Lawmakers, advocates, and residents urged improvements to the quality and affordability of manufactured housing communities (MHCs). MHAction, a national organization and movement of manufactured home community residents from across the U.S. held a webinar to announce the release of a new report detailing manufactured housing resident experiences. Representative Cynthia Axne (D-IA) on May 19 introduced legislation to keep manufactured housing communities affordable, offering homeowners more protections and resources. The “Manufactured Housing Tenant’s Bill of Rights” would establish a minimum set of standards for manufactured housing communities’ tenants that receive federal financing through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or the Federal Housing Administration. These rights include:
- The right to a 60-day written notice of rent increases or new added charges like water or sewer, with longer notice for larger increases
- The right to a one-year renewal lease absent good cause for nonrenewal and protection from evictions without cause
- The right for a tenant to sell their manufactured home without having to relocate it, as well as rights to sublet and post “for sale” signs on the home
- The right to a 5-day grace period for late rent payments and 60 days advanced notice of a MHC’s planned sale or closure
Representative Axne also reintroduced the “Manufactured Housing Community Preservation Act” which would create a new grant program to help nonprofits, resident-formed cooperatives, and other local entities purchase and maintain an MHC through awards of up to $1 million. The bill was first introduced on January 1, 2020, then added to the Moving Forward Act (see Memo, 06/06/2020) through a unanimous vote. NLIHC supports Representative Axne’s bills.
The MHAction webinar included manufactured home residents from Michigan, Iowa, and Montana; Representative Axne; Dr. Esther Sullivan, professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Denver; Montana State Senator Brian Hoven; Iowa State Representative Christine Bohannan; and Linda Jun, senior policy counsel at the American for Financial Reform. Residents described their personal experiences of displacement, spikes in rent, and facing the predatory actions by Havenpark, which has bought manufactured home communities across the nation. The report tells the stories of residents who have seen the affordability and livability of their manufactured home communities decrease as Havenpark continues its predatory practices. The report calls on Havenpark, Enterprise Community Partners, state and federal elected officials, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to take action to:
- Keep manufactured homes affordable with gradual, justified rent and fee increases and COVID-related rent relief;
- Keep manufactured home residents in their homes with good cause eviction requirements and COVID eviction protections;
- Make manufactured home communities safe and healthy with community maintenance;
- Treat residents decently and fairly; and
- Protect manufactured communities from predatory investors by supporting community ownership by residents, mission-driven nonprofits, and public entities.
In January of this year, Chairman of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a letter to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the trend of rent increases and resident displacement in MHCs. He wrote:
“I am writing regarding the increase in private equity investment in and ownership of manufactured housing communities and a troubling trend of rent increases and resident displacement in many of these communities. I have seen first-hand how residents in these communities, many of whom are elderly and have fixed incomes, have experienced rent and other housing cost increases with few consumer protections. The information I am requesting here will help me better understand Fannie Mae’s role in financing private equity-owned MHC properties and what resident protections, if any, are included in the Enterprise’s financing process.”
Learn more about the “Manufactured Housing Tenant’s Bill of Rights Act of 2021” at: https://bit.ly/3v86Nv0
Learn more about the “Manufactured Housing Community Preservation Act” at: https://bit.ly/3hLFxhV
Read Representative Axne’s statement on the bill: https://bit.ly/3oEavu0
Read MHAction’s “Displacement Inc.” report: https://bit.ly/3wzVQ5R
Read Senator Brown’s letter on manufactured housing: https://bit.ly/3bJbO5r
More information about manufactured housing is on page 6-17 of NLIHC’s 2021 Advocate’s Guide.