Residents write to Legislators

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A DRAFT LETTER:

 

Residents are urged to copy and send this letter to their State Representatives and Senators; and also encouraged to ask their neighbors and friends to write. It will be helpful to inform PAMHOA when letters are written. THIS LINK ALSO PROVIDES AN ALTERNATIVE SHORT LETTER.

 

To the Honorable Member(s) of the Pennsylvania Legislature.

 

This letter prepared by Manufactured House (MH) owners and residents, attending the “PA Coalition of MH Residents” (PAMHOA) regional/ state meeting held in Bethlehem, PA, Sept 24, 2011. [PAMHOA represents ¾ million citizens of the Commonwealth with homes sited in 2000 land-lease communities (LLC)]

 

These PA citizens own their home, but lease their home-site, AND call on their elected representatives to enact suitable and urgently need legislation to overcome serious abuses occurring in many LLC; abuses that can lead to the loss of resident’s HOMES, and resident's financial destruction.

 

Residents living in a LLC include many of PA's retirees, elderly, persons with disabilities, and low-income families; forced to accept the systematic loss of their hard earned wealth, and SECURITY; their constitutional rights also removed. These losses are SERIOUS and reprehensible; against which PA law provides NO sufficient PROTECTION.

 

LLC (residential communities) are intended to provide non-subsidized affordable housing; the home owner purchasing an efficient factory built home (which can cost 100K or more when new) and equivalent to a traditional stick built homes (built to similar codes). Home ownership cost lowered by placing the home on leased land. The homeowner's intent on entering into his/her lease to preserve affordability.

 

This alternative form of home ownership provides a modern home requiring less maintenance and upkeep, with properties marketed towards retirees, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and low- income families, and promoted under the Commonwealth's housing policies as “affordable-housing”. Ownership abuses include:

 

  • over-reaching” leases, often found to contain illegal or damaging terms

  • unsubstantiated, unaffordable, and excessive lot fees forced on the home-owner

  • the high risk of displacement and financial ruin of residents

  • unreasonable “community guidelines or rules”

  • unfair conditions, arbitrarily imposed, infringing on resident rights

  • residents have NO RECOURSE, are TRAPPED, and often taken advantage of.

These abuses, complained of by residents have been documented for more than twenty (20) years by various agencies including:

 

  • The National Consumer Law Center

  • The AARP

  • The Corporation for Enterprise Development...

  • PA housing agencies, AND PA's own Attorney General (1993 report)

 

Lack of attention to these concerns has led to increasingly damaging circumstances for residents.

 

          [Homes are NOT “mobile”, and alternative home-sites NOT available]

 

The excessive lot fees and unreasonable lease terms extracted from leaseholders (residents) under duress; and retirees, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and low-income families have NO financial resources , exercisable options, or defense.

 

The absence of legal reform, has led to the MH industry leveraging against the citizen to take advantage of captured lessees. As a result, residents welfare and security continues to be damaged, resulting in what appears a “monopolistic scheme” resembling extortion, and designed to defraud residents.

 

                LLC operators in many cases taking unreasonable advantage.

As a further example, during a time of ECONOMIC CRISIS, with NO increases in social security and reduced wages - requiring fiscal discipline and financial constraints by HOUSEHOLDS, BUSINESSES, and GOVERNMENT (since 2008/2009), many community owners have disregarded these circumstances (with policies making home-ownership unaffordable through the manipulation of lot fees , other charges, and unfair leases) that:

 

  • INCREASE their financial taking by HIKING already excessive lot fees disregarding the economic consequences on residents

  • Residents and Home Owners are FORCEDTO PURCHASE unfair and unjust leases (NO competition)

  • The IMPOSITION of stringent lease terms contribute to ownership default

  • Residents FORCED TO PAY TWICE to keep their home, because the community owner's excessive DEMANDS falsely depreciate property values

  • Home default provides an opportunity for the Park Operator to acquire the housing unit at FIRE - SALE pricing, for re-sale or to use as a rental property.

Therefore, the honorable member(s) of the Legislature are respectfully asked to give URGENT consideration and attention to these complaints, affecting ¾ million citizens (tax payers) of the Commonwealth; the cited concerns inflicting unnecessary harm on the welfare and well-being of retirees, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and low-income families, circumstances also found damaging to the Commonwealth's economy.

 

Residents DO NOT ASK for financial aid, BUT for the protection of their rights and property, and protection against abuse (including what is seen as the theft of their property); and ask the honorable member(s) to undertake a formal inquiry into these circumstances, including imposing an IMMEDIATE moratorium on lot fees and charges - until an investigation and suitable system to establish reasonable lot fees and leases can be established.

 

The honorable member(s) of the State Legislature also asked to URGENTLY enact such laws as are needed to sufficiently, responsibly, and rightly, protect resident's property, and maintain the rights of Commonwealth's citizens living in LLC.

 

Yours truly,

____________________________________________________________________________

 

An alternative SHORT LETTER: (Copy to your letter head)

(IF residents choose to modify this letter, please keep respectful. Many legislators are trying to help; the problems unknown to the majority of legislators. )

 

TO BE ADDRESSED TO: Your State Representative, and also write to your Senator

 

Dear Honorable Member:

 

      Many PA citizens, like me, own their home, BUT lease their home-site in a Manufactured Housing Community known as a land-leased community (LLC).

 

     There are ¾ million residents living in 2000 communities across Pennsylvania. Residents living in a LLC include PA's retirees, elderly, persons with disabilities, and low-income families.

 

     By this letter, I ask you to enact suitable and urgently needed legislation to overcome serious abuses occurring in many LLC; abuses that can lead to the loss of resident’s HOMES, and cause resident's financial ruin; with our constitutional rights also removed. These losses are SERIOUS and reprehensible; against which PA law provides NO sufficient PROTECTION.

     LLC (residential communities) are intended to provide:

  • Non-subsidized affordable housing

  • Home ownership cost lowered by leasing the land.

  • The homeowner's intent on entering into his/her lease is to preserve affordability.

  • A safe and dependable alternative form of home ownership.

 

     MEANWHILE ownership abuses include:

  • over-reaching” leases, often containing illegal or damaging terms

  • unsubstantiated, unaffordable, and excessive lot fees forced on the home-owner

  • the high risk of displacement and financial harm of residents

  • unreasonable “guidelines and conditions” arbitrarily imposed, infringing resident rights

  • residents have NO RECOURSE, are TRAPPED, and taken advantage of.

 

     These abuses, have been documented for more than twenty (20) years by various agencies including:

  • The National Consumer Law Center

  • The AARP

  • The Corporation for Enterprise Development.

  • PA housing agencies, AND PA's own Attorney General (1993 report)

 

Lack of attention to these concerns has led to increasingly damaging circumstances for residents.

Homes NOT “mobile”, and alternative home-sites NOT available

 

     In many cases the excessive lot fees and unreasonable lease terms are extracted from leaseholders under duress. AND the lessees who are retirees, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and low-income families have NO financial resources , exercisable options, or defense.

 

     The absence of legal reform, has led to the MH industry to take advantage of captured lessees; resulting in what appears to be a “monopolistic scheme” to de-fraud residents.

      During a time of ECONOMIC CRISIS, with NO increase in social security and reduced wages, fiscal discipline and financial constraints has been required by HOUSEHOLDS, BUSINESSES, and GOVERNMENT alike, BUT many community owners have disregarded these circumstances (making home-ownership unaffordable through the manipulation of lot fees , unnecessary charges, and unfair leases) that:

 

  • INCREASE their financial income by HIKING already excessive lot fees

  • Residents and Home Owners FORCED TO PURCHASE unfair and unjust NEW leases

  • The unreasonable IMPOSITION of lease terms contribute to ownership default

  • Residents FORCED TO PAY TWICE to keep their home (excessive lot fees and unreasonable DEMANDS falsely depreciate property values.)

  • Home default provides an opportunity for the Park Operator to acquire OUR HOMES at FIRE - SALE pricing, for re-sale or to use as a rental property.

     Therefore again, I respectfully ask you to give URGENT consideration and attention to these complaints; the cited concerns inflicting unnecessary harm; circumstances also damaging the Commonwealth's economy.

 

     I and other residents DO NOT ASK for financial aid, BUT for the protection of our rights and property, and protection against abuses; and ask the honorable member(s) of the legislature to undertake a formal inquiry into these circumstances, including imposing an IMMEDIATE moratorium on lot fees and charges - until an investigation and suitable system to establish reasonable lot fees and leases can be established to protect OUR HOMES.

 

     Please enact such laws as are needed to protect our property, and to maintain the rights of all citizens living in LLC across the Commonwealth.

 

Yours truly,