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Panicking Manufactured Home Community Residents Turning to Rent Control Demands

June 20th, 2019 Comments off

 

PanickingManufacturedHomeCommunityResidentsTurningRentControlDemandsDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Still from video, posted further below.

Residents of a manufactured home community in Marin County, California are stressing over announced rent increases that will hit them in July 1, 2019.

 

Per CBS local affiliate KPIX 5, the sharp spike may cause some to lose their homes.

It is part of a trend that has been sparking headlines in various parts of the United States.  Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA-D), and a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful who has been rising steadily in the polls.  Senator Warren recently sent letters to several manufactured home community (MHC) operators that have drawn national attention in the wake of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s viral but errantly named “Mobile Homes” video.

KPIX’s report is posted below. 

 

 

Local media quoted resident Joan Dobkowski saying, More than half of us are on a fixed, retirement income, which means this kind of steep increase is not something that can be handled in that short time period.”

Because they’re almost doubling the rent when we sell our units for the new people,” Dobkowski said. “No one wants to move here. So, we’re losing our homes as well…we can’t sell them.”

Larkspur does not have rent control, though much of the rest of the county does.  David Levin, managing attorney for Marin Legal Aid, said “That’s something [signing a long term lease] the renters [community residents] are wrestling with right nowbecause they’ve been presented with a 5-year lease agreement and that could lock them into the rent increase schedule as proposed.”

They’re going to get less money or possibly even lose some or most of their investment,” Levin said. “In many cases, all these people own is the mobile home [sic].”

This concern is part of a larger trend in the industry, one that was highlighted by Last Week Tonight with John Oliver spotlighted.  MHProNews readers are reminded that in the wake of that report, before mainstream media reports hit, our sources in Washington, D.C. said they expected national blowback. A tangential topic that has tie-ins has drawn attention from several Democratic lawmakers, including 2020 presidential hopefuls. 

Rephrased, there are indications that issues like this one could get hotter.

Representatives for the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association (WMA), the National Association for Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) were invited to weigh in on this and related controversies.  They have not responded as of 1:52 PM ET – but were also given an option to respond to our report once published. 

NAMHCO recently weighed in on another community-focused matter, linked after the byline and notices.

While not a producer issue, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has weighed in on a related possible solution.  See that linked further below too.  MHProNews will continue to monitor this scenario.

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Photo of Commodore Homes model, MHARR logo, are provided under fair use guidelines. See article and letter to Secretary Carson, linked here. https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/mharr-calls-on-hud-secretary-to-end-discriminatory-and-exclusionary-zoning-of-hud-regulated-manufactured-homes/

 

 

Ongoing MH Headwinds – Angry Manufactured Home Residents, Understanding the Manufactured Housing Industry Dilemma Through Their Eyes

June 12th, 2019 Comments off

 

HeadwindsAngryManufacturedHomeResidentsUnderstandingManufacturedHousingDilemmaThroughTheirEyesNYStateAssemblyGailTraversTrusteeAkronMobileHomeParkMHProNews

Still from NY State video, posted further below. The problem that Gail Travers describes exists in a number of states, as serious and objective observers know. The challenge, insights, analysis, and solutions follow.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson has been promoting manufactured homes as a sustainable private-sector element to the affordable housing crisis since early in his tenure at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

 

That acknowledged and saluted, as much as Secretary Carson has been striving to do, his factually grounded theme is largely drowned out by a variety of other voices.

 

Among them?  The angry resident who lives in a pre-HUD Code mobile home, or in a manufactured home built on or after the date that the HUD Code construction and safety standards went into effect on June 15, 1976.

Those angry residents often misuse terminology, much the same as other Americans or much of the mainstream media does.

 

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

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

 

With that backdrop, there is no denying that the problem that Gail Travers, a resident and ‘trustee’ in Akron, New York’s “Akron Mobile Home Park Tenants Association” exists in numerous U.S. markets.

As you read this letter below from Ms. Travers, imagine that you have been considering buying a manufactured home. How excited would you read her letter, would you still be ask excited about making that same decision?

The letter is presented neither to either endorse or debate her contention.  There is plenty of evidence for her claim. As our analysis which follows will reflect, our biggest point of departure with Ms. Travers and the thousands of others like her in numous states is the proposed solutions that many such voices advances in the face of the very real and painful challenges they share.

With that backdrop, here is her letter to the editor of the Buffalo News.

 

LetterMobileHomeResidentsNeedProtectionsFromPredatorsBuffaloNewsGayleTraversAkronNYManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

 

I read with interest the May 21 editorial: “NYC Rent Laws Unneeded Here.” New Yorkers throughout the state need safe, affordable housing, like elsewhere across the country.

The people of New York State fear monied investors are stealing our communities and future. We want our legislators to enact laws to protect the decent, affordable housing options that remain. And it is not just in cities.

Look at what is happening to mobile home parks – the largest segment of affordable housing in the country. Parks are being purchased by out of state investors with little interest in the area. Corporate investors like Sunrise Capital from Clearwater, Fla. (who bought Akron Mobile Home Park in Akron in late 2017) are snapping up parks, raising rents, and disrupting the well-being of life for the people who live there, most of them on fixed incomes. Now Sunrise has purchased another park in Lockport and is attempting to do the same as they have tried to do in Akron.

Mobile home owners who rent the land on which their homes sit need protections from these predators, as do apartment renters elsewhere.

This sentence from the editorial is interesting: “There are affordable housing options here, not on every block, but enough that most working people can find a place to live.” Shouldn’t ALL people have a place to live? We need safe, affordable housing free from exploitation. If our legislators are listening to their constituents, they will vote for protections.

Gail Travers, Trustee in Akron Mobile Home Park Tenants Association
Akron

End of Buffalo News letter to editor by Gail Travers.

 

Even a quick Google search reveals that Ms. Travers has been active in engaging the media and legislators. 

For example. You can see Travers’ testimony before the NY State Assembly hearing, starting about the 24:32 time mark, and ending about the 28:42 time mark.

 

 

It must be noted that other manufactured home community residents are also sharing similar stories in that same video, posted above. So for those who are not familiar with this issue, viewing more of this video is sobering. It paints the picture that her letter to the Buffalo News stated.

It may bear mention that Stacey White, noted on the NY State Assembly website as “a leader at MHAction,” also testified at this same session.  Certainly, some of the talking points that Ms. Travers used are like those raised by MHAction in their white paper, videos, talking points, etc.  The letter from the Democratic chair of the committee that held these hearings is linked here as a download.

 

Rent Control?

Rent control is one of the notions commonly floated as a ‘solution’ to such problems as Travers recounts.  But that has been passed in other jurisdictions, and it has routinely proven to not work as it was believed it might. Who said? Another resident activist in Delaware, that said as much, in a statement found in the report linked here.

Rent control, regardless of who promotes it, fails as badly as wage-price controls did when the late President Richard Nixon (GOP) promoted that ploy during his demonstration, and he watched that fail. The free market routinely works better than a command and control economy, so long as the free market isn’t badly distorted.  For those who doubt that, just look at communist-run China, were virtually empty, nearly new high-rise housing buildings stand.  Rent control, as several linked reports further below reveal, simply doesn’t work as its proponents claim.

Indeed, what is occurring is a distortion of the free market, that’s why this problem that Travers describes exists. The good news? Secretary Carson – should he opt to do so – holds in his hands the key that could unlock the solution to this vexing issue.

 

Corporations and Local Officials Distorting the Free Market, and What Secretary Carson Could Do

Secretary Carson is quite right when he repeated said in recent weeks that the heart of the problem for housing is found in increasing the supply of affordable homes. When more affordable housing options exist, then the increasing spike in prices will begin to abate.

Besides Secretary Carson, who else has said as much?  How about Lawrence Yun, Ph.D., Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Writing in Forbes, Yun said the following.

 

LawrenceYunNARShort8.3MillionHousingUnitsRisingRentsHousingPricesCuredOnlyByMoreBuilding

Collage by MHProNews.

 

But he did more than just say that, per our sources, it was Dr. Yun who encouraged the study of manufactured housing by NAR’s Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton, Certified Business Economist (CBE).

Cororaton made a similar claim to Secretary Carson’s claim of the ‘resilience’ of manufactured homes, as the quote/graphic below reflects.  It bears mention that her 2018 research cited our publisher, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach and MHARR’s President and CEO, Mark Weiss, JD, in her first footnote on page 48.  See her insightful research, linked here.

 

CompareMobileHomeTrailersPastManufacturedHomesSaferMoreDurableQuoteScholasticaGayCororationPhotoSmallPercentageDamagedDuringHUrricanesMHProNews

 

The facts that Carson and Cororaton touted complement each other to a significant degree.

But that is not the message that the vast majority of Americans are getting about manufactured homes, because of the image-plagued ‘mobile home parks’ (SIC).  It is from such land-lease communities where millions of pre-HUD Code mobile homes and post-HUD Code manufactured homes are found. 

It is from such land-lease communities where a significant number of ‘bad news’ stories originate.  Note the screen capture from Google news, below, that makes the point.

 

MobileHomesNewsGoogleSearchDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The bulk of these stories are from manufactured home land-lease communities, a.k.a. mobile home parks. Street retailers and HUD Code home producers, take note. This impacts you as much as it does community owners.

 

It is arguably from ‘black hat’ operations that Travers and others understandably complain about that are causing significant levels of the blowback that manufactured home (MH) living experiences.

On the one hand, we respect the right of Travers and others to organize and ‘fight back.’ But the reality is that some of what they do arguably undermines their own economic position.  More on that another time, because what the focus should be is how can the issues they raise best be addressed?

Let’s look.

 

Manufactured Housing – White Hats, Black Hats, Investing, Consumers, MH Independents

 

Manufactured Home Residents, MH Investor Reality Checks

If an investor came into a community like Akron, paid a lot to buy what is a commercial property, and then tried to aggressively hike site fees (lot rents), what options does someone like Travers have today?  In her area, and many others, the choices may be very limited.

But if ‘enhanced preemption’ were being aggressively promoted, and/or new communities were coming on-line, the dynamic would shift.

This is what is missing from Secretary Carson’s pro-manufactured home dialogue.  Our sources at HUD, the fact that HUD officials asked about this question declined comment, and the utter lack of any mention of the words “enhanced preemption” on the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) website all suggest that the good doctor has been kept in the dark on this subject.

That begs the question, why?

That should also beg the question, why doesn’t the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) have that critically valuable phrase on their website? 

 

MHIlogoManufacturedHousingInstitutelogoEnhancedPreemptionNoResults2019-06-12_1203MHProNews

The fact that MHI keeps reportedly nudging Allen into distractions away from the central issues that are harming the industry is itself revealing. Listen to what pro-MHI voices like that say, but consider the opposite. It will often be closer to the truth. Note, Allen calling MHI a monopoly, and blaming MHI members for the problems caused by consolidation are below.

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNews

Allen, in the quotes above, is de facto pointing to positions that MHARR correctly took, but that MHI took the wrong stance. The purported choice of Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, who is said to be communicating with Allen, of him as their surrogate is almost comical, because of Allen’s history of attacking the Arlington, VA based trade group. He’s not a credible surrogate.

GeorgeFAllenCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOcoba7MonopolyConsolidationClaytonHomes21stMortgageBerkshireHathawayQuotesManufacturedHomesCommunitiesMHproNews

You can’t make this stuff up. Allen blasted MHI, but was reportedly recruited by Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison for being their surrogate and attack dog. But when his bark or ‘roar’ are examined, there is no bite behind it. Allen contradicted MHI’s new stances several times, publicly, and has never explained his flip flops. Per sources, he is rewarded for his attack dog role.

 

Or why doesn’t the MHInsider – who along with brown-noser George F. Allen – who purportedly routinely regurgitate whatever their overlords in Arlington, VA desire – lack the words on their ‘professional’ blog?

 

DarrenKrolewskiPraisingMHProNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

By contrast, facts, problem, and solution oriented Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform has numerous articles on the topic of Enhanced Preemption.

 

ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReformMHARREnhancedPreemptionDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Some pundits, such as blogger George F. (F?) Allen have attempted to mischaracterize the work of MHI and MHARR. MHI clearly says of themselves that they represent “all segments of factory built housing,” that means retail, communities, lenders, suppliers and the like, not just producers. By contrast, MHARR clearly says that their focus is on the interests of the producers of HUD Code manufactured homes. So while MHARR has an indirect interest in lending, communities, or retail, that is not their mission. That said, MHARR members and leaders have voted to support the establishment of new post-production groups that would faithfully represent the interests of retailers, communities, and other segments of the industry. Allen’s characterization is arguably false, erroneous, or deliberately misleading. What is sadder, perhaps, is that Allen and Spencer Roane claim to represent the interests of communities. If so, why don’t they loudly and proudly call out MHI and Omaha-Knoxville for the ways that they’ve harmed other communities, and independents at large? Why does Allen ignore his own role in the SECO dirty laundry?

 

So too here on MHProNews, or ManufacturedHomeLivingNews. See what the Google search done today reveals.

 

EnhancedPreemptionSearchManufacturedHousingMHProNewsNadaMHIbutMHARRhasit2019-06-12_1227

 

This goes back to the argument that the power players behind MHI are posturing efforts to promote manufactured housing, but do so tepidly. Even brown-noser Allen admitted in a recent post that MHI was essentially dragged into the Innovative Housing Summit (IHS). He downplayed the key role that companies played, and made it look like MHI rose to the occasion, as if to save the day. 

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteInnovativeHousingSummit2019-06-12_1242DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

If so, why was there so little public media coverage of the event from a manufactured housing perspective?  That’s an acid test.  The rest is window dressing for those who will buy whatever the big boys sell.

 

 

Frank Rolfe…

What MHI member and controversial community investor Frank Rolfe referred to as customers being chained to a Waffle House is apt but ugly description of this current environment.

Investors and resident groups like MHAction, NMHOA, or others talk about that point, each from their own perspective.  They agree, for example, that few move homes, and that the cost of such a move of a mobile/manufactured home can be $5,000

 

But the solution is potentially simple. HUD could begin implementing the solution on short notice. It fits a theme that the Trump Administration has repeated many times.

Enforce the law” on “enhanced preemption.”

HUD has oddly used their power of enhanced preemption only rarely, but it has been used, as the screen capture of the top of letter to a local jurisdiction below reflects.

 

HUDLetterCityRichlandMSEmilyGoodeJenHallMMHAFederalPreemptionofManufacturedHomesFederalEnhancedPreemptionMHIA2000DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Letter from MHARR to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, with examples supporting Enhanced Preemption is linked here.

 

What is missing is making that kind of letter from HUD to local jurisdictions a routine.  HUD could rapidly start the fix of problems like those Travers raised, simply by enforcing enhanced preemption routinely.  Doing so would open up new options for current and potential manufactured home buyers.

That’s why MHARR has been promoting it for years, and it is the same reason that MHProNews and MHLivingNews has too.  As a disclaimer, note that our trade media support of enhanced preemption predates any ads from MHARR by several years.  In fact, while our firm was an MHI member, our management was mystified that MHI didn’t push it. So as years of articles reflect, our editorial position has been consistent, unlike the ‘cowardly lion’ Allen – who when asked on the record – has not denied that he’s been rewarded for attacking MHARR, and this pro-growth trade platform.  So, he’s purportedly guilty of doing what he accuses others of doing.  How nice.

State association executives who are MHEC members know about enhanced preemption. The letter above was obtained at the request of a state association. But apparently, the word is out that MHI and the powers that be in MHVille don’t want this discussed.

 

 

MHARR has provided notice to HUD Secretary Carson delivered by FedEx and is documented here.  When carefully read, it reflects the intent of Democrats and other legislators who supported the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) in 2000.

The evidence in favor of enhanced preemption is compelling.

Which once more begs the question, if MHARR and congressional representatives who were in the mix are promoting the use of enhanced preemption, then why aren’t MHI and the big boys?

The logical answer, based upon the known evidence, is sad and sobering.  The big boys benefit from the current state of affairs, because it allows them to consolidate more of the industry at a discounted price. Because it is subtle, it isn’t obvious.  This fits Buffett’s ‘strategic Moat’ and other mantras. 

 

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Bad news is arguably part of the moat. A lack of good news serves a dastardly use for someone who wants to consolidate the industry too.  Since Buffett-led Berkshire bought Clayton, the industry is actually smaller today than then. How is that possible, during an affordable housing crisis, unless they wanted it to be so?

ManufacturedHousingSHipmentsBloombergQuintFactoryBuiltRebuidRecoveryDailyBusinessNEwsMHproNEws

 

Rephrased, for the big boys, bad news for the industry is paradoxically useful.  How so?  Because it harms marginal players the most.

 

 

That causes businesses to sell out at a discount. 

Some are silent on this trend, because they think they benefit from it. Others are silent out of fear of a loss of their jobs. But some, like Alan Amy call it out for what it is.

 

 

How Enhanced Preemption Would Make the Difference

If new communities were opening, or the Gail Travers of her area had an option to move to another community or to a development homesite, that would act as a competitive check

there have numerous times in our industry’s history that developers and communities paid to move someone in.

What’s missing, in other words, are options for consumers.  Rent control is a band-aid that will likely cause fewer to want to build a community, than the few that already do.

The solution is to encourage the creation of more home sites.

MHARR’s initiative is potentially part of the solution. More on that at this link here

As a total contradiction of his own arguments, Allen admits to the problems of predatory firms, without mentioning that many of these have clear ties to MHI.

 

WeveGotAProblemGeorgeFAllenQuoteCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOMobileHomeParkManufacturedHomesMHProNews

But if MHI and the industry’s powers that be truly wanted to solve the dilemma that faces Travers and others, they would have pressed HUD Secretary Carson, or Brian Montgomery at HUD, to ‘enforce the law’ on enhanced preemption.

Since many of the problematic news stories that are reported in the mainstream media are about issues related to the concerns raised by those like Ms. Travers, logically, the number of ‘bad news’ headwinds would abate as more options would come online.  ICYMI, or need a referesher, see the article linked from the text-image box below.

 

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

 

Buffett’s Gift to Manufactured Housing Industry, Media Coverage…

Letters and news like the gut-wrenching woes of Gail Travers drive down interest in our industry and sales. To reverse the trends, one must get to and resolve the root issues.

For MHI or state association members with the cojones, don’t forget to write a letter and thank Warren Buffett for contributing via the Novo Foundation to the Tides nonprofit, which in turn supports MHAction. It is MHAction that has been generating more bad media for the industry than MHI claims to generate good media.  Coincidence?

Or is it a coincidence that Berkshire Hathaway owned BH Media Group assets failed to cover IHS2019.

 

WAVY, Mainstream TV – HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Innovative Housing Showcase – Clayton Homes, and Berkshire Hathaway Revelations

 

These are professionals.  MHI has a professional public relations person on staff. What was that PR person doing prior to IHS2019? Why didn’t Kevin Clayton, or Tim Williams at 21st Mortgage Corp, ask Berkshire to have their media assets robustly cover Secretary Carson’s positive comments about manufactured housing?

The pattern is there to see, for those with open minds.

One must wonder if Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s viral video misnamed “Mobile Homes” would ever have been made without Buffett’s support of MHAction? Oliver shows a screen shot of the MHAction co-branded white paper.

MHActionPrivateEquityGiantsConvergeManufacturedHomesLastWeekTonightJohnOliverMobileHomesVideoStillMHProNews

You build a case, by laying out the evidence, one fact at a time.

 

Whenever you see MHAction at work, are you thinking of Warren Buffett? Of Clayton Homes and 21st Mortgage Corp?

 

Prosperity Now, Nonprofits Sustain John Oliver’s “Mobile Homes” Video in Their Reports

WarrenBuffettTidesNoVoFoundationMHActionGeorgeSorosManufacturedHomeLivingNews

 

Conclusions – The Solution for Residents and Independents

Without supply and demand coming into better balance, the manufactured home industry is logically heading into a blind alley. Communities will slowly return to capacity, after years of being artificially depressed as evidenced by the documented machinations like the one linked here. When asked, MHI, Clayton, 21st and their attorneys have repeatedly declined comment on those documents.

What happens when existing communities reach capacity?  What impact will that have on independent producers of HUD Code homes that supply communities?

TonyGetsItAlColeOxfordBankTrustManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

DearTonySoheylaNoGreaterResourceSpeakstoIssuesOpportunitiesWeFaceAsIndependentRetailersGusRodriguezTejasHomesTX

Sure, there will be replacements of older mobile homes or earlier manufactured homes even when a community reaches effective capacity.  But for the long-term health of the industry, and the benefit of consumers, it will require more #HousingChoice for consumers.

Enforce the law, as stated in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.  That must be part of the savvy, long-term mantra of industry professionals, especially independents.  It is on that point that consumer groups and industry independents could come together.

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UPDATE: MHC Future in Doubt, the Other Side of Rent Control

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

March 26th, 2019 Comments off

SpreadingCitiesBanOnIndividualLotPlacementsThreatensIndependentlyOwnedManufacturedHomeCommunititesRetailersResidentsHUDCodeProducersMHProNews 

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. 

LaPorteCountyMHParkBadNewsViolationsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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? 

 

>

 

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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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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Fresh Facts, Figures, Future of Affordable Housing -Comparisons- Conventional Site-Built v Mobile/Manufactured Home Industry Data

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. ##

 

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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.

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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. ##

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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
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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