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Government Officials Investigate “Mobile Home Evictions,” CBS News Video, Manufactured Housing Report, Analysis

January 24th, 2019 Comments off

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I hope the city of San Jose will opt to protect vulnerable mobilehome park residents from preemptive evictions and not submit to the devious and greedy manipulations of the park owner. I live in San Juan Capistrano and our strong supportive city council opted to protect their MH residents (on a different issue, but relating to abuses of MH residents by Park owners). SJC City Council is a strong example of doing what is right to protect their residents and to preserve affordable housing,” said Carol Brinkman.

 

The city of San Jose is closely monitoring mobile home evictions after complaints came from residents saying they are getting pushed out for minor infractions,” said KPIX 5 out of San Jose, California.

Last summer, Karen Carpenter reportedly received an eviction notice from the Winchester Ranch manufactured home community (MHC) where she has lived for six years. The reasons cited by management?

Minor clutter, some old paint cans and some weeds,” Carpenter said.

 

Carpenter told the CBS News affiliate that she was ill last summer and didn’t get outside to work during her first “seven day notice.” But she pointed out in the video report to KPIX 5 where those items were, in her back yard, masked from the street.

I just can’t believe that I’m going to be possibly evicted over some weeds and old paint cans,” said Carpenter.

The community manager’s did not comment for the CBS affiliate’s mainstream media (MSM) report. But it was noted that Winchester Ranch is in the process of redeveloping into a large apartment complex, which will have “nearly 700 units.”

To Carpenter, her eviction notice for a relatively minor infraction is not a coincidence.

They are going to be developing the park, and the first phase is right where I am sitting. That’s my only guess as to why they are singling me out,” she said.

Carpenter hired an attorney and is fighting eviction.  The issue is getting attention at San Jose City Hall. In December 2018, the Housing Commission reportedly wrote a memo to the mayor Sam Liccardo and City Council, warning of possible preemptive evictions for minor infractions at mobile home parks in San Jose.

The memo stated there could be attempts to avoid provisions of the city’s MHC conversion ordinance, “which guarantees mobile home residents extra time, monetary compensation and other benefits if a park converts to another use,” said KPIX 5.

Carpenter doesn’t have a mobile home, based upon the visual evidence, it is a manufactured home.  But doesn’t episodes like this feed into negative stereotypes that are arguably harming residents and most industry professionals alike, not just in San Jose, but nationally?

The city’s investigation memo noted that the land San Jose manufactured home communities are built on have “become so valuable that it creates an incentive for park owners to convert the property into other more profitable uses.”  This is among the reasons that the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has argued for a robust application of existing laws, such as enhanced preemption made law under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.

It is also why MHARR – an independent producers association – has encouraged the creation of new post-production associations, so that new structures can advocate for what the Manufactured Housing Institute and their allies apparently won’t.

 

City Officials Vows to Monitor, Investigate

We are going to monitor any housing issue that is brought to our attention,” said Rachel VanderVeen, Deputy Director of the San Jose Housing Department. Housing officials say they don’t have any active cases of abuse of the mobile home conversion ordinance at this time.

Manufactured home industry professionals should understand that just as associations and industry firms may share cross talk, so too do public officials. So an event in San Jose should not be considered as an isolated concern.

Meanwhile, Carpenter will have her day in court. “If I lose, I will have to move out within 5 days,” said Carpenter.  The CBS affiliate closed their report by saying, “She doesn’t have firm plans on where to go if that happens and she is afraid of becoming homeless.”  Is that the image of insecurity that will draw potentially millions of prospects to manufactured home communities and retail ceners?

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This episode may not represent the majority of the industry’s independent or corporate owners.  But just as the Millie Francis – Our Lady of Guadalupe art controversy is rocking ROCs, and communities – so too will this story and others like it have ripple effects that will impact not only those who spark the report, but also those who happen to share the same profession.  That’s MH “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” ## © (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.” ##

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

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Manufactured-home Community Surrounded by High-end Property

February 27th, 2014 Comments off

San Jose, California has the most manufactured-home communities in the state, 58 communities with nearly 11,000 homesites, according to mercurynews.com, and the owners of some in this Silicon Valley area will likely be tempted to convert their property to high-density, high-end housing. Of the 150 people who live in the 111 manufactured homes of Winchester Ranch, 106 are above 60 years of age, some in their 80’s and 90’s, who pay $833 to $1,000 monthly in rent. Barbara Cali, who co-founded the community with her late husband in 1976, lives here as well, and would like to remain, but the business affairs have fallen to the next generation, the Cali-Arioto Corp., and the community is surrounded by soaring land values.

Developer PulteGroup is a likely suitor for the property, and while the city’s conversion ordinance from 1986 provides for fair compensation to homeowners, 38 percent of the residents are at or below the federal poverty level. MHProNews.com has learned single-bedroom apartments in San Jose on average rent for $1,825 a month. Leslye Corsiglia, director of the city’s housing department, says, “It’s a hard situation. This is private property, but the community also has to balance the need for lower-income housing opportunities. It’s a challenge because Silicon Valley is just drastically underhoused. That’s why our rents are so high and why we have such traffic problems. And it’s only going to get worse.” ##

(Photo credit: Karl Mondon/Bay Area Media Group–Winchester Ranch, San Jose, Calif.)