Today, U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03), a member of the House Financial Services Committee and subcommittee on Housing, requested answers regarding significant rent spikes at five manufactured housing communities (MHCs), or mobile home communities, in Iowa. In a letter sent to Havenpark Capital, a Utah-based investment firm which recently purchased these five MHCs, including Midwest Country Estates in Waukee, Rep. Axne asked for information regarding the company’s intentions to raise rents by as much as 70% on seniors, families and hardworking Iowans living in these communities.
Earlier today, Rep. Axne invited U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking & Housing Committee, to join her in visiting local residents at Midwest Country Estates to hear about the financial hardship facing members of this MHC following recent rent spikes, as well as the lack of maintenance by the property owners. As the Ranking Member of the Senate Banking and Housing Committee, Senator Brown has been a champion of affordable housing for lower-income renters and homeowners.
“A rent increase of nearly 70 percent would be devastating to anyone, particularly seniors and fixed-income Iowans living at these manufactured housing communities,”said Rep. Axne. “If these rent increases go into effect, Iowans will lose their homes. I am demanding answers about how Havenpark Capital justifies such dramatic increases. I’d like to thank Senator Brown for joining me in Waukee today and look forward to working with him back in Congress to make housing more affordable for all Iowans and Americans, and to hold bad housing actors accountable.”
“Home is essential. It’s the center of your life. It’s not the place to juice returns for multi-billion dollar companies. Especially not when we have an affordable housing crisis in this country. One in four renters spend more than half their income on housing,” said Sen. Brown.
Havenpark Capital, which has received an “F” grade from the Better Business Bureau, began purchasing MHCs in Iowa last October. The investment firm has announced intentions to raise rents as much as 70% on Iowa families. Rep. Axne plans to hold the company accountable to working with the community to raise rents in a sustainable, commonsense way, as opposed to increasing their bottom line at the expense of seniors, families and hardworking Iowans.
The text of the letter is available here.