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Spreading City Ban on Individual Lot Placements Threatens Independently Owned Manufactured Home Communities, Retailers, Residents, and HUD Code Producers

March 26th, 2019 Comments off

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Former volume retailer, community owner and Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) award winner Marty Lavin has referred to the HUD Code has a discrimination code.

 

State association executive J.D. Harper has called the bias against manufactured housing and their residents an example of “economic racism.”

 

It will be recalled that Harper’s association launched a nascent video campaign to boost manufactured housing acceptance. To the Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association’s (AMHA) credit, that campaign is outperforming in YouTube views that MHI ‘story telling campaign’ has on achieved on that same online video platform.

Yet Arkansas is one of those states that is struggling against a growing trend to restrict or ban manufactured homes. The new HUD Code manufactured home shipment trend lines in that state have been problematic, as has Michigan, which has done varied promotional efforts of their own.  Despite MHI, or some state’s efforts to ‘promote’ manufactured housing, that’s arguably being drowned out by a longer and stronger drumbeat of often negative news.

Mainstream news stories like this next one –  going largely unanswered by MHI or the Berkshire Hathaway owned brands that reportedly dominate the Arlington, VA based trade group – add to a volume of anti-manufactured home background noise. 

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There are proven ways to deal with such ‘bad news’ for the industry stories, be they local or national. But MHI and several state associations routinely won’t do so. This video had no embed code, so you can see the report at the link that follows. https://www.abc57.com/news/abc57-investigates-la-porte-county-mobile-home-park-hit-with-multiple-violations-residents-complain-of-awful-conditions Doing nothing only keeps the drum beat of bad news coming, while new HUD Code manufactured home shipments flounder during an affordable housing crisis.

 

 

 

The New Durham Estates, Tom Fath Experience 

In contrast to that phenomenon, is Tom Fath and his family’s business. The Fath’s New Durham Estates Community is undergoing a transformation. Once treading water at best, or losing occupancy, they are now reportedly attracting more new residents who are buying new, newer, nicer and more expensive HUD Code homes. They are selling more, in a move away from the refurbished and/or rental housing trends found in so many other land-lease communities.

Yet Fath sounded a warning to the industry when he said the following.  When there business is dramatically improving, why is he sounding an alarm?

TomFathCreatedAnIndustryUnderAssaultQuoteWeSucceedWhenCustomersAreHappyDailyBusinessNewsMHProNEws

 

That was said by Fath in response to the MHI’s arguably problematic advertorial campaign. MHProNews led the charge in calling that faux news effort out as ineffective at best, or a risk at worst.

But back to Fath’s comments. They’re impressive improvements at New Durham Estates are driving their occupancy, income, and values higher. Furthermore it’s obvious that their residents love the Fath family, some of whom live on property along side their MH owning residents.

Want proof? 

Beyond video interviews with actual residents – some of which like the one linked here and here are posted on MHLivingNews, there’s the fact that Tom Fath was voted onto his town’s council. Unhappy residents obviously don’t vote for their owners!  As one of those links reveals, a retired police chief and his wife settled at New Durham Estates, and she too was voted onto the town council.  That’s a stark contrast to what’s happening in Bryan TX or other places where manufactured home bans are being discussed.  How does Fath describe their experiences in turning around their property and making it into a desirable destination? 

 

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The troubling trend to attack manufactured homes – or ‘mobile homes’ and ‘trailer houses’ as the cities and residents often wrongly describe our housing products – can be countered.  Fath and his family, just miles from that other community prove it.  Proper engagement with the media, with residents, with public officials are all part of the solutions mix.

 

 

Crawl, Walk, Run

Dennis Hill, who was previously quoted as saying to MHProNews that the once cancelled Louisville Show needed to take a crawl, walk, run approach to rebuilding. Once up-trending while the Louisville Show was being promoted by MHProNews, and educational efforts were run by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, now that Show has shrunk in exhibitions and display size again. Instead of acknowledging a warning signal, the new promoters – staunch pro-MHI member MHVillage and their so-called MHInsider magazine is spinning, wrongly – or lying? – about the downward trend at that event, as the report below reveals.  ICYMI, or want a refresher, you can click the linked text-image box below later for more depth on a related topic.

 

Fact Check, Darren Krolewski, MHInsider Claim on 2019 Louisville Show Attendance

 

These disparate threads are surprisingly interconnected. Because they all come together to threaten the HUD Code industry’s independent producers, retailers, communities, residents and their related interests

It’s arguably a different manifestation of Warren Buffett’s, Kevin Clayton’s and Tim Williams’ strategic and economic moat,” says Tony Kovach. ICYMI, see the related reports, further below the byline and notices.

 

Warren Buffett’s Moat, Understanding Manufactured Housing Requires Grasping Strategic Economic Moats

 

The Solution?

Tony Kovach says that the Ziglar and other success guru principles that advocate understanding a problem before proposing solutions is a key. 

ProblemSolvingZigZiglarFirstStepRecognizetheProblemExistsNextIsProblemOurResponsiblityProblemSolvingVeryImportantDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Crawl, walk, run is an apt principle to keep in mind here too,” says Kovach. “These seemingly disconnected trends intersect. It might seem to help in the short term some aggregators of manufactured home communities, who buy up distressed or under-performing properties from mom-and-pop ownership and turn them into a corporate ownership that is then targeted by MHAction. Is it surprising to learn that resident group GSMOL tipped us and helped identify the ‘follow the money’ ties between the radical anti-MHC corporate ownership MHAction group, and the Tides Foundation, which demonstrably got funding from Berkshire chair Warren Buffett?

 

It is not quite a stage-managed affair.  But if you set people into motion doing what they do anyway, then what occurs is a seemingly choreographed resistance to manufactured homes. That does impact lending.  It does impact – artificially so – the natural appreciation that the National Association of Realtors and the Federal Housing and Finance Administration (FHFA) has each identified exists in manufactured homes. 

We respect the rights of individuals and companies to support with their money whomever they please,” says Tony Kovach. “But out of concern for those who support MHI, we and a few other voices have for some time raised the alarm about the troubling trends that MHI and their puppet masters have allowed the industry to be faced with. If I thought MHI was trying to solve problems, we’d more likely still be a MHI member. But as members of NAMHCO, MHARR long before them, and others have come to realize, paying MHI money is like feeding the hand that is biting yours.”

 

 

Fake News, False or Misleading Narratives  

It may seem entirely unrelated, but it’s nevertheless an apt example. For years, large swaths of the mainstream media has been parroting “Trump Russia Collusion.”  Now, after nearly 2 years of examinations by over a dozen Democratic-supporting attorneys working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, after 25 million dollars spent, thousands of subpoenas, piles of documents, and over 500 witness interviews, they found no shred of evidence against the president or his campaign. Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, a Democrat himself, objectively denounced the probe repeatedly as illicit.  MHProNews reported those points by Dershowitz and others across the left-right divide.  Now Dershowitz is blasting Mueller for how he framed his statement of findings, but the famous Harvard law attorney is unsurprised by the result. He is sorry for the harm Mueller and the probe has had on numerous levels our largely polarized nation.

The fact trail now know reveals that the Mueller probe was fake news sparked by a disgruntled fired former FBI director Jim Comey, that was based upon a fake dossier. Our publisher placed this satirical cartoon on the home page years ago. Much of it has since come to pass.

PresidentObamaFBIComeyAGLynchBookingDealsDCSwampDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsPolticalCartoon

Once the rules of engagement and methods used are better understood, then one can often predict what will follow. This satirical cartoon was done years ago by MHProNews, and much of it has since come to pass.

 

 

President Obama was supported by Warren Buffett. Buffett’s grandson served in the Obama White House. 

 

WarrenBuffettBillClintonHillaryClintonBarackObamaKevinClaytonNathanSmithPhotosDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews600

 

It’s not a conspiracy theory when there are facts, clear evidence, and a pattern of behavior that is largely predictable.  Buffett’s ties to manufactured housing are unmistakable. His ties to other high-level Democrats are too. The same is true for Nathan Smith, of SSK Communities, and Kevin Clayton of Clayton Homes.  All are MHI members.  Again, that doesn’t taint all MHI members, or all of those working for MHI member firms.  But a few key ones are clearly benefiting from actions and inactions that harm the majority to benefit a minority. 

But how does this Mueller analogy tie into the burgeoning movement to ban manufactured homes in cities and towns across America?

They are both examples of how fake news can be believed by millions of Americans.  Millions think of our industry in dark terms.  That’s why a study by an independent real estate firm revealed that only about 4 percent of housing buyers seriously consider manufactured homes.  That’s an alarm bell.  Couple that with MHVillage’s own poor conversion data – which shows that less than a fraction of a single percent that shops for a manufactured home actually buys one – and you have a full blown crisis that helps explains that shipment challenges reflected below.  It can be viewed as coincidence or not that Buffett, along with other mega-billionaires, are tied into the machinations that have sparked, allowed or even fueled both of the disinformation trends. It is whatever it is.


ManufacturedHousingIndustryShipmentsCavcoIndustriesCVCOMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

An Industry Under Assault? 

Is manufactured housing an industry under assault as Fath said? How can one say differently, in the light of the evidence? Yet Fath himself reveals that the pattern isn’t a forgone conclusion. Rather, Fath himself says that something can and should be done to resist and profit during this troubling trend.

Protect, Educate, Promote. P.E.P. That’s the simple formula for fighting the combination of seemingly natural but also artificially stoked and relatively unimpeded headwinds that are Buffett’s proverbial sharks in the waters of his Moat. 

Part of the arguably evil genius here is that to a causal observer, it looks harmless enough.  When industry professionals don’t recognize what’s happening, how are regulators supposed to see it clearly without expert help?  The headwinds that lead to business closures and consolidations may appear to be natural market forces.  But even in nature if a fire is fueled and is allowed to spread, there is avoidable destruction just the same.  

MarkWeissJDPresidentCEOManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsPosturing activity, what Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) called “the Illusion of Motion” is an apt description for what MHI does. For example, MHI make videos that too few watch, but it looks like an effort to promote. The Arlington based MHI place advertorials in newspapers and then claim that millions see them. Even if MHI’s claim were so, then millions remain unconvinced by MHI’s ads, social media, and videos. The proof is in the vexingly low new home production numbers.  That’s not conspiracy 101, that’s reality 101.

Meanwhile, MHI has attempted to weaponized much of the industry’s trade media and bloggers. The resistance is on MHARR and MHProNews. It remains to be seen what NAMHCO will or won’t do.

But a pair of reports from sources tied to NAMHCO suggest to MHProNews that they believe they are already making progress on Duty to Serve (DTS) when MHI could not? If so, that’s a stunning indicator of just how poorly MHI performs in practice. If NAMHCO sources are correct, it will be the next exhibit in the collective case against MHI.

 

Manufactured housing should be soaring, not snoring,” says Tony Kovach. “The majority of manufactured home residents should be working with the independents of the manufactured home industry. Together they could break the chains that artificially bind the industry to low levels of performance. It’s actually easy, in the sense that the laws already exist to make the needed changes. Thank the members of MHARR for two of those laws — the Duty to Serve, and “enhanced preemption,” both of which MHARR leadership worked to enact. They are examples of what even a small association with focus can accomplish.  Now imagine if MHARR had the kind of funding that MHI does?”

 

The pattern of ineffective action or ill acts by MHI or the Berkshire brands being allowed to fester are part of a series of fake or misleading ‘information’ sources that’s been purportedly weaponized to harm the interests of independents and individuals alike. 

That pattern hurts most everyone, save a few consolidators. It is an open question if or how those consolidators who are consciously supporting – or are standing mute and watching – will respond when those same forces that have been unleashed has turned on them. 

There were protests in the streets against Donald J. Trump, our nation’s 45th president. The organizers said he collided with Russia.  Its likely that most of those protesters believed it. But over a dozen “angry Democrat” attorneys with $25 million spent in the effort couldn’t find any evidence of collusion by anyone in America with Russia.  None.  That includes the president and his campaign. 

There are protests against manufactured housing too.  Citizens are led to believe that manufactured homes harm their property values. It’s demonstrably not true, save perhaps in a narrow sense of how fake news influences some individuals home shopping behavior. Scaled, that does cause ripples.  Lower demand, and values are impacted.

 

YouGetMoreOfWhatYouEncourageLessofWhatYouDiscourageMartyLavin

The logic of this statement can be applied to a variety of cases.

 

Kevin Clayton is arguably right when he said on camera that Warren Buffett and his anti-competition strategic Moat can use nonprofits to their benefit. The BH Media Group, part of Buffett’s Berkshire Empire could single handedly start the debunking process. They don’t. Why? 

Isn’t it obvious that Buffett, his lieutenants, their minions, and lemmings are getting what they want?  He could be promoting the truth of manufactured housing better than anyone.  Yet Berkshire’s efforts are clearly metaphorical fig leaves compared to what is the naked truth of ineffective postured leadership.  

Meanwhile, the industry’s independents suffer. So too do millions who could benefit from manufactured home living.

But it’s not over. 

There is still time.

POTUS Trump proved by patient endurance and fighting back his innocence against a barrage of claims that he colluded with Russia.  His approval with mostly negative media hovers at around the same levels as then POTUS Barack Obama enjoyed with a mostly fawning media.  Fake news and misleading reports can be beaten.  Tom Fath and others prove it.  There are other examples that illustrate how a committed cadre of manufactured housing professionals and residents can begin the process of reclaiming the HUD Code industry. 

MHARR and MHProNews, and an array of sources and supporters who make the resistance possible have been laying the foundation independently, yet collaborating where possible, for years now. The next step is to begin to organize a post-production trade group that will do what MHI claims to do, but in fact fails to do.

That next step will be Thursday afternoon, at noontime. The location will be announced, but it is in the Tunica area,  not too far from the trade show that opens there today.

It will be a modest first step. MHARR, NAMHCO, or even the now purportedly weaponized NCC, all began with a modest meeting of the minds.  

The often debatably fake or ineffective education by MHI and their surrogates can be replaced by real education that is part of PEP. Protect. Educate. Promote.

 

WhatTheHellAudacityOfHopePOTUSObamaTrumpPromisesKeptManufacturedHousing525

It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. Protect. Educate. Promote. P.E.P.

 

Those three letters of P.E.P. sum up what must be consistently and honestly done. It doesn’t matter how hard the wind may seem to blow. POTUS Trump reveals that victory is possible. It starts – crawl, walk, run at Tunica with a small group of leaders who can make the changes to a brighter future a reality.  With about 100,000,000 in rental housing, there are few businesses with more upside potential than modern manufactured homes.  But the industry must fight forces within and without.  Think about Frank Rolfe’s statement.

SuzanneFelberFrankRolfeRichardADickJennisonAmericanHousingAdvocatesManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews600

UnzipLookingForUsUnlockedMindHowCanWeHelpThemSeeManufacturedHOusingINdustryDailyBsuinessNewsMHproHNEws

When customers come to your website, are they finding what they are looking for, because they have a beautiful dream they want to fulfill. But they also have questions. Are they ‘bouncing’ at a high rate? If so, that is a red flag for a possible design issue. Other red flags include low conversion rates.

The alternative? Is to continue to allow those who spin or allow fake news to drive independent businesses out of business.  

P.E.P.ProtectEducatePromoteMHProNews

This is what a good post-production association does. P.E.P. There are billions of dollars in opportunities. But it requires visionaries to get involved.

 

 

Fear of loss. Desire for gain. Take your pick – or both – for motivations.

The industry will arguably not achieve its tremendous potential until a pro-growth national association option exists to MHI. Learn more at the links, above and below. Make or modify your plans to attend the historic meetings Thursday afternoon, in Tunica MS near the main trade show location, which will start after their events are concluded.

  • NAMHCO,
  • MHARR,
  • Independent Producers and Retailers that are currently members of a variety of associations, or no association,
  • are all among those who plant to come to the kick off event to discuss that causes and cures for our industry’s low results.  A new association doesn’t require hundreds of members, but it may end up with hundreds of members once it begins. A new association needs only a few committed members, that is how each of the above as noted began.

That’s what’s new from manufactured housing most read and most trusted “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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New Law Benefits Manufactured Home Community Owners, Residents

February 12th, 2019 Comments off

DarrelBushEalumDemocratGANewLawBenefitsManufacturedHOmeCommunityOwnersResidentsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

A recently passed law will soon help manufactured home community owners as well as their residents.

 

House Bill 381 will permit manufactured home community owner/operators to use a process that classifies a mobile or manufactured home as abandoned, and then will allow it to be removed from the community.

WALB dubs Darrel Ealum as a former state representative and community owner.  The following legislators sponsored the bill that became law.

Sponsored By

(1) Corbett, John 174th (2) Ealum, Darrel 153rd (3) LaRiccia, Dominic 169th

(4) Shaw, Jason 176th (5) Watson, Sam 172nd

 

Sponsored In Senate By

Kennedy, John 18th

DarrelEalumFormerDemocraticPartyRepGeorgiaLegislatureManufacturedHomeCommunityOwnerDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The legislation was backed by the Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA), a source close to the trade group said.

Ealum said that “What this bill did is develop a very simple structure where the land owner and the local governments together, your cities, county government can work together get control of these old abandoned homes and get rid of them. Get them to the dump and have them torn down.”

What this bill did is develop a very simple structure where the land owner and the local governments together, your cities, county government can work together get control of these old abandoned homes and get rid of them. Get them to the dump and have them torn down,” explained Ealum.

That can keep vacant and abandoned homes from being used for criminal or other problematic activity, as well as will free up a home site for occupancy by another home.

The bill took two years to pass and goes into effective in May of 2019.  That’s this evening manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,”  © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Jury Awards Millions to Residents in Suit Against Controversial Community Operator

November 26th, 2018 Comments off

 

JuryAwardsMillionsResidentsSuitAgainstCOntroversialCommunityOwnerKortScottDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

AP and numerous local media announced last week that residents in a manufactured home community in California won a multi-million-dollar judgment from a jury.

 

A jury has awarded more than $5.5 million to 31 residents of a Southern California mobile home park[sic] rife with problems including sinkholes, sewage backups and rats,” said AP and KUSI.

Lead attorney against the Kort & Scott owned property “…Brian Kabateck says the residents, many elderly, lived in squalor at the property that was once a trash dump for the city of Long Beach,” per AP.

 

KortScottFriendlyVillageFloodedDrivewayManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

The local media news video below was posted prior to the settlement, but tees up some of the background and issues involved in what many in that area view as a scandal.

 

 

The property went into bankruptcy, prior to the judgement, per the Long Beach Post.

 

 

The people who bought this in 2014 knew what they were buying. They paid $23.5 million and they saw this as their personal ATM machine and they didnt 1 want to do any repairs, they didn’t want to do any fixes,” attorney for the community’s residents, Brian Kabateck said, per KABC.

The defense attorney for the property owners told prospective jurors that it was known that the development was built on a landfill, explaining that residents were given disclosures about that point.

That apparently didn’t sway jurors.

After being sued for neglect and other causes of action, “owner of North Long Beach mobile home park [sic] files for bankruptcy,” according to the Long Beach Post.

The owners of Friendly Village Mobile Home Park1, who have been sued by tenants over their alleged neglect of the North Long Beach park, filed for bankruptcy” in October, court records show.

A Beverly Hills attorney representing Friendly Village in the bankruptcy proceeding, Howard I. Camhi, did not comment to the Long Beach Post at the time, nor did Phil Woog, the Costa Mesa attorney defending Friendly Village in the civil lawsuit.

Industry veteran Marty Lavin, JD, has previously opined in several commentaries that community operators bear responsibility for business practices that instigate resident, legal, and regulatory furor.  Resident groups, such as MHPHOA and GSMOL, are among those that routinely beat-the-drums about Kort and Scott, which arguably causes issues for other community owners that don’t engage in similarly controversial practices.

Last year MHProNews noted that local media failed to present another Kort and Scott community’s perspective, but in this Long Beach case, it seems that the California firm declined the opportunity.

 

Public Official, ABC News, Manufactured Home Community Owner Clash Over Resident Concerns

 

By contrast, MHProNews reported last week on an uproar in another state, where that manufactured home community operator promptly replied to our request for comments. That community owner robustly addressed concerns by local media and that town’s officials.  That prior, unrelated report, is linked further below, and a follow up to it is planned in the near term.

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Footnote 1: typo and terminology errors are in the original media reports.

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Supply, Demand, Manufactured Homes, and Land Lease Communities

September 11th, 2018 Comments off

SupplyDemandManufacturedHOmesLandLeaseCommunitiesBuyersResidentsDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

As you listen to this video about blueberries, think about manufactured home community sites, instead of blueberries.

 

With that understanding, this video is one way to explain to resident activist group members why a lack of new construction is one of the drivers of higher site fees.


But another factor that has to be considered by activists and there supporters is interest by home shoppers in manufactured homes themselves.

When headline grabbing activists make living in a manufactured home community sound less appealing, what that does is arguably harm the values of existing pre-HUD Code mobile homes and manufactured homes. Why? Because the demand is lower, the price will likely be lower.

As noted earlier today, these issues aren’t meant to be a put-down of well-intended followers of NMHOA, MHAction or other activist-leaders.

Rather, reports like this and the one below are meant to give a tool to those on staff who may interact with such residents.

Tim Sheahan, NMHOA President, Controversial Points of Agreement with Marty Lavin, George Allen on Communities

These provides a means to explain to those who may be well intended, but are logically being misled by the leadership of manufactured home activist residents. NMHOA and MHAction leaders are arguably harming the interests of member home owners on several levels.

Maybe that’s why those leaders don’t want to discuss or debate such issues in public?

We’ll plan reports like this on MHLivingNews, but until then, your front line staff need to get their arms around this.  We already have the related report below.

Washington Post – Protests of HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Manufactured Housing Institute, by MHAction, New York Communities for Change, CarsonWatch – An Inside Look

Because there are per sources, hundreds if not thousands in MHVille who don’t know how to explain such issues to residents and shoppers.

To learn more details, please see the related reports, linked above and below. Retailers, communities and others should make sure that your staffs are on top of these types of nuts-and-bolts issues.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Veteran Gets Assist from Manufactured Home Community Residents

May 26th, 2017 Comments off
VeteranGetsAssistfromManufacturedHomeCommunityResidentscreditFOX11-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Auer’s home in the Lakeview Community. Credit: FOX 11.

As we head into a holiday where we honor those who’ve made sacrifices, the spirit is alive and well in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

According to FOX 11, Martin Auer, who is an Army and Marine Corps reserve veteran, and also a 30-year resident at the Lakeview Mobile Home community, needed some help.

His home was in need of some TLC. I needed a new shed, plus I needed new skirting,” said Auer.

The company that owns the Lakeview Community, RV Horizons, selected Auer to receive a renovation, and community residents got together to volunteer their time and deliver on that promise.

It’s back-breaking, but it’s worth it,” said resident and volunteer Edith Simpson.

It’s going to be really nice, and when we get it done, it should look like a really nice place,” said community manager Donna Hodges.

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Volunteers work on the home. Credit: FOX 11.

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Credit: FOX 11.

As the renovations got under way, Auer, in true military fashion, was grateful.

I’m very appreciative, and relieved. I didn’t have to try to get it done myself,” said Auer. “There’s a lot of good people out there.”

The feeling from the volunteers is reciprocal.

Freedom is not free, and it takes a lot of sacrifice from people like Mr. Auer,” said Hodges.

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Credit: FOX 11.

I know what it’s like to struggle. It’s nice to be able to help somebody in the community that really needs the help,” Simpson added.

As the house skirting, hammering and building took place, Simpson and Auer reflected on the deeper meaning of taking action for good.

This is good, people’s attitudes have really changed about the military,” said Auer, while discussing that the treatment of veterans has not always been as good as it is now.

We’re all together, chipping in and helping, and doing what we can,” said Simpson.

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Credit: FOX 11.

Our vets deserve to be helped out with every little thing that they need, and this is a big thing, more people should get out there to help our vets.”

RV Horizons says it would like to continue doing projects like this for residents in need in the future.

For more on manufactured housing doing well by doing good, including assisting victims of Superstorm Sandy, click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

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

 

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Residents Win the Day: “We Are the Landlord”

May 1st, 2017 Comments off
ResidentsWintheDayWeAretheLandlordcreditWickedKingston-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Wicked Kingston.

South of Boston in Kingston, Massachusetts, residents of the Town & Country Estates had a busy day last week.

They bought their community.

According to Wicked Kingston, the residents, with help from (ROC USA) and its affiliate Cooperative Development Institute (CDI), residents of the community were able to realize a dream 10 years in the making, as members of the board for the Town & Country Mobile Home Estates Tenants Association finally signed the papers.

We don’t have to look for a landlord, we are the landlord, so that being a co-op and a nonprofit we’re not out to make any money so the only rent that we’re going to be charging ourselves is that which is enough to sustain the place,” said association President Joe Mauriello.

Mauriello says it was resident Joe Bruno that made the purchase possible, as he initially heard about ROC USA and CDI, the part of ROC USA that helped the association get organized, and contacted CDI’s Andy Danforth. ROC USA has been working with them for the last three years, he said, including the last year of actively working on the purchase.

Without ROC or CDI, we would not be owning this park [sic] today,” said Mauriello.

As Daily Business News readers are aware, ROC USA recently helped residents of the Kayadeross Acres Manufactured Home Cooperative in Ballston Spa, New York, to purchase their community, with papers being signed last Christmas. That story is linked here.

An offer to purchase the community from the previous owner provided Town & Country Estates residents the opening they needed to buy the property for $6.2 million. While there will be an increase in rents, residents say that the stability factor is huge.

ResidentsWintheDayWeAretheLandlordcreditWickedKingston2-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Wicked Kingston.

At a celebration, two cakes were decorated with the words “We own it!” and a sign that reads “Hooray! Tis the day, to ourselves we now will pay. Congrats family!”

For more on ROC USA, including a recent study on rent rates, click here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

As the Community Turns… are Residents Hurting Themselves?

April 29th, 2017 Comments off
AsTheCommunityTurnscreditWashingtonPost-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

East End Mobile Home Park. Credit: WAPO.

In a story that the Daily Business News has been following extensively, the saga of the East End Mobile Home Park in Manassas, Virginia has shown signs of hope.

But, the very residents that have fought to stay, may actually put themselves in a position to not be able to do that.

Last week, we reported that James Turner, an Alexandria lawyer and the owner of two other manufactured home communities, has stepped up to the plate with an offer to purchase the troubled community.

I’ve reached a tentative agreement with East End’s owner to buy the property, repair its malfunctioning sewer systemand manage it along with my other parks [sic],” said Turner.

The city of Manassas was set to purchase the community for $1.86 million from a trust controlled by Helen Loretta Clarke, who residents claim neglected the community’s sewage system to the point that unless residents took action themselves, sewage came up into their yards.

According to the Washington Post, the deal for Turner to purchase the community could be scuttled amid threats of a federal lawsuit from residents pushing for him to agree to a host of demands.

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James Turner. Credit: VTW Law firm.

I’ve never seen a land deal where the tenants tell me all the conditions where I’m able to buy, and that makes it very difficult,” said Turner.

The bid from Turner would need to be approved by the City of Manassas, and Patrick J. Small, the city’s director of economic development, said officials are willing to cancel that agreement if Turner can prove he has the money to buy the land and make the repairs.

The city would then require Turner to submit a plan for the repairs that Manassas engineers consider to be “reasonable, doable and achievable,” and a financial guarantee in the amount needed for those fixes that, should Turner back out of the purchase, the city could then use to make them,” said Small.

While discussions between Turner and Clarke’s representatives have progressed, they have been hampered by threats.

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A home at East End Mobile Home Park. Credit: Inside Nova.

Those threats would come in the form of a federal lawsuit by residents, if Turner doesn’t agree to 14 conditions put forth by them.

Among other things, the residents want lot fees at or below $600 per month for at least five years, a guarantee that the community’s crumbling roads would be fixed and plowed after snowstorms, and a new playground area.

Residents also want Turner to agree to help them try to buy East End themselves after five years if they choose to do so.

These are nonnegotiable demands,” said Victor M. Glasberg, a civil rights attorney in Alexandria, who recently started representing residents. “The paramount interest is living there under hygienic and reasonable circumstances.”

Glasberg also said that Dumfries-based nonprofit Catholics for Housing has also been preparing to purchase the community – and had already agreed to the demands.

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East End Residents attend a Manassas city meeting. Credit: Potomac Local.

That information was news to Karen DeVito, Catholics for Housing’s director.

I didn’t know there were demands being made,” said DeVito.

For Turner, he says that some of the residents’ requests either are not within his legal rights, or are unfeasible. He also feels that potentially being pulled into a federal lawsuit gives him pause.

I don’t want to step into past history,” said Turner. “I’m trying to deal in good faith.”

For more on the saga at the East End Mobile Home Park, click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

Manufactured Home Community Residents Reach Settlement In Legal Action

April 24th, 2017 Comments off
ResidentsReachSettlementInLegalActioncreditLowellSun-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Lowell Sun.

In Massachusetts, residents of the Chelmsford Commons manufactured home community have reportedly reached a six-figure settlement in a class action lawsuit against community owner, Michigan based RHP Properties.

According to the Lowell Sun, the suit alleges that RHP improperly raised rents on residents over the last five years. As a result of the settlement, residents have started to see reductions in their rent rates, and RHP has agreed to pay out more than $100,000 to about 350 current and former residents.

I’m hoping that we can get something to bring us all back down again,” said resident Sally Walters, who received a letter earlier this month that RHP was reducing her rent by $9 as a result of the settlement.

Three community residents, who claimed that RHP violated a 1990 master lease agreement that stated that rent increases were to be based, in part, on changes to the Boston Consumer Price Index, filed the lawsuit earlier this month.

Instead, the suit claims RHP based the increases on the national CPI, which rose faster than the Boston index, resulting in inflated rents.

The new owners, if the cost of living doesn’t go up they’re still going to charge you,” said one resident.

They know lots of the residents are on social security and disability.”

Additionally,the lawsuit also claimed that RHP added the cost of repairing a water main break to residents, and that as a part of the settlement, RHP has agreed to set aside an additional $10,000 to compensate residents.

For residents, even though the reduction amounts may be small, they have a significant impact. Many residents, who are on fixed incomes, have had to leave the community due to rent increases of $20 to $30 per month.

Anything helps, there’s no doubt about it,” said resident Jerry Robinson. Robinson has seen a reduction in his rent of $16 so far.

A Middlesex Superior Court judge still has to approve the settlement before notices are sent to residents. RHP has not commented on the settlement. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews

Respect Demanded: MHC Residents, Families, Speak Out

April 24th, 2017 Comments off
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A home in the Vineyard Estates community. Credit: Realtor.

In California, the San Francisco Bay Area remains one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S., with some one-bedroom apartments running well over $3,000 per month.

In the city of Pleasanton, an affluent enclave, the Vineyard Estates 55 and over manufactured home community remains one of the few affordable housing options left in the area.

What started with one letter to the editor calling a real home “one that is firmly attached to the ground,” turned into two very strong endorsements for the community, and the quality of modern manufactured housing.

My definition of a home goes more along the lines of the old proverb, ‘Home is where the heart is,” wrote Susan Reid, whose parents live in the Vineyard Estates community.

Vineyard Estates has a definite heart in Pleasanton. Taking a drive through this safe, friendly senior community, it is easy to see the feeling of home. While these are not stick-and-brick dwellings, these mobile homes [sic] allow many seniors the opportunity to enjoy living in Pleasanton.”

Reid also shared the importance of independence for the community’s senior residents, and that the “old stereotypes” are just that.

RespectDemanded-creditGoogle-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Google.

Neighbors care about neighbors; there is always a smile and a wave by those passing by, either on dog-walks or golf cart rides. The grounds are well maintained. There are activities to be enjoyed each day. Vineyards Estates is serviced by public transit, allowing seniors, my parents included, to be more mobile.

These units are safe and affordable; much more so than some other senior units in Pleasanton. ‘Home’ is an emotional word. Vineyard Estates allows many seniors an affordable place in which to live near loved ones. So, sir, do not denigrate the community as ‘being overpriced shacks’ and ‘crumbling carcasses.”

Ralph Mele, a resident at Vineyard Estates, also shared his feelings.

creditRedfin-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Another home in the Vineyard Estates community. Credit: Redfin.

I have lived in Vineyard Estates for four years and bought a new manufactured home in 2013. After living in several very nice custom houses, I found to my surprise the manufactured house I purchased was every bit as nice and well constructed as the custom house I owned. In fact, it is built to very high standards sometimes not found in custom houses. The standards for a manufactured house are set by law, and each factory that builds these units must adhere to the rules, or is not able to sell their houses,” said Mele.

These manufactured houses vary in size from 1,000 to 1,800 square feet and feature granite countertops, wood flooring, fireplaces and laundry rooms, many have three bedrooms and two baths. They are affordable and offer seniors a safe and comfortable environment to live in. You cannot find a new house in Pleasanton for the price you pay for the manufactured houses available in Vineyard Estates.”

As Daily Business News readers are already well aware, even though those old stereotypes persist, but many in the industry are working to set the record straight.LindseyBostick-SunshineHomesManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Today’s manufactured homes can look and live like a conventional, site-built house, and can be half the price of new constructionAdditionally, many manufactured homes are Energy Star rated, so they are more efficient than older, existing homes,” said Lindsey Bostick of Sunshine Homes.

Many desire to move from renting to owning, but often struggle to find that a real possibility in the current site-built market. The manufactured housing industry can offer a solution to that problem.”

For a more detailed history on the journey from mobile to manufactured homes, please click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

Developer Plans to help MHC Residents Transition

April 21st, 2017 Comments off
creditSTLToday-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

A view inside the Chesterfield Mobile Home Park. Credit: STL Today.

Just outside of St. Louis, Missouri, a developer is dealing with the reality that sometimes, trying to do the right thing isn’t always enough.

In a story the Daily Business News originally covered here, the city of Chesterfield’s only manufactured home community, Chesterfield Mobile Home Park, had rumors swirling about a potential sale of the community, and the development of almost 300 apartments where it currently sits.

According to STL Today, Mike Lang, who leads developer Amerwest Development LLC of West Palm Beach, Fla., wants to minimize disruption of the families in the community and provide the help necessary for residents to transition should his bid to buy the site go through.

We would be as equitable as possible,” said Lang.

I’m sensitive to the fact that they’re there. I’m not interested in creating huge upheaval.”

The area has become a hot bed for developers, as large companies such as Monsanto, Bunge, Reinsurance Group of America and Pfizer are building new employment centers in Chesterfield. The city is one of the region’s most affluent suburbs.

Yes, we’re going to disrupt people’s lives,” said Lang. “But the question is: Am I going to do it, is someone else going to do it?”

ManufacturedHomeCommunityResidentsFaceUncertainFuturecreditGoogle-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Google.

With zoning hearings coming in the near future, Lang’s ability to purchase the community is still far from a done deal. And some residents in the community are gearing up for a fight.

Some residents gathered last week at one of those zoning hearings at Chesterfield City Hall to state their case.

We’re trying to get a solid front,” said Edward Ernstrom, a chiropractor who has lived in the community for 10 years. “They didn’t give us a whole lot of time to mobilize.”

Ernstrom says that many of his neighbors may struggle to afford another home in town.

There’s people there that don’t have an exit plan,” said Ernstrom. “That was the living style they could afford.”

Ernstrom also said that while community residents understood that something like this might happen because they don’t own the land under their homes, he wants to see some form of compensation to help residents relocate.

As situations like the one in Chesterfield continue to play out around the country, leaders in the manufactured housing industry provided MHProNews their take.

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Jay Hamilton, credit, MHProNews.

As communities become surrounded and engulfed by restaurants, Hilton Hotels, stadiums, big box stores, airports, residential and commercial developments,” Jay Hamilton, Georgia Manufactured Housing Associations’ executive director told MHProNews, “property taxes begin exceeding the total revenue from renting spaces.”

The struggle over community owner’s property rights vs. land-lease community resident rights continues. Equity LifeStyle Communities Chairman Sam Zell’s view, published exclusively on MHProNews on that topic, are linked here.

In commenting on such cases, ROC USA President Paul Bradley told MHProNews,  “How can we promote homeownership and sell new homes on leased land and at the same time close communities? It’s like selling tickets to a zoo where ‘only 1 in a 100 are eaten by the lions!’”

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Paul Bradley. photo credit: Fosters.

Bradley believes that the community sector should identify those communities that may be subject to closure and redevelopment, and differentiate them between those land-lease locations that have no plans to be anything but a manufactured home community. See his statement, linked here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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