Iowa Senate Democrats: Iowa law needs to protect mobile home park residents

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From Iowa Senate Democrats:

Recent news of an out-of-state corporation buying manufactured housing communities in Iowa and dramatically raising lot rents has brought to light a disheartening reality: Residents of these parks have few rights and are often at the mercy of park management.

That’s why Senate Democrats support giving manufactured homeowners greater protections.

Many residents own their manufactured homes but rent the ground it sits on. Stories abound of new owners systematically increasing lot rents. In Waukee, for example, Midwest Country Estates lot rents are being raised by around 69%. That’s an unconscionable increase that leaves many—low-income Iowans, seniors on fixed incomes, Iowans with disabilities—with no options.

Havenpark Capital owns the Waukee park, as well as parks in North Liberty, Iowa City, West Branch and Indianola, according to the company’s website.

Though they’re often called “mobile homes,” many manufactured houses are almost impossible to move once they’re placed on a lot. It’s prohibitively expensive for most owners and can damage the home.

Many residents of manufactured housing communities buy their homes believing it’s a good investment, but that is often not the case. Like cars, their value goes down as soon as they are purchased.

There’s nothing to stop a landowner from raising the rent, and if residents can no longer afford it, they’re forced to leave the manufactured housing community. In addition, a manufactured housing community owner in Iowa doesn’t need a reason to evict a resident. Upon 60 days’ notice a resident can be required to vacate the property. If the homeowner is unable to quickly sell their manufactured home, it will likely go to the park owner through abandonment proceedings.

To learn more, check out this report on how private equity firms are manufacturing homelessness.


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