AN HISTORIC DISPLACEMENT

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!’

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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

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