Posts Tagged ‘justice’

Captive Finance Redux: Are you dealing with the Gestapo/NSA or Colonel Klink?

August 21st, 2013 No comments

I've been delighted with the self-financing articles and feedback you have gotten on the subject. I've never doubted self-finance can be done properly, but that said, I don't think most can or will do it properly. Instead I believed the industry would often take the course many are revealing in your discussions; non-compliance, "I'll take my chances."

Interesting, but hardly surprising.

As I've written in the past, the various recent lending laws, federal and state, will and are having a demonstrable effect on the industry, likely to put the finishing touches on what little remains of the industry, reducing it even further.

Does this mean total death? Oh, I doubt that. Remember companies still sell buggy whips, not many, but they are still sold. As long as the industry continues to put people in homes who are not good at putting themselves in homes, a segment will remain. As will homes going on to owned land by those who trotted down to their friendly Hometown Bank, sat with their hard working banker and earned a loan for a HUD going onto their land.

Not many homes you say? Well, yes I agree with that. But some will still sell. Captive Finance will do some, but risky, unprotected self-financing will sell most homes. Is it illegal to speed? Yes, if you get caught. Obviously the same holds true for non-compliant lending.

There are few if any reports of originators of non-compliant loans being called to the gallows, or of loans declared invalid, (big deal in an industry with innumerable invalid loans), but, and this is the big one, still few if any reports of fines and crowbar motel residency. I suspect until the crowbar alternative becomes far more common, as with your various admitters, non-compliance will grow and perhaps even prosper. This leaves open whether in 1935 Berlin, oops, 2013 America, the Gestapo/NSA is checking the papers, or like Sgt Schultz, will see nothing. So far, they see nothing.

I have no doubt many of these offensive laws were carefully crafted to include MH, which leaves the futility of trying to change these laws to not include us as somewhat pathetic, but as an industry we still seek the get-out-of-jail card, which is in the deck right beside Marvin Place. These are both hard to get, kiddes.

So's, we's takes our chances, the "buyer" gets his desired home, the retailer/park owner gets a down-payment, resident, a stream of income and everyone lives happily after, until "innocent buyer" defaults and Illegal Aid gets involved, and reports the non-compliance to the massive Inadequate Buyer Protective Society. Then, the soggy brown stuff could hit the fan with the strong arm of The Man going full force against TrailerBoy. Ouch!

Can or will that happen? Well, yes it can, but will it? My 40 year experience with destructive retailer fraud on buyers was that it was little noticed by the authorities, it had to be BIG.

It remains to be seen whether we now will be dealing with Col. Klink or Buford T. Justice on non-compliance with this panoply of laws. For the sake of the MH self-admitted "misdirected," lets hope Klinky is still doing reruns and too busy to notice the industry's escape attempts.

But if it turns out these Alphabet Laws are actually enforced by Henrich Himmler's heirs, I'm not sure it is wise to be "non-compliant." Sometimes you have to admit the cards dealt are a very bad hand. It seems that way for MH and the spate of new lending laws.

I know one park owner who simply rents the home to the buyer for three years or until early default, which ever comes first. Once the buyer demonstrates a pattern of payments, he conveys the home, takes a promissory note not secured by the home, and hasn't found a big difference over his past experience with home sale with mortgage, etc. But he sleeps well knowing he might get his azz rumpled by the  borrower in this process, (so what is new?) but says at least at night he can sleep without the overhang of Att'y Gen Eric Holder visiting him for non-compliance.

Holder can bring those Philly Bad Guys from the voting place with their iron pipes to assure compliance. There is a true, Ouch! ##

marty-lavin-posted-on-mhpronews(2).jpgMARTIN V. (Marty) LAVIN
attorney, consultant & expert witness
Practice only in factory built housing
350 Main Street  Suite 100
BURLINGTON, VT 05401-3413
802-238-7777 cell  802-660-8888 office
Forget what people are saying, especially politicians. Instead, watch what is happening.” – Marty Lavin


Editor's Note: Marty's column is in response to these keenly read, linked articles:

Publisher Tony Kovach will plan a comment on this topic on the Masthead blog, to be published later on 8.21.2013

Study Suggests Cities and Towns Should Accept New Manufactured Housing Communities

September 1st, 2010 No comments

William P. McCarty is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Justice at the University of Illinois-Chicago. His recent study took a look at crime in mobile and manufactured home communities. The findings: there is no significant difference between the rates of crime in manufactured home communities relative to other residential areas. The study concluded that cities and other municipalities should not be so reticent to allow the creation or expansion of manufactured home communities, and indeed suggests that communities have a vested interest in providing housing options for its citizens. The evidence in the study suggests that local regulators should seek to make sure that the permitting system is disposed towards allowing greater placement of manufactured home communities.

In an exclusive interview with Reporter Eric Miller, McCarty offers some additional insights into crime and mobile home communities.

(Editor’s Note: Prof. McCarty uses the phrase “mobile home park” generically, although the Industry uses this phrase to differentiate homes built before the HUD Code of June 15, 1975, from “manufactured home community,” those built after that date.)

1. Why did you decide to take a look at crime in manufactured home communities?

I have always been interested in how the presence of certain types of businesses or other developments can affect crime. This type of approach has been taken through examinations of public housing structures, bars, and schools, for example, but it had never been done with mobile home communities. I became interested in mobile home communities due to the persistent stigma against this type of neighborhood. Even though the perception existed that these places were bad, I could not find a study that actually used solid data and methodology to test those negative assertions. Mobile home communities are also interesting from a criminological theory standpoint because they have historically been characterized by a lower-income and mobile population, two factors that often result in more crime. Conversely, they have historically been characterized by a homogeneous group of residents, which is a factor that often results in less crime. Factor in all of these interesting issues and I was excited to test the amount of crime in mobile home communities.

2. Can you tell me about the homes and communities you looked at?

There is a fairly diverse spectrum of mobile home communities in Omaha, NE. In total, there were 15 communities that covered 32 street blocks in the year 2000, which was when the data were collected. Some of those communities have many rental units, while those at the other end of the spectrum follow the estate model with owned units and land. In other words, they range from fairly dilapidated and poor conditions to very aesthetically pleasing and moderately affluent conditions. Nowadays, a couple of those communities have been torn down or abandoned.

3. Do you know anyone who lives in a manufactured home?

I do. I actually conducted interviews with a small sample of mobile home residents (approximately 20) in 2008. I have another manuscript currently under review that discusses the results from those interviews.

4. You mention that manufactured homes are often placed in blighted areas. Perhaps then it is remarkable the crime rate is on par with other communities.

There are two ways (if not others) to interpret this finding. On one hand, some theorists would agree with your conclusion, given the poor conditions where these communities are often placed. The broken windows perspective, for example, would posit that these dilapidated surroundings would be related to higher rates of crime. Other theorists may still find these rates higher than expected, due to the fact that there is a smaller concentration of people, businesses, traffic, etc., in these areas. In other words, one could argue that there are not a lot of readily available or apparent opportunities for crime in mobile home communities, when, for example, compared to a downtown block with bars, people walking around, businesses etc.

5. Do you think Omaha is a good representation of manufactured home communities elsewhere?

This is a very good question. The City of Omaha has demographics (e.g., income, racial composition) that closely mirror those of the United States. So, Omaha is often viewed as a good representation of the entire country in terms of its demographics. In terms of its mobile home communities, I would not be so certain that it is an excellent representation. My reasoning is that roughly 75% of mobile home communities are in rural areas (and you may have a better estimate of this than I do). The communities that I studied were of course located within the city. One aspect of this study I feel pretty confident about is that the mobile home communities in Omaha were diverse, from the more dilapidated looking parks all the way to the affluent ones and other parks in between. In other words, the average crime frequencies, etc., are somewhere between the extremes, which is what you want.

6. From my experience, manufactured home communities are more dense than many suburbs, often have porches or decks facing the street and so tend to be more neighborly and social. Does that design/architecture impact crime? Could there a kind of Jane Jacobs “eyes on the street” affect at work even here?

Good question. In Omaha, the design of the communities varied. Some of the communities had the decks and other outdoor space that you describe. Other communities did not have such amenities. Generally speaking, guardianship (in the Jacobs mold as you describe) can result in less crime. The variable, however, is how well the residents know one another. If residents know one another, those decks are great. John Doe is sitting on his deck and sees someone who is foraging around an adjacent unit. If he knows his neighbor well, he may realize that person does not belong. His suspicions would be aroused and he may call the police, alert the manager, or say something himself. Conversely, if John does not know his neighbors, he may be clueless about whether that person is up to trouble or is a relative of that person living there. Simply put, manufactured housing communities with a constantly changing population make it more difficult for effective informal social control (or guardianship) to take place. On the other hand, manufactured housing communities that are more stable allow residents to know and recognize one another, which make it easier for them to detect if something is amiss or suspicious.

7. In your opinion, does owning land have impact on the crime rate? On social mobility?

Without a doubt. Numerous studies in criminology have illustrated the importance of home and land ownership for helping decrease the rate of crime. People have a greater stake in their communities when they own something. If the community begins to erode or crime begins to increase, those residents are affected not only in the quality of their lives, but also their home and land value. This study illustrated the same thing in terms of mobile home communities. As the percentage of home ownership increased, the average rate of crime decreased. This finding held for all types of blocks.

In terms of social mobility, the result is the same. Owning an asset helps people move up the social ladder, if they desire. A smaller manufactured home can be sold to pay for a larger one. A manufactured home can be sold to have enough money for a down payment on a site built house, if someone desires. While this study did not test or explore social mobility, this logic has held in numerous other studies.

8. Did you look at any age-restricted communities? If so, what did you find? If not, what would you expect to find?

To the best of my knowledge, none of the communities studied were age restricted in 2000. Given prior research, elderly residents are, of course, less likely to participate or be victimized by crime. As a result, I would expect older communities to have less crime.

9. Does the density of a manufactured home community have any impact on safety?

I am unsure what you mean by safety. Population density is another variable that significantly affects crime. The issue of density seemed to be important in my study as well. When you compare the average raw frequencies of crime in mobile home communities to other types of neighborhoods, mobile home communities come out higher. In other words, mobile home communities, on average, had more crimes reported to police than other types of blocks. When you calculate a RATE of crime (frequency of crime divided by population), however, these differences go away. This suggests that mobile home communities experience higher frequencies of crime because they have more people concentrated in an area.

10. Did you discover anything that may not be related to the research, that you found interesting?

As I mentioned, I have another article under review that discusses the results of the interviews with residents, owners, and managers of mobile home communities in Omaha. One of the key themes seemed to be on-site management. This made a tremendous amount of difference in the quality of life in a mobile home community. I interviewed people from 6 of the 15 communities and I was amazed by how much the parks varied. On the low end, you had problems with fear of crime, gangs, etc. On the high end, you had residents who adored each other, helped each other out, and communicated well with the management structure. Another issue that I found interesting was that some communities have a growing number of minority residents, which has created some problems.

I enjoy studying life and crime in mobile home communities. I have a few additional studies planned. I want to stress that I have no agenda. I really enjoyed working with and talking to residents, owners, and managers. All types of communities have problems and issues and I want my research to help inform people and policy makers about how to make life better in these developments. The reason why I enjoy studying mobile homes is because I am fascinated by that whole “trailer trash” stereotype. I dislike when stereotypes are considered fact. I am a researcher. I like to test various ideas by using actual data and sound methodology.

William P. McCarty is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Justice at the University of Illinois-Chicago is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Justice at the University of Illinois-Chicago. He received his Ph.D. in criminal justice from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2008. His research interests include neighborhoods and crime, correctional staff and management, policing, and quantitative research methods.

by Industry in Focus Reporter Eric Miller for Industry Voices