Retaining existing affordable housing has become a top priority for state legislators across the country. The states of Oregon and Iowa have come to the realization that manufactured homes and mobile home parks are a critical component for addressing the “housing crisis” for lower income citizens.

Oregon Lawmaker:  “Manufactured Homes Are Less Expensive and More Accessible to People Of Lower Incomes”
The State of Oregon has “underproduced” its housing needs by 155,000 units according to state economists. The state legislature has been working on housing issues since 2013, particularly planning departments’ emphasis on preserving existing lower income housing, a lifeline for struggling mobile home parks.

A set of bills put forward by Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, would focus on manufactured homes which she describes as “naturally occurring affordable housing.”
“Typically, it’s less expensive and more accessible to people of lower incomes.”

Marsh’s legislation would let people living in an older mobile home take out a state loan to buy a new one, provide state grants for old mobile homes to be hauled away and disposed of, and set up another loan program intended to keep mobile home parks open and affordable for residents.
Rep. Marsh has also put forward House Bill 2802, which would make up to $13 million available in grants to help low-income residents with major home repairs. Reps. Gomberg, Kenny-Guyer, and Noble are cosponsors.
“There’s only so much we can do that we drive ourselves as public agencies – -only so much housing that we can build,” Marsh said. “We really need to look at ways that we can be effective in the private realm, in helping people stay in their homes, upgrade their homes and not lose them.”

Iowa Governor Signs Nonconforming Use Manufactured Home Bill Into Law
On April 23, 2019, the Iowa Governor signed HF 701 into law, which expressly mandates the continuance of lawful preexisting nonconforming uses as it relates to the replacement of manufactured, modular, and mobile homes under various circumstances.

Manufactured housing communities and manufactured/mobile homeowners around the state have encountered numerous problems with cities and counties preventing the replacement of manufactured, modular, and mobile homes that were lawful preexisting nonconforming uses and otherwise preventing communities from installing replacement homes onto vacant homesites, claiming the replacement amounts to an unlawful expansion or change of the preexisting use. This law will absolutely compel cities and counties to follow this statutory standard.

HOUSING CRISISLaw Will Be A Great Benefit To The Iowa Manufactured Housing Industry.
The Iowa Manufactured Housing Association was the initiator and lead supporter of this bill. On behalf of the Association, Davis Brown attorney Jovie McDougal, as a subject matter expert, along with Association Director Joe Kelly, spoke several times at the capitol to various subcommittees as they reviewed the bill, educating the Senators and representatives on the current law regarding non-conforming uses.

The efforts of the association, industry members and others resulted in the passage of this law, which will be a great benefit to the manufactured housing industry.


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