Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Virginia’

Manufactured Housing – Helping Those Most In Need

May 25th, 2017 Comments off
clintonkainecampaignsignsmanufacturedhomeindustrydailybusinessnewsmhpronews

Photo by MHProNews of a manufactured home in a Lakeland, Florida, 55+ Manufactured Home Community. 

In a conference this weekend in Roanoke, Virginia, a very important conversation was taking place about how to keep older residents in the state in their homes.

According to WVTF, the topic, along with others, was discussed at the Virginia Governor’s Conference on Aging. Currently, there are one and a half million Virginians over the age of 60 – a large number of which are located in the southwest portion of the state.

The population faces a number of challenges, but none more taxing than the geographic makeup of the area,” said Nancy Brossoie, with the Center of Gerontology at Virginia Tech.

This is an area of our state that is full of hills and hollers, and if you’ve ever been in a holler you don’t get cell service in a holler. In fact, people live so far off the beaten track that even getting home-based services to their homes is very difficult.”

And one organization at the event was looking to manufactured housing as a viable solution.

The Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens is looking to repurposed older manufactured homes to create a senior community for the population in the Southwest portion of the state.

We would take these mobile homes [sic] as we acquired them or purchased them,” says executive director Regina Sayers.

We have renovated those; turned those so that they are handicap accessible, and they have ramps and everything on them, and make them a truly much better home than what some of our seniors in our communities are living in.”

Conference officials say that they hoped the conference would help make Virginia the most age-friendly state in the country.

 

Manufactured Housing – a Helping Hand, an Economic Boom

Seniors55+UpManufacturedHomeCommunitiesTextGraphicMHProNews

Text Graphic, MHProNews.

As MHProNews and MHLivingNews continue to make the case for manufactured housing as a viable solution to hope for the American Dream of home ownership, it also represents an opportunity for those headed into, or already, in retirement to downsize into a quality residence at a reasonable price. And some in the industry see the opportunity clearly.

StanPoseySunshineHomesRedBayAL-postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Stan Posey, Sales Manager, Sunshine Homes.

When the National Association of Realtors chief economist says there are more buyers than existing homes available on the market, that should be a huge signal to manufactured and modular home professionals,” said Stan Posey, sales manager at Sunshine Homes of Red Bay, AL.

We build residential style homes that target the site-built customer,” Posey said. “Some of our retailers and communities are doing very well by targeting the site-built customer.”

And, the topic received national exposure recently, as manufactured housing industry veteran, Paul Bradley President of ROC USA appeared on NBC Nightly News in a segment on manufactured home communities.

The feature focused on those 55 and over, who are downsizing in retirement and choosing manufactured home communities as an option.

MajorMediaCoverageforManufacturedHousingcreditNBC-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews3

Credit: NBC.

The recent media coverage is not only great for ROC USA and its affiliates across the country, but for the entire manufactured housing sector,” said Bradley.

These stories have focused on positive developments in and perceptions of manufactured housing,” he said. “Whether that’s in resident-owned communities or not, we all benefit from coverage that combats the stigma too often associated with these homes and worse, the hard-working people who live in them.” ##

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

 

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, MHProNews.

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

 

(Copyright Notice: This and all content on MHProNews and MHLivingNews always have been and are Copyrighted, © 2017 by MHProNews.com a dba of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – All Rights Reserved. No duplication is permitted without specific written permission. Headlines with link-backs are of course ok. A short-quoted clip, with proper attribution and link back to the specific article are also ok – but you must send a notice to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com of the exact page you’ve placed/posted such a use, once posted.)

As the Community Turns… are Residents Hurting Themselves?

April 29th, 2017 Comments off
AsTheCommunityTurnscreditWashingtonPost-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

East End Mobile Home Park. Credit: WAPO.

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

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

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

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

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

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

jamesturnercreditVTWLaw-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

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.

eastend2creditinsidenova-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

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.

residentsofeastendappearat-manassasmeetingcreditpotomaclocal-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

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.)

 

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

Rollercoaster Ride may be Ending for Manufactured Home Community?

April 21st, 2017 Comments off
residentsofeastendappearat-manassasmeetingcreditpotomaclocal-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

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

A long, and often confusing rollercoaster ride for residents at the East End Mobile Home Park in Manassas, Virginia may be coming to an end.

But, as has been the case for the community, it won’t come without clearing a few hurdles.

Per InsideNova, 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 trouble community.

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

As the Daily Business News has covered, 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.

For Turner, who admits he’s been watching “the circus” from the sidelines, sees purchasing the community as a huge plus.

I look at this as an investment for my retirement days. I’m hoping to clean it up and make it a much nicer place to live,” said Turner.

jamesturnercreditVTWLaw-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

James Turner. Credit: VTW Law firm.

After one of the residents of my Alexandria properties urged me to look into it, I decided to call the seller and see what’s going on.”

Even with the positive momentum, Turner will still have some hurdles.

First, the city will need to step back from its plan to purchase the property, and that would be contingent on whether or not the buyer would be able to afford to repair the sewer system, which could cost up to $1.5 million on top of the sale price.

Turner says this isn’t an issue.

I wouldn’t invest a million dollars in this unless I knew for sure I could do it,” said Turner.

I’m ready to buy this and get started, and start spending money with the anticipation that the city will let me buy it.”

ResidentsHopeforMoreTimetoVacateMHCcreditNBC4-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: NBC 4.

Turner has also offered to bring in workers to begin the initial clean up on the property as an act of good faith, to demonstrate he’s serious.

The other challenge is around the city’s discussions with Catholics for Housing, a Dumfries, Virginia-based nonprofit.

Jonathan Francis, the pro bono attorney representing the community’s residents, says the non-profit had managed to earn the trust of his clients by supporting several key provisions in the negotiations.

The charity was willing to offer long-term leases so residents could feel secure that a sudden sale of the property wouldn’t force them out of their homes. Keeping rents at a reasonable rate is another important consideration, since many residents only pay about $400 per month right now and couldn’t afford to pay much more,” said Francis.

Without similar assurances from Turner, I don’t know how comfortable people on the park [sic] might be even staying on the property.”

For Vice Mayor Marc Aveni, a leading opposition voice on the city purchasing the community, says that while he hasn’t spoken with Turner directly, if he’s sincere, it’s good to have him involved.

If he cleans up the park [sic] and gives the residents an affordable place to stay that’s a win to me,” said Aveni.

From my standpoint, having multiple people interested is probably a good thing. We get to pick and choose.”

Also in play is a pending litigation, in which 49 of the 58 families living at East End are pursuing “tenant’s assertions” against Clarke and her representatives.

Tenant’s assertions are a legal action that lets the residents pay their rent into an escrow account controlled by the Prince William County District Court while a judge evaluates whether the community’s owners are responsible for its poor condition.

Francis says his clients feel comfortable ending that case if Catholics for Housing purchases the community, but he’s not sure what they may do if Turner buys it instead.

Part of any deal is looking to get some sort of agreement from the residents that they won’t be pursuing action against the seller, and there hasn’t been a meeting between the residents and Mr. Turner to discuss that yet,” said Francis.

Helen Sorto, who has been working with East End residents to stay in their homes, agrees with Francis.

Some are already preparing to leave, particularly because Turner could raise rents to the point where the park’s low-income residents simply can’t afford to stay,” says Sorto.

eastend2creditinsidenova-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

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

With the improvements to the quality of the community, Turner says that rents may go up by $100 or $150 per month, but points out the property’s rate would remain below what he charges in his other communities, or rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the city.

I expect that the repairs I’m planning will improve the value of the trailers [sic] on the park [sic], making it a better investment for residents,” said Turner.

This is an investment on my part, so there may be some rental increases, and the tenants are aware of it. It has to work for them and has to work for me, and I think we’ve had a meeting of the minds.”

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.)

 

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

Update: Manufactured Home Community Eviction

March 28th, 2017 Comments off
eastend2creditinsidenova-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

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

In an update to a story the Daily Business News has covered over the last few months, residents at the East End Mobile Home Park in Manassas, Virginia, have been given a reprieve from eviction, which was due to take place at the end of the month.

According to Inside Nova, families in the community will now get to stay in their homes until at least mid-June, giving a nonprofit who has an interest in buying the property more time to structure a deal with its owner.

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

After the residents received a reprieve in early February to hold off the evictions, Jon Francis, the attorney representing the residents, was scheduled to square off with Clarke’s attorneys in court on March 24 in a hearing to determine if Clarke is responsible for the property’s condition.

Both sides asked for a delay of that proceeding, and retired District Court Judge Peter Steketee granted that request.

We’ve managed to hammer out the framework of a settlement agreement with the owner’s attorneys,said Francis.

On June 16th, we’ll reconvene for a status hearing on the case.”

residentsofeastendappearat-manassasmeetingcreditpotomaclocal-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

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

What Francis and many residents are hoping for is a lifeline in the timeframe from Catholics for Housing, a Dumfries nonprofit.

The organization is working to reach a formal agreement to buy the property with Clarke and her trustee, Timothy Cope.

The nonprofit submitted a bid on the community earlier this month, and if it can hammer out a deal with Cope, they can ask the Manassas City Council to take a vote on backing away from the sale.

City officials have stressed that anyone interested in buying East End will need to have the funds to repair the park sewer system. That process alone could cost up to $1.5 million.

Catholics for Housing could get financial assistance on that front through the legal process,” said Francis.

While nothing is final yet, part of the settlement with the property owner’s attorneys could include an agreement to send some of the money held in escrow to Catholics for Housing to assist with repairs to the park [sic].”

It would be up to the judge, but it also depends on whether they want that money or not,” said Francis.

Catholics for Housing has not commented on their interest level in the community so far, outside of a letter to the city council earlier this month reiterating that it’s still investigating the situation.

The Daily Business News will continue to follow this story and provide updates. ##

 

(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.

Residents Hope for More Time to Vacate MHC

February 7th, 2017 Comments off
ResidentsHopeforMoreTimetoVacateMHCcreditNBC4-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

The East End Mobile Home Park. Credit: NBC 4.

For residents of the East End Mobile Home Park in Manassas, Virginia, hopes for an extension on an order to vacate are hanging in the balance.

In a story that the Daily Business News has followed from the beginning, and through resident requests for a lifeline, Manassas city officials have now stepped in and asked the current property owner to allow families that have children to stay in the community until the end of the school year.

In late December, residents went to the city council to ask for help in a saga that has, according to them, been going on for a decade.

Residents claim that the property owner has neglected the community’s sewage system to the point that unless residents take action themselves, sewage comes up into their yards.

In a move that city officials considered the “best of bad options,” the city council voted to buy the property for $1.86 million.

While the option looked like a lifeline, it had a twist: the city said it could not act as a landlord, and therefore the deal could not close until all the residents were out.

ResidentsFacingEvictionAskCityCouncilforLifelineMayorHarryParishIIcreditOfficialPhoto-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Mayor Harry Parish II. Official Photo.

We have a contract and we’ve got to abide by that contract,” said Mayor Harry Parrish II at the time. “There are opportunities for the owner to work with the citizens. And I think that’s where the action should be taken place today.”

At the time, city officials said that the situation was unhealthy for residents and it could not continue.

They did not want to shut off water and sewer service, which would have led everyone to be evicted right away, so the city opted to buy the property and make repairs, as the current owner did not have enough money to cover the expense.

The city said that it now plans to repair the faulty sewer system after residents move out.

While city officials did step in and ask the current owner for an extension, they said that the owner will select a move-out deadline, not the city.

residentsofeastendappearat-manassasmeetingcreditpotomaclocal-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

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

We’re going to be moving them when they’re prepping for these tests, and that’s going to be detrimental to their education,” said resident Melissa Watson.

According to NBC4, the Save Our Homes Alliance, a nonprofit organization, has stepped forward to help residents stay. The Daily Business News will continue to follow this story and provide updates. ##

(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.

The Saga of “A Solid Community”

January 20th, 2017 Comments off
TheSagaofASolidCommunitycreditTwiCopy-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewmhlivingnews

RPD Chief Durham listens to a resident of Rudd’s Trailer Park during a Community Walk. Credit: TwiCopy.

In Richmond, Virginia, a manufactured home community is going through the pains of change.

Dennis Pasqualino purchased Rudd’s Trailer Park at auction in March. When the purchase was completed, he told residents that he planned to install surveillance cameras and remove some of the empty homes.

While that hasn’t happened yet, Pasqualino said he was working to address crime by securing the vacant homes, and that he’s working with the city and nonprofits to bring in new homes and assist residents with down payments to purchase them.

I think everybody’s on the same page now — let’s save the park [sic],” said Pasqualino.

This was a solid community prior to all of this happening, and what we need to do is make it a solid community again.

According to Richmond Magazine, while conditions at the region’s communities vary greatly, the situation at Rudd’s involves a number of older homes in bad condition, which led the city to issue notices of code violation and condemnation.

That resulted in a federal housing discrimination lawsuit against the City of Richmond, a civil rights complaint and two settlements.

TheSagaofASolidCommunitycreditRichmondMagazine-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewmhlivingnews

Melody Scruggs walks in the Rudd’s community. Credit: Richmond Magazine.

The community also caught the attention of local affordable housing advocates, who formed the Virginia Mobile Home Park Coalition in the spring of 2015 in an effort to assess the conditions of the region’s communities and look at ways to improve them. One of the coalition’s first steps was to commission a study, which was completed in November.

We weren’t really aware of the scale of mobile home parks [sic] living in the region,” says Lee Householder, CEO of ProjectHomes, one of the coalition’s members. “We wanted to understand better how many units there were, what the condition was, so we could get our arms around the scope of the problems.

According to the daughter of one of the residents, the problems at Rudd’s are abundant.

TheSagaofASolidCommunitycreditRichmondMagazine2-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewmhlivingnews

Melody Scruggs. Credit: Richmond Magazine.

Most of these trailers [sic] are so old, it’s really hard to get them up to code,” says Melody Scruggs.

Her mother’s home was built more than four decades ago, and her late father lived there for more than 30 years.

With the addition of a smoke detector, it passed inspection, but she says it has mold in the ceiling. Some of the electrical sockets don’t work.

My mom’s on a fixed income, and it’s hard to find a place in her price range,” said Scruggs.

TheSagaofASolidCommunitycreditCountsAuction-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewmhlivingnews

A map of Rudd’s Trailer Park (shaded.) Credit: Counts Auction.

In and around Richmond, manufactured home community residents are twice as likely to live in poverty as the rest of the region’s population, 28 percent versus 14 percent, and their median household income is half the region’s average at $27,000.

Demographically, these households have a higher percentage of Hispanic residents than the general population and a lower percentage of African-American residents, according to the study, which was commissioned by The Virginia Nonprofit Housing Coalition, the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg, and The Community Foundation.

The study also found that 70 percent of community residents in the region own their homes.

What that says to me is these manufactured home parks [sic] are well-positioned to be vibrant, stable communities of homeowners,” says Christie Marra of Virginia Poverty Law Center, another Virginia Mobile Home Park Coalition partner.

Manufactured homes are the most affordable type of home ownership option that we have.

TheSagaofASolidCommunitycreditRichmond-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewmhlivingnews

A family at their home in the Rudd’s community. Credit: Richmond.

At Rudd’s, residents are cautiously optimistic about fixes.

All of us are concerned,” Scruggs says.

Will the city allow Pasqualino to do the changes he wants to do, or will they try to close it down? We’re all worried about that. People don’t want to put money into fixing the trailer [sic] if the park’s [sic] going to close.

With that, Scruggs does give credit.

I’ve got to give it to [Pasqualino]. He’s really trying to fix it … if the people could get some assistance to fix the trailers [sic] and bring them up to code, it would be a much nicer place to live.” ##

(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.

Residents Facing Eviction Ask City Council for Lifeline

December 26th, 2016 Comments off
residentsofeastendappearat-manassasmeetingcreditpotomaclocal-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

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

In a follow up to a story that the Daily Business News originally covered in October, hundreds of residents are now facing imminent eviction from the East End Mobile Home Park in Manassas, Virginia.

And, once again, they are asking the city council to help. But they feel that they are running out of time. The deadline is February 28th.

Residents say their painful saga has been going on for nearly a decade, as the property owner has neglected the community’s sewage system to the point that unless residents take action themselves, sewage comes up into their yards.

According to WJLA, in a move that city officials say they consider the “best of bad options,” the city council voted to buy the property for $1.86 million.

While the option looks good on the surface, it has a twist: the city says it cannot act as a landlord, and therefore the deal can’t close until all the residents are out.

Now residents fear that they will have nowhere to go or won’t be able to afford to move to more expensive housing in the area.

eastend2creditinsidenova-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

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

Believe me, for some other people it may not be much, but for me – and a lot of my neighbors – it’s the whole world,” resident Crescencio Torres told the Manassas city council during the meeting.

City officials say that the current situation is unhealthy for residents and it cannot continue. They say they didn’t want to shut off water and sewer service, which would have led everyone to be evicted right away. Instead, the city opted to buy the property and make repairs, as the current owner does not have enough money to cover the expense.

During the meeting, residents asked the city and the council to pressure the owner to at least extend the deadline for them to be evicted.

While the mayor supports the idea, he says what the city can do is limited.

ResidentsFacingEvictionAskCityCouncilforLifelineMayorHarryParishIIcreditOfficialPhoto-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Mayor Harry Parish II. Official Photo.

We have a contract and we’ve got to abide by that contract,” said Mayor Harry Parrish II. “There are opportunities for the owner to work with the citizens. And I think that’s where the action should be taken place today.

A group of residents wants to postpone the eviction date until August, including Melissa Watson who says that would help minimize the impact on children who must then change schools.

We’re going to be moving them when they’re prepping for these tests, and that’s going to be detrimental to their education,” said Watson.

ResidentsFacingEvictionAskCityCouncilforLifelinecredit-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Randy Grumbine. Credit: LinkedIn.

Residents currently pay $600 or less a month at the community and some say they are finding it difficult to locate other places where they can move their manufactured homes. A representative for the city said the eviction date is not their decision because they do not yet own the property.

It is our hope that the city works with the tenants to find an equitable solution, said Randy Grumbine, Executive Director Virginia Manufactured and Modular Housing Association, told MHProNews. ##

(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.

Rewarding Bad Behavior? City Threatens Evictions, MH Residents Push Back

October 27th, 2016 Comments off
eastend2creditinsidenova-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

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

A manufactured home community in Manassas, Virginia is facing a unique set of circumstances.

The city is ready to step in and solve a long running sewage problem at the community by purchasing it.

But only if the residents move off the property.

According to InsideNova, residents of the East End Mobile Home Park have been long subjected to spewing sewage into their yards, lots of promises to resolve the issue and inaction.

I’ve had sewage under my trailer [sic], underneath the porch,” said long time resident Jill Hurdle. “My mom couldn’t come out here and sit because it was worse than living with your face against a skunk’s butt…It’s frightening when you have so much toiletry coming at you. 

Hurdle told InsideNova that she’s been calling the city for years about problems with the sewer system.

But because Manassas doesn’t own the infrastructure, the city hasn’t been able to come in and make the necessary repairs, according to city spokeswoman Patty Prince.

residentsofeastendappearat-manassasmeetingcreditpotomaclocal-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

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

In a review of public documents by InsideNova, the city has been pressuring attorneys representing property owner Helen Loretta Clarke to make the necessary repairs for at least seven years.

In one letter from July 2009, city deputy director of water and sewer Dominic Brancaccio told Clarke’s lawyer that the city discovered “many issues” by doing “smoke testing” on the system. Brancaccio noted that many of the problems in the community were in violation of city code, and threatened, “court action to correct these issues” if Clarke did not provide an action plan to fix them.

According to InsideNova, the two sides corresponded several times over the years, with the city frequently threatening action. But Clarke’s attorneys ultimately claimed that she lacked the funds to repair the sewer system and couldn’t get a loan for the process, leading to an impasse.

eastend1creditinsidenova-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Inside of the East End mobile home park. Credit: Inside Nova.

As Daily Business News readers are aware, delayed actions by some government agencies have caused issues at various places around the country, most recently in San Antonio, which we covered here.

Our system, for better or worse, is vulnerable to dragging things on because the state tries not to tread on people’s property rights,” said Manassas Vice Mayor Jonathan Way.

The City Takes “Action”

The city of Manassas worked out a deal to buy the property for an assessed value of $1.86 million and agreed to offer relocation assistance of up to $2,300 per household via its Department of Social Services.

jonthanwaycreditcityofmanassas-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Jonathan Way. Credit: City of Manassas.

This action may cause unintended consequences.

Vice Mayor Way wishes the city had never waded into the dispute in the first place. He voted against the move to buy the land in April, claiming it “rewarded bad behavior” by the property owner.

I don’t mean to be hard-hearted, but the city didn’t create the situation. The landowner created the situation,” Way said.

The city doesn’t have a legal responsibility to relocate people. We made a gratuitous gesture, it was kind of small, and if that were supposed to cover everything, it would nowhere near be adequate. But the city isn’t trying to cover everything. It’s trying to be a helper, not a bail-outer, and the residents, if they have recourse, it’s against the landowner.

The department is limiting the aid it offers based on each household’s monthly gross income. This is a stipulation that state Sen. Jeremy McPike, (D-29th District) believes will hurt many of the “working families” in the park who make just enough money to miss out on those funds.

jeremymcpikecredittwitter-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Jeremy McPike. Credit: Twitter.

This also is going to potentially wreck their credit scores, so this really is a double whammy; you lose a home, and you take a hit to your credit,” McPike said.

We want to make sure that they explore what these options look like…with the goal of providing some means and mechanism to secure their financial viability without having to declare bankruptcy.

The city of Manassas is concerned for the welfare of its residents,” said city officials in a fact sheet on the matter. “Allowing the property owner time to close the property and providing some assistance to renters is evidence of that concern.

Yorceli Reyes, who recently moved to the community, felt that the plan the city had to buy the property and force 58 families to move was not ideal.

residentaftereceivingnotciecreditcreditwapo-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

East End Resident at meeting. Credit: WAPO.

We plan to move to a home, in six years, five years, but for right now, this is a good place,” Reyes said. “There’s no crime, like in other neighborhoods. It just isn’t fair.

Another Option

Local advocates may provide residents the ability to stay or get additional financial relief.

While Senator McPike told InsideNova that it’s unclear just what form that assistance might take, Lee Carter, a Democrat running to represent the area in the House of Delegates’ 50th District, said he managed to connect the residents with an attorney to help them explore legal options.

jonthanfranciscreditlinkedin-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Jonathan Francis. Credit: LinkedIn.

Jonathan Francis of the Dumfries-based Smith Francis Law Group has agreed to examine the issue free of charge, and is working with people in the park to see who might be interested in his representation on a pro-bono basis.

CASA, a Latino advocacy group, is also working with residents to offer resources and draw attention to the situation.

This includes the possibility of a cooperative to buy the property.

casalogocreditcasa-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

CASA logo. Credit: CASA.

They’d be able to take ownership of where they live, and there’s a certain amount of pride and stability in that,” said Michelle LaRue, senior manager of CASA’s group’s health and human services programs. “And that’s the typical American dream, being able to own a little piece of property for your family.

Francis told InsideNova that if he were retained by any of the residents, he’d pursue action to reduce the rent they’re paying until they have to leave in February or even get some of their rent refunded. However, he said he doesn’t have the expertise to pursue a suit against the property owner or the city, and believes another attorney could step in for that process.

Thomas Simeone, an attorney specializing in personal injury and civil rights cases with the Washington, D.C.-based firm Simeone & Miller LLP, also believes that the residents may have a case to stay on Constitutional grounds.

thomassimeonecreditfirst-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Thomas Simeone. Credit: First.

You could argue that ‘the government is trying to use a private party to avoid paying ‘just compensation’ under the Fifth Amendment,” said Simeone.

This is something that a court may need to resolve, which is something that could generate a settlement. Both sides would likely prefer to pay the residents to move than to pay the costs of a multi-year court case. Plus, the government or owner still has to deal with and pay for maintenance of the property, including the sewage issues, pending resolution of the case.

The Daily Business News will continue to follow this story as it develops. ##

(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.

 

Sales Tax on Manufactured Homes Unchanged

October 22nd, 2013 Comments off

The Virginia Manufactured and Modular Housing Association (VAMMHA) reports to MHProNews that the Virginia Titling Tax increased on automobiles but remained at three percent on sales of manufactured homes. In Virginia, as in many states, manufactured homes continue to be classified under motor vehicle laws in a throw back to the days of factory-built homes on wheels that were licensed as vehicles. The sales tax on motor vehicles increased to four percent as of July 1, 2013.

(Tax table credit: VAMMHA)

Virginia County Prepares to Exit Housing Slump

December 28th, 2011 Comments off

Photo of Manufactured HomeFrom Virginia and the Tidewater News, MHProNews.com finds a tale about housing woes there. One builder quoted in the article says he went an entire year without a housing start. The article confirms, Southampton County experienced a 15-year low for new-home starts in 2011. To date 2011 had just 39 building permits compared to 164 in 2005. Of the 39 homes permitted in 2011, 22 were of stick construction or modular homes worth a total of $4.4 million. The average home cost $202,153. Another 16 permits were obtained for manufactured homes, what the article incorrectly refers to as single- and double-wide “trailers.” The average singlewide cost $14,140 and double-wide, $75,682. A rebound is expected next year.

(Photo Credit: Eric Miller)