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Measure V – Battle Lines Drawn

October 10th, 2016 Comments off
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Collage and text credit by MHProNews. Click to see full sized image.

As the moms and pops that built our mobile home parks age out, predatory, out-of-town corporate investors have been taking over. – Measure V proponents

Once rent control is adopted, politicians will – by the tenants’ votes – be giving the landlord’s property to the tenants. It happens all the time.Sam Landy, CEO UMH Properties

These are just two of the many published perspectives over controversial Measure V – a Humboldt County, California ballot measure that proposes significant changes to the relationship between manufactured home community owners and their residents.

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Humboldt County, CA (in red.) Credit: Wikipedia

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Joe Dyton.

As Daily Business News’ Joe Dyton covered recently, Measure V proposes that:

  • Manufactured home community owners would be permitted to raise site rents once annually, and the increase would be tied to inflation via the Consumer Price Index;
  • When a home is sold or transferred, new resident site fees could only increase five percent higher than what the previous residents paid;
  • A community owner could raise rents to pay for improvements, but would first require written approval from more than 50 percent (a simple majority) of the homeowners/residents.

This has spurred a furious debate, including letters to the editor and opinion columns from both sides of the issue.

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Millionaires, such as actress Betsy Russell, are living in manufactured homes. To see a photo spread of her manufactured home which listed for 2 million dollars, click here.

Court Ruling, Views Dueling

Credit: Facebook.

Credit: Facebook.

In May, a federal jury unanimously found that the city of Carson and its rent control board violated the constitutional rights of the owner of Colony Cove — a mobile home park in Southern California,” said Doug Johnson, who is a member of Citizens Against Rent Control — NO on Measure V, in his letter to the Times-Standard.

The jury concluded that the board’s rejection of lawfully filed rent increase applications in 2007 and 2008 constituted a regulatory taking without just compensation,” Johnson wrote.  “Such government actions are barred by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Johnson’s comments are, in part, a response to those of Hilary Mosher. Mosher is chair of the Humboldt Mobile Home Coalition, who was quoted in an Op-Ed in the Mad River Union, seeking to make her case for Measure V.

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Credit: HumboldtMobileHome.org

Park owners are being merciless, and in some cases, outside the law in their rush to gouge park residents in raising fees and lot rents prior to the Nov. 8 election,” Mosher alleged.

This provides us with a perfect example of why Measure V is necessary – park owners are not required to be fair with their increases and we park residents are captive and have no say about whatever they want to do to us,” Mosher continued. “One park owner in McKinleyville, who failed to give tenants adequate notice, has even gone so far as to tell them in a letter that if Measure V does not pass, he may not raise the rent! We view this as voter manipulation and intimidation.

Johnson sees the Measure V issue as a danger to taxpayers that they may not be aware of, referring to the Colony Cove case in Carson, CA.

The jury went on to award the park owner more than $3.3 million in damages. In addition to this already staggering judgment — which the taxpayers of Carson will have to pay — the court ordered that the city pay an additional $4,128,662 in prejudgment interest and attorneys’ fees. Taxpayers are now on the hook for a whopping $7,464,718 — from just one bad Rent Control Board decision,” Johnson said.

One McKinleyville resident disagrees with Johnson’s take.

In his letter, Doug Johnson made a lot of untrue statements. He gave his address as McKinleyville — he does not live in Humboldt County,” claims Roxann Souter of McKinleyville in her Times-Standard letter-to-the-editor.

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Image credits are as shown.

Administration of Measure V is paid for through fees to mobile home owners. If park owners decide to go to court they potentially are costing taxpayers money— not Measure V. He [Johnson] said Carson taxpayers will have to pay millions— not necessarily true,” Souter continued.

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Video Interview with HUD expert includes: behind-the-scenes look at construction, community and home tours – click above.

That case is being appealed and research shows that these park owner cases most often lose in the higher court, with park owners liable for fees. Johnson claims that Measure V will impact public services — he has no crystal ball to know that,” Souter said.

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Carrie Peyton Dahlberg. Credit: Mad River Union.

In her opinion piece to the Mad River Union, semi-retired journalist, landlord and volunteer for “Yes on Measure V,” Carrie Peyton Dahlberg shared a similar perspective.

For mobile home residents, the ‘free market’ is a myth. People who own mobile homes can’t pick up and leave if the park owner decides to create new fees or impose repeated rent increases. They are trapped. The only way out is to sell their home, the one asset many of them own,” said Peyton Dahlberg.

That is why, even though I’m a landlord, I collected hundreds of signatures this spring to help put Measure V on Humboldt County’s ballot. Many landlords I talked with signed the petitions,” Peyton Dahlberg wrote.

They know the difference between a tenant who is free to leave and one who is a captive renter, in a captive market. When they learned the details of Measure V, they realized it was fair to the park owners, as well as to the mobile homes owners.

A Landlord…?

The Daily Business News reached out to Peyton Dahlberg with questions related to her experience as a landlord, including whether or not she owned a manufactured home community or had friends or releatives who lived in manufactured home communities.

I will be glad to answer those questions in 2017,” she replied.

Dahlberg would not respond to a follow up.

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Credit: HumboldtMobileHome.org

Park owners in Humboldt County have been addressing the issue of alleged “excessive” rent for well over a year,” attorney C. William Dahlin told MHProNews.

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C. William “Bill” Dahlin.

However, the reality is that rents in Humboldt County are not excessive. Indeed, rents in Humboldt County mobilehome parks are exceptionally low. Do the research,” Dahlin said.

Most Park owners offer long-term leases that address and stabilize any legitimate concern about rent increases,” Dahlin explained. “A rent increase that reflects an increase in property taxes simply reflects the costs of doing business. Not one penny of such increases go to the park owner. Rather, such funds go the county for roads as well as police and fire services.”

Sheila Dey, Executive Director of the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association told MHProNews that Doug Johnson’s statement reflected their association’s view. In addition, Dey also wrote this article on the harmful impact of Rent Control on affordable housing in California.

A Larger Problem…

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Paul Bradley. Credit: Fosters.com

I think rent control is a symptom of a larger problem.  To my eye, these stories are always about both sides doubling down politically and legally,Paul Bradley, president of Resident Owned Communities (ROCUSA) told MHProNews.

I would like to think there are alternatives that don’t rely on third-party boards and local ordinances.  I approach things with a win/win mindset, and from what I’ve seen; courts and boards seem to satisfy neither party in most cases.  A fundamentally different value proposition and mindset is required to stem the tide of rent control,” said Bradley.

UMH Properties’ president and Sam Landy sees it similarly.

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Sam Landy, UMH President and CEO.

The fact is, if we [as community owners] raise our rents too high, we will have no sales and no occupancy,said Landy. No reasonable landlord would do such a thing. Our rents have to make economic sense or we have no business. Therefore, in the long term, there is never a need for rent control.

The Daily Business News will monitor this controversial ballot measure. ##

(Editor’s Note: for a similar, related story featured in a Fox News video, please click here.  Update – WMA’s video and talking points, are 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.

Ordinance Mandates Community Owners Give Nine Months Notice Before Closing

August 15th, 2016 Comments off

Calif_Humboldt_County__the_times_dash_standard__shaun_walker podyrfDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe Humboldt County Board of Supervisors in northern, coastal Calif. will consider a state-mandated proposed ordinance that requires manufactured home community owners in unincorporated areas to give residents nine months notice if they are repurposing the property which will require the residents to move. The county must adopt the ordinance to comply with state law, as MHProNews understands from times-standard.

The county staff reports the law is designed to avoid “large-scale socioeconomic impacts” resulting from residents being forced to move out in a New York minute. The ordinance originally would have provided only a few weeks notice, but the Humboldt County Planning Commission is recommending that be extended to nine months.

Second District Supervisor Estelle Fennell, saying she has not heard any opposition or recommendations from the Planning Commission, said, “I don’t know what the Planning Commission’s reasoning was to extend the notification time, but I like the idea of it because it gives everyone a chance to figure out what they’re going to do,” she said.

If approved by the Board of Commissioners at their meeting Tue., Aug. 16, the ordinance will have to be approved at a future meeting. Additionally, the California Coastal Commission will review it. ##

(Photo credit: times-standard/Shaun Walker–Thunderbird Mobile Estates, Humboldt County manufactured home community)

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

Arcata, CA Residents Concerned about Rents in MH Community

June 22nd, 2016 Comments off

Calif_humboldt_county__the_times_dash_standard__shaun_walker__rent_controlFollowing concerns expressed by manufactured home community (MHC) residents in Arcata, California regarding rising site rents, the Arcata City Council directed the Community Development Department to take a demographic survey of MHC residents as well as the history of rents.

As times-standard tells MHProNews, Community Development Department specialist Mohamad Alnakhlawi said the results will be presented to the council in the fall. “We’re looking at the full spectrum of solution strategies. Rent control is just one tool,” Arcata City Councilman Mark Wheetley said.

The MHC was sold to Follett USA in 2013, and CFO Casey Kelly said the majority of the increases at Lazy J’s Mobile Home Park have been to cover property taxes, while in the third year there was a stabilized real rent increase of $9 per month.

Carman Gentile, a nine-year resident of Lazy J, said he hopes for an alternative to rent control since that has been controversial in many cities. “This is a big task for the Arcata City Council to embark on,” he said. “I would prefer a more congenial relationship with the park owners and more transparency about their long-term plans.”

Doug Johnson, of the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association, which represents mobile home park owners in various issues and legal disputes, opposes rent control. “It’s very complicated and it pits the owners against the residents,” Johnson said. “We don’t believe rent control works — it raises mobile home prices and is expensive for the taxpayer.

Alnakhlawi says preliminary results indicate site rents in Arcata average $300-500 a month. Golden State Manufactured Home Owners League representative Karilee Shames, while noting the risks residents face without regulation, said site rents in Sonoma where she lives runs around $1,300 a month. Arcata is far north on the coast, while Sonoma is just north of the Bay Area.

Johnson said space rents in Arcata are already affordable, and that is without government involvement. ##

(Photo credit: times-standard/Shaun Walker–Humboldt County, Calif.)

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

Rent Control termed a Form of Price Fixing

March 4th, 2016 Comments off

Calif_humboldt_county__the_times_dash_standard__shaun_walker__rent_controlAs part of the city’s overall affordable housing strategy, the Arcata (Calif.) City Council has approved a mid-year appropriation of $35,000 to develop a plan to balance the needs of manufactured home community (MHC) residents against those of the MHC owners, and avoid rent control/rent stabilization measures for the city.

Community Development Director David Loya said a memorandum of understanding might avoid the costs of rent stabilization efforts, as times-standard informs MHProNews.. Doug Johnson of the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association (WMHCA) suggested the $35,000 could be more effective helping the residents directly, although he noted, “We support this effort as long as it is fair, thorough and fact-based.”

The city may pass ordinances that control the frequency and amount of rent increases, including when home sites become vacant. 

Meanwhile, a group of manufactured home owners are trying to obtain enough signatures to put a rent stabilization ordinance on the Nov. ballot for Humboldt County. The ordinance would apply only to communities with ten or more homes in unincorporated areas of the county.

Community owners call such ordinances a form of price-fixing that can interfere with repairs and maintenance of the communities. ##

(Photo credit: times-standard/Shaun Walker–Humboldt County, Calif.)

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

Manufactured Home Community Residents seek Rent Control in Northern CA

February 18th, 2016 Comments off

Calif_humboldt_county__the_times_dash_standard__shaun_walker__rent_controlThe Humboldt Mobilehome Owners Coalition is seeking a ballot initiative to put rent control in manufactured home communities (MHC) to the voters in Humboldt County, in far Northern California, according to times-standard. The group has to obtain 3,000 signatures to be on the Nov. ballot.

The Mobile Home Park Space Rent Stabilization Ordinance would only apply to unincorporated areas of the county, regulating site rents for communities of over ten homes.

The coalition’s Patti Rose said the ordinance would tie increases to cost-of-living increases because so many of the MHC residents are on fixed incomes.

Community owners say the measure is a form of price fixing, and limiting increases could affect the extent of maintenance and repairs communities require.

The Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association’s Doug Johnson said rent control is an unfair, expensive and useless government regulation that the McKinley Municipal Advisory Committee has already rejected.

The ordinance says, “The mobile home park owner may implement the increase each year by legally required notice, or bank the increase to be added to the rent at a future date, and provide a notice to mobile home owner tenants of the park owner’s election to defer the allowable annual increase.”

While this initiative would only apply to MHCs in unincorporated areas of Humboldt County, the coalition sees this as a jumping off point to eventually have the cities adopt rent control ordinances. ##

(Photo credit: The Times-Standard/Shaun Walker–Thunderbird MHC in Humboldt County)

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

Rights of Manufactured Home Community Residents to be the Topic

June 12th, 2015 Comments off

mfg home  sfgate credit  san farn chronicleThe rights of residents of manufactured home communities (MHCs) will be the topic at a meeting in McKinleyville, California on Sat., June 13 sponsored by two advocacy groups, the Humboldt Mobilehome Owners Coalition and the Golden State Manufactured Homeowners League.

Mary Ella Anderson with the Humboldt group says site rents have increased $57 a month in the last three years, and many of the residents are on fixed incomes, according to times-standard. Golden State is an advocacy group for MHC residents, often opposing rent hikes and redevelopment of communities. The seminar will be held at Ocean West Senior Village in this city on northern California’s Pacific coast.

MHProNews understands Anderson when she says, “There’s a kind of revolution going on with people seeing mobile home parks as good investments.” ##

(Photo credit: sanfranchronicle–manufactured home)

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