IOWA MOBILE HOME OWNERS AGAIN ASKING LAWMAKERS TO PASS PROTECTIONS

Bipartisan Iowa legislators are taking another swing at mobile home resident protections against evictions and other abuses precipitated by the mobile home park ownership change.

Mobile homeowners are asking the Iowa legislature to pass a bill they say would better protect them from some out-of-state park owners, according to an online report by the news staff at KCRG-9 / Cedar Rapids, IA.

They are reporting abuses associated with new park owners who come in and increase the rent by 30 to 70%, evict longtime homeowners without a cause, and raise other fees on utilities. The owners want lawmakers to support a bill introduced this year that would allow people who live in manufactured home parks to have the same rights as those who rent apartments.

“Now we are here for a third legislative session in a row, 2021. Speaking up for thousands of Iowans who were struggling to get by even before we were hit by the pandemic and the derecho,” Candy Evans, a resident of Golfview Mobile Home Park in North Liberty, said during the virtual meeting. “We are coming to you from our homes, our neighborhoods across Iowa today via Zoom because we do not have another year to wait for change.”

Golfview was one of the mobile home parks bought by a group called Havenpark in early 2019. The new ownership announced their intentions to raise lot rents by a significant margin, causing outrage among some residents and elected officials.

A look back at the genesis of this story:  In a report published online by KCRG on May 22, 2019, the mayor of North Liberty said he has a “bitter taste” in his mouth after meeting with a company that had recently purchased a mobile home park in the city.

This comes after Havenpark, a group that defines itself as “creating stable, long-term income through a disciplined approach of acquiring and operating outstanding manufactured home communities,” purchased the aforementioned Golfview Mobile Home Court in North Liberty.

Mayor Terry Donahue said he struggled to understand what took Havenpark so long to meet with the residents about their plan. He said after meeting with representatives from Havenpark, he believes the plan they have in place is to “lift the level of living in the area.”

This comes after residents say they received a letter their rents would be going up significantly, and some believe the company is targeting people with lower incomes.

The rent increase has forced a number of people to move out of Golfview, including some long-time residents. Some of those have moved out with the help of Habitat for Humanity.

Mayor Donahue said the handling of the situation at Golfview has left him feeling “embarrassed.”

 

Fast forward back to the present:

The latest bill introduced in the Iowa legislature that would offer protections for mobile homeowner park residents has passed out of a House judiciary subcommittee, but the full judiciary has not considered it yet.

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