Posts Tagged ‘Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association’

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 in Manufactured Home Communities Inhibits New Development

April 5th, 2016 Comments off

Sheila_Dey__publicceo__credit__exec_Dir_of_western_mhcaAs Sheila Dey, Executive Director of the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association (WMHCA), writes in publicceo, rent control is not the solution to the affordable housing crisis now gripping the state. Comparing a doctor trying to fix a broken leg by applying a band-aid, she said, “Government imposed regulations and fees are leading contributors to why California is the most expensive place to live in the U.S., placing homeownership out of reach for many middle-class Californians.”

Noting that rent control has never expanded nor preserved affordable housing, manufactured home communities (MHCs) have become a favorite target, “as if private property owners are responsible for the housing crisis.” Instead, since MH is 30 percent less costly than site-built homes, government should focus on incentivizing the building of more MHCs.

MHCs offer all the good attributes of traditional neighborhoods: social interaction and the security of close neighbors, open space and proximity to necessary goods and services. Not all MHC residents are poor and in need of financial assistance.

MHCs operate like small villages or cities: instead of collecting taxes, community owners collect rents to pay for upkeep on roads, landscaping, lighting, utility lines and other essential services. Some communities have clubhouses, fitness and exercise facilities and swimming pools, all requiring maintenance.

She said, “When the government imposes a rent control ordinance that reduces or freezes rents at below market rates, it threatens a community’s quality of life. Just like cities, when revenue does not exceed expenses, essential services are reduced or eliminated altogether, and as the maintenance of neighborhoods decline, so do property values as blight takes root.”

Community owners who are under rent control may have to personally subsidize residents if the rents are not sufficient to provide sustainability, in which case they may be forced to sell their property, which in turn may force residents to leave.

This can also undercut the financial incentive for owners to expand or build new MHCs, which further limits the availability of affordability housing. Said Dey, “This is why state and local government regulators should abandon the current course of driving up the cost of housing with costly, unneeded regulations, only to hastily impose price controls that don’t work once homeownership becomes unattainable. It is time for real and meaningful solutions. Making housing construction less expensive and more plentiful so that the savings can be passed on to all prospective homeowners is a good place to start.” ##

(Photo credit: publicceo-Sheila Dey)

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)

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City Prevents Senior MHCs from Converting to All Age Communities

January 27th, 2016 Comments off

Calif__sierra_mobile_home_park_santa_clarita__mhphoa__creditIn an attempt to maintain affordable housing for seniors, the Santa Clarita (Calif.) City Council voted to prevent senior-only manufactured home communities (MHCs) from converting to all-age communities. Council members unanimously approved an “urgency ordinance” that establishes a 45-day moratorium on such conversions, according to signalscv, while city officials continue to study the matter.

We have never had enough senior housing in this valley, and of course it’s important to preserve what we have because it’s a very finite amount,” said Councilwoman Laurene Weste. Of the city’s 16 MHCs, four are dedicated to seniors, comprising 524 home sites, about a quarter of all home sites in Santa Clarita.

Jarryd Gonzales, of the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association (WMHCA), said the association was opposed to the ordinance.

We believe a mobile home community owner has a right to determine whether they will operate a 55-and-older community or an all-ages community,” Gonzales said. “Both types of communities provide affordable housing opportunities for scores of current and prospective homeowners and should not be officially favored one way or another,” he added.

A resident of Sierra Mobile Home Park in Canyon Country, just north of Santa Clarita, Carol Fish said ownership of her community has sent word that it intends to convert Sierra from senior-only to all age.

It’s giving us a glimmer of hope that someone is listening to us and taking us seriously,” she said of the council’s vote. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the people, so I appreciate that.”

The “urgency ordinance” takes effect immediately. Santa Clarita is just north of Los Angeles.

MHProNews last reported on Santa Clarita June 22, 2015 that the city council is considering revisions to the ordinance that governs rent increases in MHCs. ##

(Photo credit: MHPHOA/googleearth–Sierra Mobile Home Park)

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Cost of Extensive Utility Upgrades to MHCs will be Borne by all Ratepayers

January 15th, 2016 Comments off

mfg homes  nbcsandiego creditEight investor-owned utilities in Southern California participating in a program to upgrade old and defective gas pipelines and electric power lines in manufactured homes will pass on the costs to their ratepayers to cover the program. Many of the systems have not been upgraded in decades.

Part of the impetus for the upgrades was the 2010 gas line explosion in the San Bruno suburb of the Bay Area that killed eight, injured 58 and caused extensive damage, according to eastcountymagazine. The three-year pilot program that began last year is to proactively address potential safety problems, as MHProNews has leaned..

The utility companies have been working with the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association (WMHCA) and the state to determine a method for replacing the utility lines without passing the cost on to either the residents in manufactured home communities (MHCs) or the owners of the communities.

The result was to replace the master meter arrangement with a network that delivers power directly to each individual MH. The master meter method allowed community owners to buy power at wholesale rates and charge residents retail, with the profit going to maintain and upgrade the utility systems as needed. However, many community owners pocketed the “profit” and did not make the necessary upgrades.

The program’s goal was to convert ten percent of the MH in seven of the utility providers. As for San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) chose 32 MHCs for the upgrades. Among the criteria for choosing the communities was the age of the gas systems, the material of the pipes and the size of the systems.

Shirley Watkins, owner of Shady Lane Trailer Park in El Cajon which was switched over to direct power last week, said previously if residents were watching TV or running their air conditioner and they turned on the microwave, a fuse would blow. On occasion it would knock out power to entire sections of the MHC.

Additionally, the upgrades removed overhead power lines and added five new overhead security lights that improves visibility and safety for the residents, who were told the improvements would not substantially increase their utility bills.

Because many of the residents are on fixed incomes in Shady Lane, Watkins says, they are also eligible for energy efficient appliances through SDG&E.

A consultant to the MH industry, Jerry Fisher estimates the costs to upgrade gas and electric lines are about $30,000 per home site. However, he adds if all four lines running to a home have to be replaced the cost could be closer to $60,000 per each.

Although no one has nailed down what the final costs will be, SDG&E says estimates range “from one-fifth of a penny to 6.3 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity, and from two-fifths of a penny per therm of natural gas” for all customers of the utility. ##

(Photo credit:nbcsandiego–manufactured home community)

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Residents React to New rules for Manufactured Home Community

October 22nd, 2015 Comments off

calif__the_grove_mhc_modesto_mhvillage__creditIntense sparring erupted at a meeting between residents of The Grove Manufactured Home Community and the MHC owner, Todd Green, of Hillsboro Properties, over new rules for the community, located in Modesto, California. to take effect May, 2016.

Several residents said some of the rules are vague and open the door to discrimination, as modbee tells MHProNews. Green said the meeting was to inform residents of the rules, which he said have not been upgraded in 15 years, not to make revisions or receive input, which prompted one man to shout his time was being wasted and he walked out.

Prohibitions include: “Frequent late night and/or early morning social or business gatherings at your space”; frequent, short visits, “frequent open consumption of intoxicants” at homes; and “the uttering of profanity outside the home … loud enough to be audible to persons passing by.” The rules also include trash bin placement and what kind of furniture is allowed in driveways; smoking is only allowed in the home, not outside.

One resident said he would have a hard time selling his house because of the rules, and another fellow wants to move. Green countered that other communities have similar rules and regulations, and responding to the question of the definition of “frequent,” said enough times that could be called excessive.

Catherine Borg, legislative advocate with Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association, understands the reasoning behind the vague regulation, noting MHCs use the wording to address drug dealing: If you were a drug person, you’d have more frequent, short visits to your home,” she said. “It seems doubtful they’re trying to get people for having wine.

Several residents support the new regulations. Alan Coon said, “those who do not like the rules are just a couple of people nitpicking nothing,” Alan Coon said. “If you look at all the parks in the area, we have to be one of the cleanest.

However, an attorney with the Senior Law Project stated some of the regulations bring up constitutional issues, like the rules about smoking and drinking. Mark Galvan, senior case manager with the Stanislaus County Mediation Center, said the vague use of the word “frequent” is troubling, but the worst phrase he found was, “the manner and method of enforcement lies solely within the discretion of the management.”

When asked what would be the punishment for violations, Green said “We’ll deal with it fairly, sensitively … We’re not looking to evict anyone over smoking.” ##

(Photo credit: MHVillage–The Grove manufactured home community)

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State Law Eases Manufactured Home Disposal

October 9th, 2015 Comments off

western_manufactured_housing_communities_association__wmaThe Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association (WMA) has notified MHProNews of a new California law that allows community owners to demolish abandoned MH as well as those acquired via a warehouse lien, a bill supported by the WMA. A warehouse lien is a charge for storage and preservation.

The law also states the communities will be held liable for any past due taxes or fees. Communities must remove all appliances, bathtubs, ovens, stoves, and HVAC systems before having them disposed of. Pictures must be taken to prove the MH was uninhabitable, and contents listed. The new law only applies to MH located in MHCs. ##

(Image credit: Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association)

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

Manufactured Home Community Owners, Residents at Odds over Infrastructure Repairs

August 17th, 2015 Comments off

mfg homes  nbcsandiego creditWith only five months before a 20 year-old agreement stabilizing manufactured home community (MHC) rents expires in Vista, California, talks between residents and community owners have reached a stalemate. During talks that began in April, owners insisted residents pay for updating infrastructure in the aging communities, according to sandiegouniontribune.

Most of the 758 residents of the eight communities in Vista, which is just north of San Diego, are seniors on fixed incomes, and 200 of them attended a recent city council meeting asking the city to take their side. MHProNews understands residents participate in the talks but only the city and the MHC owners sign the accord.

MHC resident Steve Harvey says the residents have offered to split the infrastructure costs 50/50 but the MHC owners ejected that plan. Julie Paule, with the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association, said, “We are committed to finding common ground with the residents that both parties can live with, that keeps the parks sustainable, and the communities remain affordable housing for the residents.

An additional point of contention is how much rent should increase when a manufactured home is sold. Under the current accord, it does not increase; a proposal would see it increase $125 over three years, but residents are concerned a large rise would devalue their homes.

Twenty years ago during a bitter fight the city threatened a rent control ordinance if an accord was not reached. This year, the city is acting as a facilitator in hopes of attaining harmony on both sides.

City Councilwoman Amanda Rigby said the issue is “a very tight balancing act between the rights of the residents and the rights of the park owners, which makes it a very difficult situation. If we could get everybody in the same room at the same time, maybe we could come up with something.##

(Photo credit: nbcsandiego–manufactured homes in California)

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Enriched Mobile Homes to be Taxed as Personal Property

April 23rd, 2015 Comments off

malibu_mobile_home__realestateandhomes__1_and_one_half_millionA measure which unanimously passed a California state Senate committee would reclassify mobile homes that have added foundations along Malibu’s tony seaside community as personal property, not vehicles, since they are now luxurious homes. In some cases, residents have purchased adjacent lots, and added architectural details, plus the foundations, disguising their origins.

These homes, high on the bluffs above the ocean, can bring up to $4 million, plus site rental of around $2,000 per month. As Reuters informs MHProNews, a recent online ad for a home in Point Dume Club is for a 1,700 square foot “architecturally perfect” home for $1,095,000.

Los Angeles County Tax Assessor Jeffrey Prang, who visited the communities recently, says construction is continuing. You’ll see a foundation with wood struts and in the middle you would see these black beams. You’d never know what they are to look at them, but they have these little metal identification plates that show the mobile home’s manufacturer,” notes Prang.

Sheila Dey, spokeswoman for the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association, says, These trailers that were in Paradise Cove 60 years ago are still on the Vehicle License Fee. We feel they should have to pay property tax like everybody else.” The measure would only apply to new construction. ##

(Photo credit: realestateandhomes–Malibu CA $1.5 million mobile home)

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