By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Beyond big cities, manufactured homes and mobile home parks are one of the few affordable housing alternatives for millions of Americans.
But as small mobile home park owners sell to large real estate corporations, living conditions are deteriorating. At the same time, land rents continue to rise, according to one report in the Washington Post.
The WaPo report is one of dozens I’ve read over the past several months, all of them telling the same story.
Owners of most manufactured homes do not own the land beneath their homes. Usually, they rent land with hookups to utilities from a mobile home park owner. So mobile home owners are also tenants. Residents can face eviction if they don’t pay the rent on time, or if they fail to follow park rules and regulations.
Unfortunately, when a land owner neglects duties such as storm water maintenance, lawn mowing, or keeping up private utility services, homeowners have few options.
Most cannot afford to move their “mobile” homes, a process that typically costs thousands of dollars. And sometimes it’s difficult to find a landowner accepting new manufactured home tenants.
In some instances, evicted owners walk away from their homes, unable to move them to a new location. Many are disappointed to discover that owning a manufactured home is not so affordable after all.
Typically, with few alternatives, mobile home park residents will continue to pay higher and higher rents, while living with unsatisfactory conditions. And without government-imposed rent controls, mobile home park land owners and investors continue to reap healthy profits.
A billion-dollar empire made of mobile homes
By Peter Whoriskey
SMYRNA, Tenn. — It’s not fancy. But in the exurbs of Nashville stands part of a billion-dollar real estate empire.
The Florence Commons community consists of about 300 mobile homes of varying vintages, mostly single-wide, many valued at less than $30,000 apiece, set 20 feet apart from one another. The occupants of some will tell you: The floors buckle. The ceilings crack. The doors don’t shut right. Their homes are sinking.
“Okay — it’s a trailer park, not a fancy gated community,” said Jessica Boudreaux, 33, who lives there with her two daughters. “If people could, they’d live somewhere else.”
For additional posts on this subject see also: