Mobile Home Parks — One of the Last Affordable Housing Options — on Verge of Disappearing as Investors Snap Up Land
Mobile home parks/manufactured home communities, among the few remaining affordable housing options are at a risk of being wiped out as investors are purchasing them and either redeveloping the site or raising rents to levels that residents can’t afford, potentially forcing them to leave.
The following are two reports of numerous instances where mobile home parks are at risk due to the above circumstances. The first one was reported on 11/6/2022 by The Columbian in Spokane, Washington. The second was reported on 11/7/2022 by The Denver Gazette.
SPOKANE – After Orem, Utah-based Havenpark Communities purchased Oak Crest in Coeur d’Lane last year, the investment firm told residents it would be raising lot rent, sending a shockwave of alarm throughout the mobile home park.
Many residents of the more than 400-home community are on fixed incomes, receiving only Social Security and disability benefits. Some have lived at the park for decades because of its affordability compared to traditional single-family homes.
Now, those residents fear they will be priced out with nowhere to go.
In letters submitted to the Spokesman-Review, existing Oak Crest residents indicated their monthly lot rent is increasing nearly 23%, from $365 in August 2021 to $447 as of Tuesday. Lot rent for new residents will increase 33% from $595 to $795.
Manufactured homeowners pay rent to the landlord for the ability to place their property on a lot in the community.
One resident, whose lot rent is equal to 48% of their income, penned an anonymous letter expressing concerns about becoming homeless because of Oak Creek’s increasing rent.
“If this trend continues, it will be impossible to maintain a residence in Oak Crest,” the resident wrote. “Unfortunately, I will not be able to qualify for suitable housing. The specter of becoming homeless can be a reality. I know that my situation is not unique. However, I am very concerned that I will become homeless without resources to secure affordable housing.”
Manufactured home communities, among the few remaining affordable housing options, are at risk of being wiped out as investors are purchasing them and either redeveloping the site or raising rents to levels that residents can’t afford, potentially forcing them to leave.
It is a situation that is unfolding in the region and nationwide.
DENVER – In an effort to preserve an affordable housing resource, the Denver City Council is considering imposing a moratorium on mobile home redevelopment. The Land Use, Infrastructure, and Transportation Committee heard the proposed bill for the first time last week.
City leaders say it is modeled after Aurora’s 10-month moratorium put in place in 2018. The goal is to preserve what council president Jamie Torres and members of council staff see as an affordable housing resource that is at risk.
“We’re bringing forward the first bill that approaches restrictions on redevelopment in the five mobile home park effect Denver currently has,” Torres said in the Nov.1 committee. “Mobile home park preservation is affordable housing preservation.”
Generally speaking, mobile home residents own their units but not the land they rest on. Because of this, they are at risk of having to move should a developer purchase the land and raise the rent or repurpose its use. Mobile homeowners are more likely to lose their homes to redevelopment because of relocation costs, age, and high housing costs in Denver.
Two of the parks were put up for sale in 2021 and 2022.
Denver has roughly 300 families living in five mobile home parks right now, according to Torres. They are located in Districts 3,7, and 9. However, due to redistricting, a park located at 2825 W. Evans will be located in District 2.
The moratorium, set to last 18 months and expire in April of 2024, will give the city time to devise a plan to regulate these parks keeping mobile homes in Denver.