Archive for June, 2021

JUST LIKE SHOOTING FISH IN A BARREL

Thursday, June 24th, 2021

Blog Posting # 644 @ 25 June 2021: EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog and or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: gfa7156@aol.com & visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!; Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. #1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: OK, ‘hang onto your hats’, so to speak. We lead off with a continuation of last week’s semi-expose’ of predatory property management practices; this week we take it a step further. And parts II & III contain timely and important networking opportunities for all! GFA

I.

JUST LIKE SHOOTING FISH IN A BARREL

The Sorry State of Landlord -Tenant Relations in Some Land Lease Communities Today

A 2021 update to the year 2000 expose’, ‘UPSIDE DOWN IN A MOBILE HOME PARK!’

You last read of the ‘young couple George & Carolyn, buying their first home’ in year 2000 – that’s 21 years ago! Remember? They were “…both employed, no children or pets, and (owned) two older cars. And there was H. ‘Itch’ Balle, the retail sales center salesman/manager.” What caught this young couple’s attention was the L(.)(.)K-headlined advertising for new manufactured homes ‘for sale’, featuring a $4,000 move-in incentive offer!”

To make this long story shorter here, George & Carolyn wound up buying an $80,000 multisection HUD-Code home, already sited but not landscaped. And the $4,000 incentive covered all but $500 of their deposit, with the balance used to landscape their rental homesite. Financing was a steal! Mr. Balle got them ‘10% over 30 years’ terms, with a variable rate of 9% over 30 years, reducing their monthly loan payment from $733.13 to $672.12/month. Oh, and $285/month site rent was waived for first year – a welcome windfall of $3,420 in that 12 month period.

Yes, that’s how things were back in year 2000. And all was OK until the variable rate mortgage jumped payment to $800/month, plus $300/month site rent (at end of grace period and including a rent increase). Bottom line? George & Carolyn were now in a ‘family way’, with a new car loan payments, and clearly ‘upside down in their mobile home park’ (i.e. old outgo of $672.23/month vs. new out go of $1,100/month).

Somehow George & Carolyn survived – barely. And today, 21 years later, the kids gone, and recently retired, they still live in their not-yet-paid-off $80,000 manufactured home.

Now comes the ‘just like shooting fish in a barrel’ metaphor! But first; to set the scene.

Up until six months ago, George & Carolyn’s monthly site rent had been $400/month (i.e. up from $300/month in year 2000, or an average increase of $9.00 per year). However, a new land lease community portfolio firm acquired the property six months ago and immediately raised the monthly rental homesite rate from $300 to $365/month. Not only that, previously master-metered water was now individually metered, introducing a new monthly expense of between $20 & $40. And a couple months later, an $18/month trash fee was added, besides an $8.00/month admin fee/school tax. So, all told, George & Carolyn’s monthly payment to the property owner, in six or so short months, jumped from $300/month to at least $411/month, or an annual increase of $1,332 for rent, water, trash and admin/school tax charges.*1

Next; what it’s like to be a captive audience, the proverbial fish swimming around in a barrel.

George & Carolyn are within nine years of paying off their 2000 model multisection manufactured home, sited in a land lease community they’ve called ‘home’ these past 11 or so years. And now that they’re retired, their set income, from social security and maybe a small pension or two, only stretches so far. How can they make up this $1,332 annual increase in their housing expense (not including PITI for the home proper)? They can’t unless they ‘unretired’ to get a job! And moving their home elsewhere is little more than wishful thinking. Why? To move a multisection (which one should never dissemble even under good conditions…as the two sides rarely remate as weatherproof as the initial installation) manufactured home, just across town, costs $5,000 – 10,000 to ready the home for transport, transport it, and reassemble it at the new location – If a new location (i.e. land lease community) can be found that will accept a 21 year old home.

Consequence? Deal with the consequences the best way one can do so.

How to maybe ameliorate these serious personal financial challenges in the future? That’s hard to say. But if, way back when, the new manufactured home is purchased and land lease community selected, one used the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet to ‘estimate maximum recommended ‘affordable’ & ‘risky’ purchase prices for new & resale, privately-owned homes of any type…on leased land’, one would buy what one can truly afford, based on a 30 percent Housing Expense Factor and other factors. For a FREE copy of this very handy formula worksheet (i.e. based on Area Median Income or Annual Gross Incomes of $36,000 and $51,229), email your request to gfa7156@aol.com Be sure to include a postal mailing address.

Have no doubt about this. We are living and working, during year 2021, in the hottest land lease community sales market ever; and at the same time, seeing homeowners/site lessees, in some – if not increasing, instances, suffering from one or another type and degree of predatory property management. So, take this message to heart, and ask yourself: ‘Am I guilty of any or all these practices?’ If not – Great! If so, however, correct course now before it’s too late to save our real estate asset class from unwanted landlord-tenant legislation at state and or national levels.

End Note.

1. The dollar figures cited here are based on information published in MHAction’s DISPLACEMENT, INC. report.

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

II.

INDIANA GOVERNOR TO KEYNOTE RV/MH HALL OF FAME BANQUET

Just learned today, 22 June, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb will be a special speaker at this year’s induction ceremony, 16 August 2021, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. Sure hope I get to see you there! 20 of our manufactured housing & land lease community colleagues will be inducted into the Hall of Fame that evening. For more information and to purchase tickets, phone (574)293-3455. This is a remarkable opportunity to showcase our industry to the highest public officer in the state of Indiana, and honor friends in the business!

III.

FINAL NETWORKING ROUNDTABLE & RETIREMENT CELEBRATION

Now is time to register for this unique ‘once in a lifetime’ event! Once in a lifetime? Have you ever been invited to a national interpersonal networking opportunity including retirees you’ll not likely get to see again in this lifetime? Visit www.educatemhc.com See you in Nashville, TN., on 20 August 2021!

***

AN HISTORIC DISPLACEMENT

Friday, June 18th, 2021

Blog Posting # 643 @ 18 June 2021: EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog and/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: gfa7156@aaol.com & visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: Not what I planned to talk about today. But when MHAction’s DISPLACEMENT, INC. report hit my desk, and I read through it twice, I knew the core issue of landlord-tenant relations had to be taken public ASAP for all of you to know.

A REQUEST. If you’re reading this blog and are involved, or have recently been involved, in developing raw land into a new land lease community, please contact me via gfa7156@aol.com

I.

AN HISTORIC DISPLACEMENT

As you read the following subtitle to MHAction’s 34 pages DISPLACEMENT, INC., report, keep in mind this is the first time in manufactured housing and land lease community history, where and when LANDLORD-TENANT ISSUES have taken center stage on the national publicity scene:

‘How Havenpark Capital and Enterprise Community Partners are eroding affordable housing and how residents are fighting back.’ Subtitle to MHAction’s DISPLACEMENT, INC. report.

What follows here are select, out of context quotations from the subject report. Read and ponder them. Then, from your own perspective, whether a land lease community owner or operator, take steps to ensure you don’t implement predatory property management practices within your property or properties,. And talk to MHI’s National Communities Council division about how you can help ameliorate and mitigate these troublesome issues going forward.

“MHAction hears from residents daily about displacement due to rent and fee increases, health issues caused by community neglect, and stress-inducing harassment.” (p.4)

“Their goal is not to make homes and communities more stable, accessible, or affordable. Their goal is to extract easy profit from low-income residents.” (p.7)

“Havenpark has dramatically increased lot rent (the rent residents pay for the land beneath their homes) and other fees, has invested minimally in community maintenance, and has adopted arbitrary and punitive rules.” (p.7)

”Residents are calling on Havenpark, Enterprise Community Partners, state and federal elected officials, the Federal Housing finance Agency (‘FHFA’), and (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to all take action to:

• Keep our homes affordable with gradual, justified rent and fee increases and COVD-related rent relief

• Keep us in our homes with good cause eviction requirements and COVID eviction protections

• Make our communities safe and healthy with community maintenance

• Treat residents decently and fairly

• Save our communities from predatory investors by supporting community ownership by residents, mission-driven nonprofits, and public entities.” (p.8)

“Havenpark and Enterprise Community Partners have claimed that Havenpark’s purchase of manufactured home communities is a strategy to preserve them as affordable housing.” (p.11)

“…Pine Ridge Mobile Homes in Linden, Michigan reports (sic) Havenpark raised the rent from $384 to $420 when they bought…community in 2019, and (sic) added an $18 trash fee, $5 admin fee, $3 school tax, and new water charges through separate meters that cost around $40-$50/month.” (p.12)

“Havenpark claims (sic) the large rent and fee increases are justified by significant investments in community improvements.” However, “Residents report (sic), despite promises of big improvements they have only seen regular maintenance or surface changes by Havenpark, such as repaved roads, landscaping, emergency repairs, and swing sets.” (p.15)

“Residents reported that, rather than investing in community infrastructure, Havenpark has focused on bringing in new homes (sic) they can sell or rent at a higher price.” (p.17)

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac…have provided billions of dollars in GSE-backed multifamily loans for manufactured home community portfolio acquisitions, like the Havenpark ($100 million) purchases financed through Bellwether Enterprise, which have made manufactured home communities unaffordable for long-time residents.” (p.28) As related asides, word of this became known to the GSEs during their Listening Session in St. Louis, MO., during late 2019. Since then the FHFA & GSEs have instituted Tenant Site Lease Protections. And, “In November 2020, the FHFA announced new requirements on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s manufactured home community lending, requiring (sic) half of GSE-backed multifamily loans go to affordable housing and (sic), to be considered affordable, manufactured home communities must be resident-owned cooperatives, be non-profit-owned, or commit to the FHAFs’ Tenant Site Lease Protections.” (p.28)

In conclusion, “Residents of Havenpark-owned communities are…calling on decision-makers to stand up to predatory investors and help protect families and seniors who are being pushed out of their homes and communities.” Via

• “Keep Our Home Affordable

• Keep Us In Our Homes

• Make Our Communities Safe and Healthy

• Treat Residents Decently and Fairly

• Save Our Communities From Predatory Investors” (pp.29-31)

Each of these five bullet points are accompanied by three targeted, involved groups: Enterprise Community Partners and Havenpark; State Policymakers; and, Federal policymakers, FHFA, and the GSEs.

So there you have it; how and why the land lease community real estate asset class, as a whole, has been dragged onto the negative national publicity scene, by a small bevy of portfolio ‘players’ (Havenpark is not the only firm named), a national affordable housing advocate, and a financing subsidiary. This is not the national publicity manufactured housing and communities need at this time. In my opinion, it’s time for our national elected and salaried trade entity and advocacy leaders to step forward and address these landlord-tenant issues in our behalf!

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

What It’s Like to Leave…

Friday, June 11th, 2021

Blog Posting # 642 @ 11 June 2021: EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog and/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: gfa7156@aol.com & visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal: To promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: In case you haven’t yet heard, I’m easing towards retirement come the end of year 2021. I’m already semi-retired, having sold off our last land lease community to our daughter and her business partner; and now they handle the publication of our 30+ year newsletter, a dozen resource documents, and books. Bottom line, so to speak? The final Networking Roundtable and Retirement Celebration combined event is scheduled for 12 August 2021 at the downtown Hilton Hotel in Nashville, TN. Invitations will soon be in the mail, but since this somewhat unusual event is open to all my friends and associates in manufactured housing and owning/operating land lease communities, visit www.educatemhc.com for details and registration information. It appears the 12 August event will be the first face-to-face interpersonal networking and educational event for our industry and realty asset class in 1 ½ years! Program? Soon to be announced, but has 100% to do with the most significant and positive emerging trend affecting all of us today! Even if I wasn’t hosting this event, along with Susan McCarty, MHM, and Erin Smith, MHM, I’d make it a high priority to attend.

I.

What It’s Like to Leave…

‘The way I see it, I’m giving up a good thing – my business career, to pursue something even better – opportunities to write what I’ve wanted to for years, and relax while I’m doing so.’ GFA

Five times I’ve left jobs during the past 40 plus years, but this time has been different.

When rotating out of Vietnam, headed home to the land of the ‘big PX’ (i.e. post exchange or mall stores), I said ‘Good-bye’ to no one. While I was company commander, with responsibility for more than 100 Marines, they were all assigned out as helicopter support teams, to USMC ‘grunt’ (i.e. infantry) units scattered throughout I-Corps (i.e. northernmost Vietnam along the DMZ to the north and Ho Chi Minh trail and Laos to the west). I simply packed my gear, climbed aboard a transport chopper, and headed for Da Nang; then, by plane, to Okinawa and on home.

My first civilian job was with Ridge Homes, a division of Evans Products, in Conshohocken, PA. When I left in 1972 to relocate to Franklin, IN., to open a new pre-fab plant, my lumber yard truck loading crew hosted an after-work going-away party for me in the tool room. When asked to make a few parting remarks, I commented on how I was pleased to have been their boss for a year, with no disciplinary issues or worse. It was then I learned, the only other veteran on the crew had spread a tale about me being handy with a knife (i.e. we all carried big jack knives, for cutting ropes when loading flatbed trailers) – having seen me stab and kill an enemy combatant in Vietnam. (Not true) No wonder they didn’t want to cross me! But we parted in good rapport!

A year later, when the early 1970s Arab oil crisis closed the new plant, I started to work for Davidson Industries in Southport, IN., as head of the wall panel, truss, and mill shops. Learned a lot about factory-built housing there, but could not get along with my superior, who viewed me as competing for his COO job. So I left on less than congenial terms. He died a couple years later

Then worked two years as general manager of Tuchman Cleaners in Indianapolis. Soon realized this family firm held limited opportunity for me in the future, so I resigned, to begin work as a property manager trainee at Turtle Creek Management. That’s where I learned the (then) ‘mobile home park’ business. And when that firm sold its’ four communities I went with the acquiring firm for a brief period of time. Why brief? Well, that’s another story in itself; suffice it to say here, GEF Communities ‘bought a pig in a poke’ (i.e. ‘something bought without knowledge of its’ true value’), thanks to erroneous financial due diligence on the buyer’s part.
I was fired, and ten years later, GEF’s owner murdered a dozen attorneys and clients in downtown San Francisco before committing suicide. For full tale, read SWAN SONG or email GFA7156@aol.com and request a copy of ‘An Error to Die For’. Be sure, though, to include a postal mailing address for the reprint. And the book is available via www.educatemhc.com

That was my last job, ending mid-1979. By early 1980, Carolyn and I had founded GFA Management, Inc., and were managing – as she was wont to say: “Anything that didn’t move!” Now, that’s a novel but accurate definition of real estate property management. And it’s from ‘this job’ that I’m retiring, 40 years later. Carolyn too.

What’s it like to leave? Mixed feelings for sure. I don’t miss the daily and weekly pressures of problem-solving at our properties, or those owned by others. But I do miss, already – and in part due to the pandemic, the camaraderie of businessmen and women in manufactured housing and land lease communities. Hopefully the final Networking Roundtable and Retirement Celebration on 12 August 2021 will assuage those sentiments somewhat. Will I see you there? Again, if interested, visit www.educatemhc.com for information and to register.

Has there been Life Lessons Learned, on this latter job, during the past 40 plus years? Yes, for sure! Property management is a great way to ease into ownership of income-producing properties! Investment realty, when bought and managed ‘right’ is a stable and profitable business venture. Management consulting, however, is not as easy as many folk think. I’ve yet to meet the retiree who successfully (and profitably) engaged in the practice for even a year. Me? I long ago committed my ‘lessons learned’ to the final chapter in the Chapbook of Business & Management Wisdom; it’s titled: ‘Scintillatingly Salient-but-Salacious Secrets that Might Lead to Management Consulting Success on the National Level – but don’t count on it!’ This book too is available for purchase via www.educatemhc.com or email me for details.

And did I mention, Carolyn and I now care for, two days a week, our month old and newest great grandchild, Emerson Junia Meek? Another ‘benie’ of retirement! Does her middle name intrigue you? Then pick up a Bible and read Romans 16:7 to learn about the first female apostle.

Don’t forget! Let’s enjoy a good and educational time together on 12 August in Nashville, TN!

George Allen, CPM, MHM

OK, THE MYSTERY IS (ALMOST) OVER!

Friday, June 4th, 2021

Blog Posting # 641 @ 4 June 2021: EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource & communicatio0n media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog and/or affiliate with Educate MHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: gfa7156@aol.com & visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: What will you be doing on Thursday, the 12th of August 2021? Hopefully you’ll be with us in Nashville, TN., participating in the final Networking Roundtable & a Retirement Celebration. Read Part I here following. And some interesting information from the CFPB, gleaned from HMDA research. Part II. And are you one of those Waiting for Distress, where underperforming income-producing properties are concerned? Part III is for you.

I.

OK, THE MYSTERY IS (ALMOST) OVER!

The cover page of last week’s blog posting (#640) announced what will be the FINAL NETWORKING ROUNDTABLE, & a RETIREMENT CELEBRATION. This national manufactured housing and land lease community dual event will occur 12 August 2021 at the downtown Hilton Hotel in Nashville, TN. It will be the 29th and FINAL Networking Roundtable, and a Retirement Celebration to fete roundtable founder and perennial host, George Allen, a.k.a. ‘The Colonel’ – as well as other recent retirees present at this dual event (Cary, Don, Sharon, John, George – are you, and others, paying attention?)

PROGRAM? Still putting details together, but here’s what we do know now. Registration will be during the morning along with vendor booths and opportunities to network and make deals with the who’s who in the MH Industry. Early afternoon, I’ll begin with, as you’ve come to expect, the most comprehensive STATE OF THE MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY & LAND LEASE COMMUNITY ASSET CLASS presentation, followed by a ‘fireside chat’ Open Conversation with the audience.

Then we’ll enjoy a KEYNOTE PRESENTATION like nothing you’ve heard and seen in many years! About what? Not telling you yet, but here’s a hint. If all works out as planned, the exciting and timely topic will be the first such major presentation of this sort since the mid to late 1990s!

Here’re a few related points to ponder. 1) Given the planned – timely and trendy focus of the KEYNOTE PRESENTATION; 2) the fact manufactured housing & land lease communities endured a two decades long (years 2000-2020) PARADIGM SHIFT, where new HUD-Code home sales moved from independent (street) MHRetailers onto rental homesites within communities; and 3) our products & services RETIRING from the industry and asset class business scene, this 12 August 2021 final Networking Roundtable will mark the END OF AN ERA and BEGINNING OF OUR NEXT ONE! Do you get my drift? You certainly will by the time this landmark event ends – if you’re present!

What else that day? Superb interpersonal NETWORKING of course, during a cocktail hour and celebratory dinner (Semi formal attire requested). We request all RV/MH Hall of Fame Members, present at the banquet, to wear their bright green RV/MH blazers.

More details to follow. But for the time being, visit www.educatemhc.com and click on the Training & Seminars prompt to learn more and to register.

Hope you sense a major manufactured housing & land lease community event is in the offing!

II.

CFPB SHARES HMDA RESEARCH INFORMATION

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (‘CFPB’) recently published (27 May 2021) a report whose content is based on information collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (‘HMDA’). What follows here is a digest of that information.

“Manufactured housing is a small segment of the overall housing supply, but is one of the most affordable types of housing available to low-income consumers, and makes up 13 percent of the housing stock in small towns and rural America” & “…acquisition costs, however, often come coupled with higher interest rates and limited opportunity to refinance.”

• “…around 42 percent of manufactured home purchase loans are ‘chattel’ loans….” And then there’s this, in my opinion, red herring statement: “Consumers may choose to get chattel loans to avoid putting the underlying land at risk if they default on the loan.” True enough, for the few times when that happens. But nothing is said in this bullet point or the ones to follow, about consumers getting chattel loans for homes sited on rental homesites within land lease communities! It’s a fine point, I know, but ‘telling’ in the omission.

• “Most manufactured home loan applications are denied, and less than 4 percent of chattel originations were for refinances. Homeowners seeking a loan on a site-built home are approved more than 70 percent of the time, but less than 30 percent of manufactured home loan applications are approved.” Now that’s sobering!

• “The top five lenders account for…nearly 75 percent of chattel lending.” The four largest originators are specialty lenders that primarily offer chattel loans to manufactured housing owners. & “Over time…banks have decreased their activity or exited the market altogether.”

• “Hispanic, Black and African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, and elderly borrowers are more likely than other consumers to take out chattel loans….” & “Black and African American borrowers are the only racial group …underrepresented in manufactured housing lending overall, compared to site-built….”

The previous paragraphs were lightly edited to facilitate ease of understanding. GFA

III.

SOME INTERESTING INSIGHTS GLEANED FROM ‘WAITING FOR DISTRESS’

The following quotes are gleaned from a feature article titled ‘Waiting for Distress’, as published in the May 2021 issue of GlobalSt. Real Estate Forum magazine, pp. 35-39

“Stalking horse auctions are a routine part of many Chapter 11 bankruptcies.” What’s a ‘stalking horse’ auction? ‘A false pretense concealing someone’s real intentions.’

“…the pace of distressed assets coming to market has been agonizingly slow for funds that accumulated capital with this goal in mind.” What goal? To acquire distressed retail and hotel assets.

“…the U.S. economy is poised for super-sized growth, and lenders continue, for the most part, to show patience with borrowers.”

“The Global Financial Crisis came about because of poor underwriting and unnecessary risk.” Thinking back to 2007 & 2008.

“Another challenge for distressed investors is the reluctance of many lenders to push properties into foreclosure, coupled with a wave of opportunistic capital targeting troubled borrowers.”

And, as they say, ‘the beat goes on’, prompting one (me) to wonder: ‘When and what will be the fallout among land lease communities acquired and abused by aggressive portfolio builders?” I believe you can push homeowners/site lessees only so far with large inordinate rental homesite $ rate increases, conversion to utility submetering, and new add-ons – all at the same time! In my opinion, the combined rental homesite rent amount and PITI payment on the home proper, taken together, must be 10-20 percent less than either the monthly 3BR2B apartment rent or site-built housing PITI. Why? Simply to remain competitive in the local rental housing market. Think about it.

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC.com