griping about the quality of homes in that area for 28 years and I am not persuaded we need the area for commercial lots when not all of our current lots are filled.

With the new Interstate 11 bypass coming to the area, planning commission member Glenn Leavitt and councilwoman Peggy Leavitt agreed that a residential designation was acceptable, as some business will likely shut down once the bypass is complete.

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Peggy Leavitt. Credit: bcnv.org.

We can ignore the elephant in the room or go for it head on, but the hard truth is that some businesses will fail when the bypass shows up,” commissioner Leavitt said. “We agreed with a residential designation because people were demanding more affordable housing and because commercial businesses that move in there could fail.

We have taken a lot of heat because there is not enough affordable housing in the city and this appeals to me because it is affordable housing,” councilwoman Leavitt said.

One councilman had a slightly different take.

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Cam Walker. Credit: bcnv.org.

I like the residential idea because it would not be a trailer park [sic] anymore,” said councilman Cam Walker.

Randy Schams echoed Walker’s sentiment.

I have been building here for 20-plus years and I have never heard one positive thing about that trailer park [sic],” said Schams. “I am just trying to make it more appealing and with affordable housing.

The council expressed issues surrounding limited access to and from the property, but did not take any action.

According to the Boulder City Review, with the rezoning designation approved, residents of the community will be ordered to leave by a designated date given by the developer. ##

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(Editor’s Note: while some believe that manufactured home communities are havens of crime, the story linked here has a downloadable report, authored by a university professor, that demonstrates the contrary is true).

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

Assistant Mayor Pushes to Remove “Trailer” Terminology

October 26th, 2016 Comments off
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Original image credit, Seacoastonline.

Portsmouth, NH assistant mayor Jim Splaine is doing what he can to put an end to the stigma that’s often felt by people who live in manufactured homes.

Too often, the areas where manufactured homeowners live are referred to as “trailer parks,” reports seacoastonline’s Jeff McMenemy.

I think it does upset people who live in home parks and have them referred to as mobile homes,” Splaine said.

As MHLivingNews recently reported, these negative attitudes don’t always come from strangers, as Splaine described.

To get the complete report on his and similar efforts to fight the stigma, including photos and videos, please click here.##

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City tells Community Owner, Stop Lying – called a “Slumlord”

October 24th, 2016 Comments off
creditsanantoniocurrent-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Cleanup at Oak Hollow. Credit: San Antonio Current.

On the northwest side of San Antonio, a literally smelly controversy has been brewing.

According to multiple news sources, including the San Antonio Current, the owner of Oak Hollow Mobile Home Park has been served a cease and desist by the city.

The order tells him to stop lying to his “tenants.”

The story begins with complaints to the city of San Antonio by residents of the community regarding a strong sewage smell.

I’ve lived there four years, and then my sisters lived there for at least 15 years before that. It’s always smelled like this, I just never knew where it came from,” said one of the residents, who asked the Current to keep his identity anonymous for fear of retribution. “I mostly keep [my daughters] indoors now.

Upon investigation, the city found raw sewage leaking from decrepit septic tanks and directly into the park’s soil, including one leak directly underneath a tenant’s home. The resident was forced to avoid one of the rooms due to the smell.

The city determined that 12 of the homes were in such bad shape that the health department was legally bound to alert those living in Oak Hollow that they would need to move out of their home and into hotel rooms, paid for by the city, until the landlord addressed the problem.

What happened next was unexpected by some.

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Oak Hollow Community. Credit: San Antonio Express.

Joe Mangione, the owner of Oak Hollow, sent out a letter to residents with the following message, “The City of San Antonio has condemned the Mobile Home Park and will be giving out notices to vacate.”

According to city officials, they have done no such thing.

ronnirenbergcreditsanantonioexpress-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Ron Nirenberg. Credit: San Antonio Express.

We have families that feel as if they are being uprooted by the city,” said Councilman Ron Nirenberg, whose district includes the Oak Hollow property.

Really, this is about a mobile home [sic] millionaire that has let property go into decay to the point that government has to force compliance.

According to Nirenberg, he contacted Mangione after hearing about the sewage leaks over two weeks ago. When Nirenberg and city staff demanded an explanation for the situation, Mangione offered an unexpected response.

He agreed his property was contaminated and uninhabitable – and that he’d sell it.

The property owner is using this opportunity to further his ultimate goal to sell the property, said Maria Cesar, communications director for Nirenberg’s office.

(Editor’s Note: as Richard Nodel’s comments below suggest, 
most MH Community owners do not operate in this fashion.
For an example of a different experience, click here.)

The Daily Business News has attempted to reach Mangione for comment, and has not received a response.

The Current reports that after reaching the staff at Oak Hollow, they were told that Mangione would not return calls until he got a lawyer.

According to Victoria Mather, a professor at St. Mary’s School of Law with a background in landlord and tenant law, the use of city intervention as an “easy out” isn’t unusual.

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Victoria Mather. Credit: St. Mary’s School of Law.

When it becomes too expensive for a landlord to fix a problem like this, they sell,” said Mather.

This used to be really common in the 60’s, especially with apartment buildings. But it still happens all over the country. 

Mather also told the Current that the only way residents could legally fight back is if Mangione broke a rental contract that promised maintenance upkeep or specific eviction rules. “You can’t force a landlord to stay in business,” said Mather.

Rumors, and the nationality of the tenants, provide an additional twist to this story.

We are not taking your home away from you and we are not going to take our eyes off this situation,” Nirenberg told a meeting of the residents.

Rumors were circulating that the city was going to evict all of the tenants and that they were being punished for reporting the sewage leaks. Nirenberg had to speak slowly enough for a staff member to translate.

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Sewage Line at Oak Hollow. Credit: KABB.

Many of the park’s residents are Hispanics, and only understand Spanish. Several claimed that the threat of being reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was a common threat used by Mangione to keep them quiet.

MH Industry Voices Sound Off on the Issue

Karl Radde, General Manager of Southern Comfort Homes and a long-time board member of the Texas Manufactured Housing Association, said, “My very basic initial take at this point is that it seems to be a situation where a city is wanting an owner to repair infrastructure and for reasons unknown from this [local news] article, the owner isn’t or hasn’t,” said Radde.

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Karl Radde, Southern Comfort Homes, Chairman, National Retailers Council, MHI. Radde’s complete thoughts on this issue are linked here.

However, as what is many times missing from these kinds of [local news] articles is the degree of failure and what the remedy would be,” Radde stated.

Certainly, like the Austin gardening plots conundrum, some things at first glance reading seem to be very good and simple ideas or solutions,” Radde, who has worked with manufactured home communties, said.  “In this case however, IF, the city is saying the repair is to dig up the old system, have hazmat crews remove the contaminated soil within three feet around the distressed area, pay exorbitant fees to have it disposed of at a recognized contaminated soil disposal site, and then install On-Site Sewage Facilities (TCEQ’s hundred-dollar word for septic system) that may not physically be possible in the space allowed; then they may as well be condemning it, just not going through the condemnation process.

An MH Community Owner with Texas Properties Views

I doubt that my reaction is different from anybody else reading this,” said Richard Nodel. “It is just another classic example of a slum landlord taking advantage of people that because of their position are either afraid to speak up or can’t afford to move.

Nodel also spoke to the perceptions that hurt the manufactured housing industry.

People on the bottom rung of our economic ladder in effect become hostages to the place they live, no matter how miserable it might be,” said Nodel.

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All of Richard Nodel’s observations on this issue are at this link here.

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It’s very easy to take advantage of people like this. We have several properties that are blue collar, family parks. We believe that they are entitled to the same safe, healthy environment as those residents in our fancy resort properties.

The Daily Business News will continue to follow this story, and will provide an update if Mangione and/or his attorney provide comments. ##

(Editor’s Note: as stated on the complete commentary from Karl Radde, linked here, were provided prior to additional information and sources on this developing story came to light. His qualified comments above still apply to this or similar situations.)

(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.

Manufactured Home Residents Considering Lawsuit

October 19th, 2016 Comments off
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Rolling Acres residents discuss their options. Credit: Mindy Ragan Wood, Red Dirt Report.

A Shawnee, Oklahoma manufactured home community is in flux after a series of missteps.

According to Red Dirt Report, a number of residents of the Rolling Acres Mobile Home Park were outraged recently when they received a 60-day eviction notice. They are considering a lawsuit after Shawnee attorney Kent Massey invited them to discuss their legal options.

The story begins in March, when Red Dirt Report found that the community’s lagoon was overburdened with too many residents on the system. It was leaking less than a mile from the North Canadian River.

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) received complaints and served the owner, Stephen H. Sanders, with a consent order requiring the lagoon system be fixed in order to continue operations of the community.

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Credit: Wikipedia.

According to records, 59 homes are connected to the lagoon system.

But under current standards, it is only designed to accommodate 15 homes.

Late last week, 34 of 59 homes were served eviction notices. Only those who owned their homes were served.

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Top of the Rolling Acres lagoon. Credit: Mindy Ragan Wood, Red Dirt Report.

According to the Red Dirt Report, homeowners were surprised to learn that people who were renting their homes from Sanders were allowed to stay. Many of those rental units were said to be in disrepair, but the rent collection on homes can be as high as $500.

Homeowners are only paying $165 in lot rent.

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Stephen H. Sanders. Credit: SBH Auditors.

I don’t like doing it. There doesn’t seem to be any way out of it so that’s why they have to move their trailer [sic], said Sanders.It’s one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make. In fact, I’m about to retire and I was counting on that trailer park [sic] as a significant part of my retirement.

Sanders contends that while he takes responsibility for the condition of the lagoon, the same number of residents on the system were the same number as when he bought it 11 years ago.

The View from Homeowners

Up until recently, manufactured home buyers have been allowed to move onto the property, unaware of the issues with the lagoon.

Whitney Kucera and her partner, Robert Vanzant moved onto the property in June.

We paid $20,000 to buy it and fix it up, cash,” said Vanzant.

We had a settlement from a DUI accident,” said Kucera who used the cash to pay for the residence.

Now we don’t have anything. And I’m trying to get my kids back from DHS. How am I going to do that without a house? We don’t have anything left,” said Vanzant.

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Rolling Acres. Credit: Google.

Other residents point to deteriorating water quality.

When you take a shower, it burns your eyes,” said Courtney Armstrong. “And the water smells like sewage.

Sherita Chaffin has MS, a heart condition, and COPD. “The water is so nasty. I got a bacterial infection and had to go to the ER. They told me, ‘Stay away from that well water,” Chaffin said.

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Residents at Rolling Acres. Credit: KOKH.

In addition to the challenges with sanitation, many residents face another issue. Most residents agree to a rent-to-own purchase of the home and therefore are responsible for all repairs. The local media didn’t address the question if the rent-to-own program is Dodd-Frank compliant.

Many don’t stay long enough to pay for the home, so their units,  go largely unrepaired and end up in worse condition for the next rent-to-own buyer.

With the hope of home ownership, residents often decide to pay it off and then fix it up. Others purchased their homes from Sanders outright or moved the homes onto property they may purchase.

What Happens Next

As for Sanders, who also owns Pine Ridge – another community in nearby Meeker that has also had issues with lagoon usage – he’s trying to figure out the next steps with Rolling Acres, including selling the property.

It’s not something he says he wants to do. He’s retiring this week.

I couldn’t borrow $500,000 from the bank because I’m retiring. The issue isn’t just looking out for my selfish self, but what am I going to do without that retirement? The last thing I wanted to do was reduce the number of users in that park because it affects me financially,” he said.

According to the DEQ, selling would not make the issue go away.

No change in the ownership or corporate status of respondents will affect respondent’s responsibilities under this order.

Sanders points to what, in his mind, are moving targets in dealing with the DEQ.

They regularly inspect it (lagoon),” said Sanders. “I thought everything was fine, everything’s going smooth, everybody’s happy. So, I didn’t ask any questions. Slowly over the last two years they’ve changed their regulations and unfortunately they’ve gotten a lot stricter.” ##

(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.