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Closure by Collusion? Dark Side of Local Manufactured Home Community Code Enforcement?

May 3rd, 2018 Comments off

NorthernHousingCommunity281GrandAveSchofieldWausauDailyHeraldWisconsinManufacrturedHomeCommunityIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews550x292

A manufactured home community in the Wausau, Wisconsin area may be putting a fresh light on a dark topic.

 

Media and others often fail to put the topic of closures in the broader context of housing.  Hundreds of thousands of housing units a year are demolished in America, and the minority of those are manufactured homes, or pre-HUD Code mobile homes.

But for whatever reasons, manufactured home (MH) community closure stories often make local, regional or sometimes even national news.  Each one is arguably a case of a loss of affordable housing, at the very time when the nation or locales need affordable homes.

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Northern Housing Community is what the signs say, but local media have called it Northern Mobile Home Park, and its listed that way on MHVillage too. The location came under scrutiny for reportedly hundreds of code violations, which an attorney for the community said they were addressing. That didn’t stop the city from deciding to close it, and force residents out.

Thousands of these land-lease properties were built in the days prior to the HUD Code, and their names may still officially include the words “mobile home park.”  Meanwhile, other community operators update their property name as they also update their communities.

MH Community closures outnumber new community openings by a wide margin, as an exclusive upcoming report on the Daily Business News will reveal.

An underlying cause or end result of community closures are routinely for the purposes of redevelopment.  Those redevelopment projects may include, but aren’t necessarily limited to:

  • Multi-family housing,
  • commercial business space,
  • so-called big-box stores,

or what some call a “higher purpose.”  Those redevelopments of property often equals higher tax revenues, a not-to-be-overlooked motivator for municipalities and counties.

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Across the street from this location is the Wausau Downtown airport. Several businesses are adjacent or near this largely commercial location.

Communities first developed some 50 or more years ago, back in the true mobile home park era, mature over time. If a community’s infrastructure and maintenance are not kept up, the cost of repairing them can grow to substantial sums.

For several “mom and pop” community operations, those costs might prove to be prohibitive.

Some investors buy aging communities with the specific intent of closing them for redevelopment purposes. Media reports have documented cases where new move-ins of manufactured homes have been accepted, with the owners knowing their plan to shut the community down in the foreseeable future.

That type of behavior often results in a firestorm in local or regional media, as the impacted residents protest the closure.

NorthernHousingCommunity281GrandAveSchofieldWSAUWausauWisconsinManufacrturedHomeCommunityIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Recent photo from WSAU in Wausau, WI of Northern Housing Community. There are rental and other housing units in this same market that are 60 to over 100 years old, that aren’t in as good a shape as the homes in this community.

Those and other cases of improper maintained, or other negative issues, poses a problem for good MH Community (MHC) operators.  The majority of small to large manufactured home community owners legitimately want to provide quality affordable living for their residents.

Thus MHC closures or other bad news unjustly paints good operations with an unjustified and problematic image by implication.

That issue was noted by the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) Ducker Worldwide researchers. Ducker noted, but didn’t directly address that issue per attendees, until a direct question about how those problems was asked at the recent MHI Las Vegas event.

Against that backdrop, the story of the Northern community in Schofield – across the busy road from the Wausau, Wisconsin downtown airport – is illuminating.

 

Wausau Wisconsin Area MH Community Closure

When asked about a local mainstream media story linked here, a community operator with knowledge of the property said the following to MHProNews via email.

It is a dump!  I did not purchase the place in the 80’s. It is an old HID design, very small lots. Narrow street and tight parking.  The home[s] are very old, some probably less than 14′ width. It sound[s] like many home[s] have become owned by the community and are rented.  Stories of poor maintenance of homes and community. The MHC has been thru multiple CA owners.”

A local newspaper – the Wausau Daily Herald – called it “a hellhole” in a headline.

But residents who have fought to keep it alive have called it, home.

I don’t even know where we’re going to go or what we’re going to do,” said Haley Ferguson, whose been there for four years.

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has been asked by MHProNews previously about the image, legal, and other problems caused to the industry by community closures. MHI has not directly addressed any of those in the last year.

By contrast, state manufactured home associations often respond promptly, although it may be off the record.  Some industry comments – including state association executives – on the community closure topic are linked under the resources, below.

That said, the Wisconsin Housing Alliance (WHA) did not respond to this case, on-or-off the record.

Public officials, media, and researchers are among those who routinely respond to inquiries from MHProNews.  Many of those replies are rapid ones, same day or within an hour or two.

But when several local officials were asked a specific questions about the Northern Housing Community closure story linked above, there was no reply.

What where some of those questions posed to officials?

*  Was an effort being made to turn the community into a Resident Owned Community (ROC), and thus save it for the residents in that fashion?
*  Was there an unstated plan to redevelop the property?
*  Were the code violations giving local officials cover for the closure being protested by residents?

The owner of this community, per mainstream media reports, fought the code violations efforts for some time.  But when the time to appeal the closure came a few days ago, they failed to appeal. Why?

What changed?

The answers to these issues are not clear at this time.  But the reality that certain voices in the mix – noted above – didn’t sound off may suggest this is a topic they were not enthusiastic about addressing.  What was said to local media, was problematic…

NorthernHousingCommunitySchofiledWIManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

KreggHoehnMayorCityofSchofieldWIManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

The Mayor Speaks

Local media reports about the choice of words by Schofield Mayor Kregg Hoehn spoke volumes.

We have come up with a list of trailer parks [*] that are accepting trailers [*] if they can get theirs there. We will hopefully come up with a list of rentals in the Schofield area as well,”  according to WSAU.

The city is promising no funds for those seeking to move, per WSAU, although a prior report seemed to indicate the some funds might be used.

As the maps and photos reflect, the property is on a highly-trafficked thoroughfare that connects Weston, Schofield, and Wausau, WI.

 

Wider MH Industry Impact

What is clear is that search engines have turned local news into easily accessible reports for anyone searching specific topics.

Those searches can be from housing shoppers, media, public officials, policy advocates, researchers, and others.

 

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So, while this particular MHC incident – or others – may be in a state far from yours, it is an issue for the entire manufactured home industry.  Because it impacts every state, including Hawaii, where fears over having a manufactured home community exists, even when there has never been a mobile home park built there.

 

Hawaii’s First “Trailer Park” on Oahu – Civil Beat’s Report Draws Heat

Why It Matters

  • The image and concerns over community closures are part of the home-buying public’s impressions about land-lease communities, as years of experience by MHLivingNews with the public indicates, and Ducker’s research obliquely confirmed.
  • It’s a concern for MHC residents, who often have lived in a community for ten years or more, and they don’t want to move when their told that the place they’ve called home is about to be sold or redeveloped.
  • Closures provide an easy target for organized protesters too.
  • Community resales and closures are on the radar of the Congress, as Representative Keith Ellison’s (D-MN) proposed bill made clear.

Kinzler, Gallagher on Congressman Keith Ellison, the MH Industry, and Manufactured Home Communities

All of those examples and more make it a public policy issue.

Some communities close by collusion between private capital and local officials. Some MH Community operators have also told MHProNews about a different twist; where MHC owners have had civic officials contact them about closing their communities, even if the property is being well run.

These are troublesome, and dark spots on an otherwise proud industry that has nobly served tens of millions of Americans.

Left unaddressed, the closure issue will only continue to fester like an untreated wound, hurting manufactured home businesses, sales, and consumers alike. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.) 

  • The term ‘trailer’ is not appropriate for HUD code manufactured homes, nor for most ‘mobile homes.’  To learn more, click here.

(Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.

Related Reports and Industry Commentary:

Promoting Manufactured Home Ownership – With “Only 1 in 100 Eaten by a Lion”

“Mobile Homeless” (sic) – Denver Meadows Mobile Home Park Aurora, CO closure case – Another Look

On Aurora “Mobile Home Park” Closure, related Negative Media Coverage

 

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Victory for Residents or Erosion of Rights? A City Takes Action

May 22nd, 2017 Comments off
VictoryforResidentsorErosionofRightsCityTakesActioncreditKQED-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

The Winchester Ranch community in San Jose, CA. Credit: KQED.

In California, the San Francisco Bay Area is known as a technology hub and a center of activism. In the city of San Jose, the city council made a move last week that could make it known for something else.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the council voted 10-1 against a staff-recommended “closure” policy that would have weakened resident protections for manufactured housing community closures and have a significant impact on affordable housing in the Silicon Valley.

We won a big fight,” said manufactured home community resident Davyln Jones, who also sits on the city’s Housing and Community Development Commission.

VictoryforResidentsorErosionofRightsCityTakesActioncreditJohnnyKhamisOfficialPhoto-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Councilman Johnny Khamis. Official photo.

This says it’s not OK to yank the land out from underneath people who spent their life savings purchasing the homes.”

Councilman Johnny Khamis, who was the lone dissenting vote, expressed concern that the message being sent could have unintended consequences.

San Jose is punishing property owners,” said Khamis.

It punished landlords when it passed sweeping renter protections last week.”

With the vote, manufactured home community owners who want to close properties, then sell or redevelopment them, must now follow steps outlined in a “conversion policy.” This policy includes paying relocation benefits, offering to purchase a home at its current value, and negotiating with the manufactured home community’s residents’ association.

VictoryforResidentsorErosionofRightsCityTakesActioncreditHopkinsandCarley-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Margaret Nanda. Credit: Hopkins & Carley.

Attorney Margaret Nanda echoed Khamis’ comments, and also pointed out another factor.

San Jose’s housing crisis wasn’t caused by mobile home park [sic]owners,” said Nanda.

The policy is an erosion of property rights.”

 

Local housing advocates said that the proposed policy was troublesome because it had a loophole – it allowed a property owner to say that they were closing a community, meaning they would allegedly not have to pay as much in relocation benefits or draw as much attention, and then simply sit on the land and redevelop it at a later time. The policy also did not require a community closure to be approved by the city council.

Advocates say that this would provide residents with fewer safeguards.

VictoryforResidentsorErosionofRightsCityTakesActioncreditSamLiccardoOfficialPhoto-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Mayor Sam Liccardo. Official Photo.

San Jose is home to nearly 11,000 mobile homes [sic] in 59 parks [sic], the largest number of any city in the state,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

And, they’re viewed as one of the last affordable housing options in San Jose.”

Mayor Liccardo also recommended the exploration of creating a new land use designation just for manufactured home communities to bolster preservation. Such a designation would allow the city to set specific policies for, and control, how land is converted for other uses.

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Credit: Google.

The origins of the actions by the council last week date back to 2015, when the owners of Winchester Ranch Mobile Home Park informed residents they were planning to close to sell the land to a developer to build new apartments and a hotel.

The city blocked Winchester Ranch’s closure by adopting an emergency ban, and the community owners sued the city, but later dropped the lawsuit.

 

MH Industry Perspectives On Like Issues 

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Credit: NBC.

As scenarios like the one in San Jose continue to play out in the U.S. and Canada, the thoughts shared by ROC USA President Paul Bradley are relevant.

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

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

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

For the Georgia Manufactured Housing Association’s Jay Hamilton, he sees things differently.

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

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

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

(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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ROC USA, Bank, Announce Key Partnership

May 3rd, 2017 Comments off
ROCUSABankAnnounceKeyPartnershipcreditROCUSAMetLifeNCB-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credits: MetLife, ROC USA, NCB.

MHProNews has learned that National Cooperative Bank (NBC) of Hillsboro, Ohio and MetLife have teamed with ROC USA and their ROC USA Capital arm, a U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution, to offer additional financing allowing manufactured home community residents to purchase the communities they live in.

According to the ABA Banking Journal, the program will provide first mortgage and acquisition to permanent loans to finance the conversion of resident associations of MHCs to cooperative ownership in 20 states.

NCB and MetLife have each committed $15 million, and ROC USA Capital $10 million over two years.

We understand the critical need for affordable homeownership across the country and have structured the loan program to bring affordable long-term fixed-rate financing to buyers,” the organizations said in a statement.

ROC USA Capital is the originating lender, lead lender and loan servicer for each of the underlying project loans. National Cooperative Bank has committed $15 million and will serve as lead for the senior participant lender group.”

Credit: ROC USA.

ROC USA will source potential transactions, NCB will perform due diligence and underwriting, and their network will provide technical assistance to newly formed housing cooperatives to enable groups to buy, own and improve communities.

Since the launch of the financing initiative in 2015, the program has successfully converted two MHCs to limited equity ownership totaling approximately $12 million,” said NCB bank in a statement.

The program is aligned with the bank’s mission to support low- and moderate-income communities and cooperative development and also leverages NCB’s deep experience in financing housing cooperatives to provide community development lending.”

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The Town & Country Community. Credit: Wicked Kingston.

As Daily Business News readers are aware, ROC USA recently helped residents of Town & Country Estates in Kingston, Massachusetts, and the Kayadeross Acres Manufactured Home Cooperative in Ballston Spa, New York, to purchase their communities.

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 Town & Country Mobile Home Estates Tenants Association President Joe Mauriello.

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

That story is linked here. For the Kayadeross Acres Manufactured Home Cooperative story, 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.

FHFA Makes Major Move, Significant Impact Expected on MH Loans

December 14th, 2016 Comments off
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Credit: Neon Tommy.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) finalized a rule on December 13th that creates a “duty to serve” for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The action is aimed at having government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) enter the market for manufactured home loans by creating a pilot program under which they receive credit for purchasing manufactured homes secured by real estate.

Some community operators were pleased to see the credit included, as it provides the GSEs data for their research and development efforts on chattel lending for manufactured housing loans that are not titled as real estate loans. 70% or more of manufactured homes are financed with so-called “chattel loans” – also known as “home only” or “personal property” loans.

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Doug Ryan, CFED.

That was one of our suggestions. It gives them an incentive to start and get out of the gate right away,” said Doug Ryan, who heads up the affordable housing side of the Center for Economic Development (CFED).

According to National Mortgage News, several manufactured housing advocates welcomed the move, which they hope will increase the availability of personal property loans made for the purchase or refinance of a manufactured home that is not permanently affixed to the real estate.

DickErnst-creditMHC-MD-com-postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Anything the agencies can do toward the purchase of manufactured housing loans, including chattel loans, will do a great deal to help solve that crisis,” said Richard  “Dick” Ernst, chairman of the financial services division of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

We are optimistic it can do lots of good for manufactured home owners,” said Ryan.

Lesli Gooch. Credit: MHI.

Requiring the GSEs to purchase chattel loans as part of their statutory Duty to Serve requirement is the single most important step the FHFA can take to improve access to mortgage credit for manufactured housing consumers,” said MHI executive director Lesli Gooch.

Not everyone in manufactured housing believes this first step is enough.

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M. Mark Weiss, CEO of MHARR, credit -MHProNews.

While a mandatory pilot program including chattel loans – combined with a specific commitment to transition to a full “going basis” securitization model within a short and finite timeframe — would potentially be a step forward, a chattel “pilot program” in itself would not fulfill the mandate of DTS,M. Mark Weiss, JD, president and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) told MHProNews.

While some industry pros see hope, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) see excessive risk.

Chattel loans carry higher risk. We don’t think it is a good idea for the GSEs to get into chattel loans,” said Ron Haynie, a senior vice president at ICBA.

KitchenDining-Sunshine_Home-ManufacturedHomes-PostedManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Sources tell MHProNews that many of those who are making decisions about manufactured home lending have little or no understanding of what the product is like today. Photo credit, Sunshine Homes and ManufacturedHomes.com.

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Ron Haynie. Credit: LinkedIn.

Their stance stems from activity in the late 1990s and early 2000s, in which Fannie May and Freddie Mac suffered losses by purchasing manufactured home loans.

While those losses pushed the GSEs to leave the manufactured housing market, they were actually hundreds of times lower than the losses incurred during the 2008-mortage/housing crisis, which involved site built homes.  So a proper understanding of the homes, loan performance and comfort level with the product are all part of the landscape from the GSEs perspective.

The ICBA says that the “GSE regulator should “direct the Enterprises to work with mortgage insurers to development mortgage insurance products for manufactured housing loans.

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Paul Bradley. Credit: Fosters.

I am surprised that the Community Bankers’ Association would come out against GSE chattel product – from the many community bankers I’ve talked to over the years, the local bankers want a secondary market for chattel,” ROC President Paul Bradley told MHProNews.

One of the concerns that lenders often express about manufactured home loans in Land Lease Communities is that homes there lose value,” Bradley said. “But that is not a given.  I can point to examples in Land Lease Communities where homes are appreciating.”

How Did We Get Here?

The story behind GSEs and chattel loans is extensive.

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Titus Dare. Credit: MHProNews.

Titus Dare, who has been involved in establishing a program about a decade ago that created performing manufactured home loans in a leasehold, noted that there are several dynamics at play that the GSEs want to make sure are addressed.

For example, what happens if a community owner wants to sell their property to Wal-Mart?” This, says Dare, is part of the reason why it is difficult to get mortgage protection insurance on a chattel loan.

Dare has previously shared in-depth commentary on this issue with MHProNews, in A Deeper Look at Why the GSEs Say No to Securitizing Chattel Loans and his three point plan for industry recovery.

Paul Bradley sums up how the perceived challenges around chattel products can actually be resolved by the GSEs.

In fact, the two unique elements of this sector – relatively more expensive chattel products and land lease – can be resolved by the GSEs; they could make this market no different than the conventional residential markets where supply, demand, location and upkeep influence house price performance,” said Bradley.

The GSEs, with the right lease terms to secure their and homeowners’ interests, could help fix the problem that causes some manufactured homes to lose value.

The Daily Business News anticipates an in-depth response to the rule from MHARR and others in the days ahead, and will continue to follow developments around this story closely. ##

Bradley’s full commentary is linked here.

The Fact Sheet on the Duty to Serve Underserved Markets program is linked here.

The Final Rule sent to Federal Register is linked here.

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

ROC Leaders Meet at Texas Conference

November 17th, 2016 Comments off
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Credit: MHLivingNews.

Esthela Garza, president of the Pasadena Trails resident-owned community (ROC), and new member Paula Maldonado, were featured on a panel discussing the basics of manufactured housing at the “I’m Home” conference in San Antonio November 14th-16th.

Many of the residents were happy to live there, but now they participate in this community, too,” Garza said through a translator. “Our Members have responsibilities – they help out, they serve on the Board of Directors and committees, and it’s improving Pasadena Trails.

The I’m Home conference was designed for housing industry experts looking to unlock the potential of manufactured housing, organized by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED).

For the full story from MHLivingNews, click here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

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

September 28th, 2016 Comments off

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Lowry Grove residents protesting.

The offer was rejected.

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

 

lowrygrovervparkcreditgoogleStAnthonyCaseHighlightsBattleOverCommunityOwnersRightsvsResidentsRights-DailyBusinessNews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Image credits are as shown above.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC WIlliams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

Another Manufactured Home Community in New Hampshire Converts to Resident-Owned

March 8th, 2016 Comments off

roc_usa__creditThe 32-homesite Ladd Hill Mobile Home Park just became the 118th manufactured home community (MHC) in New Hampshire to convert from privately owned to resident-owned, as citizen informs MHProNews. Now called Ladd Hill Cooperative, Inc., the Belmont, NH community deal was finalized March 1, and the purchase price of $525,000 was financed with a mortgage through the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund’s ROC-NH™ program.

When residents Everett and Pat Palmer heard their community was to be sold and they might lose their home, they contacted the Community Loan Fund (CLF) and started the ball rolling toward the resident-owned community (roc) Ladd Hill has become.

In addition to finding funding, CLF provides advice on leadership, structure of the organization and training to operate the community. The fund assisted homeowners convert the first community in Meredith, NH in 1984, and since then has helped 118 communities become resident-owned comprising more then 6,500 homes.

Everett Palmer said: “It’s a relief to know we own the community, and that our investment and all that we’ve worked for is protected. This whole process has brought our park together. We’ve become closer to our neighbors, and met the ones we didn’t know.” ##

After 4-1/2 Years of Effort, Residents of a Montana MH Community Celebrate the Purchase of Their Community

January 23rd, 2015 Comments off

polluted-water-trailer-great-falls-montanaResidents of Trailer Terrace, a manufactured home community 1.7 miles south of Great Falls, Montana, are celebrating the purchase of their community.  This has been a long time in coming, after many years of enduring unsafe water and sewer conditions.

Residents of the 90-home property now own the 22-acre site and control the fate of the troubled community. “Everything is going to change,” Don Feist, president of the Trailer Terrace Community Cooperative, said.

Don Feist holds up water sample from previous community water system.

The Great Falls Tribune tells MHProNews that the rusted tanks that once stored the community’s water had previously held oil at a refinery. Some of the sewer service pipes, installed in the 1960s, were made of paper. Unsafe levels of arsenic in the water were detected in 2012. However, the owner refused to do anything to improve the water and sewer systems, and eventually the property went into receivership and things were at a standstill.

In desperation, the 250 residents of the community, one of 34 communities or parks in Cascade County, turned to NeighborWorks Montana for help.  This is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping low-income people obtain affordable housing.

NeighborWorks put Trailer Terrace residents in touch with ROC USA, which stands for “Resident Owned Communities.” This organization offers financing for cooperatives that form in mobile or manufactured home communities, and Trailer Terrace took out a $1.4 million loan from ROC to purchase their community.

“Sheila Rice and her crew at NeighborWorks did a lot of things for us, and they still will be doing things for us,” Don Feist said of Rice, NeighborWorks’ executive director.

Rice said that her organization only helped the determined residents of this community. “These are all hard-working people who have regular full-time jobs, and they’ve done a lot of work to try to get this sale completed,” Rice said. “Some of them have lived there 20 and 30 years, and they remember the old days when Trailer Terrace was very nicely kept up, and that’s what they want to restore the park to.”

Ownership via a cooperative, she says, offers security to residents in controlling rents, amenities and water and sewer updates. Members receive long-term transferrable leases of up to 75 years, which makes the home more valuable when homes are sold and a board runs the cooperative, Rice explained. Money that typically would go to the owner can be invested in improvement and infrastructure for the community.

Trailer Terrace is the latest community in Montana to form a cooperative in order to improve living conditions. Others have been created in Red Lodge, Kalispell, and at Missouri Meadows, another manufactured home community in Great Falls.

In addition to purchasing their community, residents of Trailer Terrace have also formed a water and sewer district, which enabled them to apply for and receive $2.8 million from state and federal agencies to construct new water and sewer treatment systems.

water-tanks-great-falls-montana-trailer-_1

Lyle Meeks of NCI Engineering, which worked with residents on securing the funding, said the grant amount was unusually high. He said that was because of the severe environmental and public health concerns, which caused the applications to score high in the funding approval process. “I’ve never seen a situation this acute,” Meeks said of the failing water and sewer systems.

He said the state funding agencies, the Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and the state Department of Commerce, all deserved credit. “They’ve been extremely helpful,” Meeks said. “And those staff people don’t get much kudos. Usually they just get yelled at.”

A new water well has been drilled and a 40,000-gallon water tank has been installed a quarter of a mile from the community.  Meeks explained that the quality of the water is better in that location, and water pressure also will be better because of the new location.

In addition to securing safe and reliable water and sewer systems, there are other benefits to community ownership as well. “Because of the heavy grant assistance, the rent will remain an affordable $300 a month, which will include the water and sewer bill,” Feist explained. “The reason we wanted to buy it is because everything was broken and the only way we were going to get it fixed was if we fixed it ourselves.”

Lining up the financing to purchase the park and arrange the infrastructure financing took 4-1/2 years, and Feist said obtaining the purchase money and the grants were a community effort.

“It would not have happened without the help of many people,” he said.  He thanks state legislators Sen. Mitch Tropila, (D-Great Falls), and Sen. Brian Hoven, (R-Great Falls), who pushed for the funding in Helena.  He said that residents are also grateful for help extended by Cascade County commissioners, who applied for a federal community block grant. In addition, former U.S. Sen. Max Baucus and Sen. Jon Tester lined up a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In addition, Environmental Engineer Meeks did his work pro bono before the residents had any funding, and Attorney Dan Shannon also was instrumental in getting the project completed, Feist explained.

“This was really a community project. Everybody helped,” he concluded. ##

(Photo Credit: Great Falls Tribune)

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Article Submitted by Sandra Lane to – Daily Business News- MHProNews.

 

New York Measure Seeks Financing Parity for MH and Site-built

May 8th, 2014 Comments off

Writing in the Opinionator section of The New York Times, Andrea Levere says 18 million people with an average median income of $30,000 live in factory-built housing, making it the largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing in the U. S. Although over 70 percent own their own homes, most who live in manufactured housing communities (MHC) do not own the land under their home, as MHProNews.com knows. Noting most manufactured homes (MH) are classified as personal property instead of real estate, it makes it difficult to obtain low-cost financing. She says federal laws are needed to enact better financing options, and more local jurisdictions should embrace manufactured homes.

A proponent of MHCs becoming co-ops, Levere says 18 states have laws that deal with the transition, but most do not give people adequate time to prepare for the actual purchase. She says strict zoning laws prohibit siting MH in urban areas where they could be most helpful. In Oakland, California, MH has been used for infill lots since the 1980s, and the homes have sold for four times their original cost. The New York State Senate is considering a bill that mandates local ordinances treat manufactured housing like any other housing. She says more small lenders need to provide loans with the backing of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, just as they do for conventional homes.

As president of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), Levere promotes co-operative ownership of communities. She is also the board chairwoman for ROC USA (Resident Owned Communities).##

(Image credit: Royal Homes of Raleigh (NC)–manufactured homes)

George Allen Fact Check: 6 Errors/Contradictions in one section alone (290/1)?

April 1st, 2014 Comments off

Caesar-Palace-main-fountain-at-night-in-Las Vegas-NV-WikiCommons-posted-on-mhpronews-comThe Washington Post famously hands out “Pinocchios” for false or misleading statements made by public officials they fact check, including notables such as U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other foreign or domestic public figures.

Since the MHIndustry’s George F. Allen boldly proclaims himself weekly to be a “reporter” and “communications resource,” let’s see in just one of the three parts (not counting his standard introduction, or “end notes”) in his recent post how many errors or contradictions this alleged “reporter” makes.

1) The first error/contradiction is found in the very first sentence in George F. Allen’s blog post (#290, section I); which is a typo of one of his own publication’s name.

2) When George Allen wrote;

“…NEVER EVER ENGAGE IN PUBLIC BACKSTABBING of MHBusiness associates online or anywhere else!”

…does Allen realize he violated that principle in that very paragraph, in his own blasting of the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI’s) popular Congress and Expo? Is it ‘Do as I say, not as I do?’ for Allen in Indy? Does Allen hold himself and his friends to this standard, or not?

3) The early bird special for Congress and Expo runs through Friday, April 4, so Allen has 2 fact errors in his second bullet point, and once more violates his own stated principle of “…NEVER EVER ENGAGE IN PUBLIC BACKSTABBING of MHBusiness associates online or anywhere else!” As a side note, when has MHI ever attacked Allen’s so-called Roundtable or other “meetings” publicly?

4) Allen’s paragraph five states registrations for MHI’s Congress and Expo in 2014 “…are up 30 percent over last year!” An MHProNews source at MHI puts that at up 39% increase over last year, as of 3PM ET, 3/31/2014. Doesn’t that fact-error contradict his bullet point 3, which boldly claims his location has become “the hub…” “…of 1) research, 2) resources, 3) communication, 4) networking, 5) deal-making, 6) PM training & certification, and when need be, 7) national advocacy…” What Allen himself has said in a prior blog post, that he agitatesagainst MHI seems accurate. If MHProNews grades errors and contradictions on the curve, that would be a sixth fact/contradiction error. But if you look at the fact that accurate research, business building resources, more (…and more accurate…) communications, some 5 times more networking at the Congress and Expo event alone, true testing and certification through MHEI’s ACM (Accredited Community Manager), those first 6 claims are all errors/contradicted, because he is clearly not “…the hub…” based solely on Allen’s own missive. As to Allen point 7), when has Allen last engaged in “national advocacy” on an issue with Congress, the CFPB, HUD or other Washington based regulatory agency? Should that self-proclaimed “reporter” get a total 6 or 13 fact errors/contradictions for that one section of his blog? Does the Scripture-quoting Allen recall Exodus 20:16?

With so many obvious errors in just section “I” of a single Allen post – a pattern of errors which allegedly occurs routinely with this self-described “reporter” and “community-investor” – is it any wonder that the New York Times has not called George Allen to have a reporter spend a week in his “land lease life style community?”

For those wishing to learn the facts about the MHI/NCC 2014 Congress & Expo to be held on April 29 – May 1, 2014 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas – or to save $200 on early bird special for the hottest ticket in the manufactured housing industry ‘business building, educational, networking and deal making’ with an estimated 1000 +/- attendees from companies of all sizes – please click here by Friday April 4 for the discounted rates.

MHI organizers say similar events in the home building or real estate industry often cost more, and tell us they have arranged for discounted room rates ‘while they last,’ but MHProNews – which will have a paying attendee of the event – encourages readers to check out the facts for yourself. ##

(Image credit of Caesar’s Palace main fountain at night in Las Vegas, NV: WikiCommons. Editor’s note: by way of disclosure, MHProNews’ parent company was hired by MHI to help promote this event, but we were not asked to comment or fact-check this George Allen article.)