A Letter to Our Legislators

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The PA Coalition of MH Residents - (PAMHOA)

Incorporating: The Pennsylvania Manufactured Home Owners of America (1988) Inc.

134 Greentree Court, Bath, PA 18014.

Phone 610-837-1537

Officers: Roger J Hall, Pres; Deb Stumph, VP; Donald Miles Esq., Secretary.

 

June 2011.

 

Land-Lease Communities (LLC) - A letter to legislators:

 

RE: Legislative Issues - A Resident Perspective 

 
  • Community residents own substantial homes sited on leased land
  • Homes are subject to 30 day eviction and unreasonable rents and charges
  • Prevailing statutes outdated, unsuited, ineffective, and biased
  • Home owners subjected to intimidation with leases maintained under duress
  • Community operation in many cases unrelated to the intent of the lease
  • PA residents forced out of their homes and property

 

Existing PA law governing the operation of land-lease communities (LLC) - where residents own their home but rent the land it sits on -  in many cases is unfair, unjust, and may be found to fail in meeting constitutional standards.

The process of arriving at these laws may have been overtaken by circumstances over the intervening years, including an entirely different premise upon which these homes are established on the land, and in many cases how the land owner operates and charges for the use of the land; and exercises control over community residents. The Coalition believes, the law affecting these communities needs significant overhaul and revision.

 

The situation that applies requires a rental or use agreement to lease a home site for a HOUSE:

 

This arrangement creates significant disparities

Works against the fair and just interests of the owner of the home

Negatively affects the economic interests of many PA citizens living in and owning property in a LLC.

 

Older factory built homes can be valued from a few thousand dollars, with newer homes costing more than 100K; homes that in every respect are equal to stick built homes but placed on leased land. These homes can range in size from several hundred square feet to more than 2000SF; and represent housing of the kind generally unavailable elsewhere in being modern, convenient, and one story construction favored by retirees, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. 

In addition, the circumstances of community ownership are changing.

Many communities are not "trailer parks" or “mobile home parks” but began life as affordable housing - “residential communities” promoted like an other residential development. In older parks many homes have been replaced with modern units meeting modern housing standards; the majority of  buyers in either case (retirees, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and low income families) investing in the American dream – (purchase affordable based on a reasonable rental charge for the use of the land) - buyers unaware of the risks to be assumed, including: 

 

Short notice eviction (30 days)

Unaffordable cost of moving a house ($20,000.00 dollars or more),

Few if any alternative home-sites available

Or the likelihood of lot rents increasing to become excessive and unaffordable - (increases

without basis... profit taking with lessees trapped.)

 

 The reasoned expectation at the origination of the home owner’s lease is for the home-sites to remain affordable consistent with market conditions. (In most cases no external pressure or market conditions apply to significantly affect the leased land value or the cost of operations.)  In the past, communities were owned by “Mom and Pop” business, or a local land owner using their land to create home sites as a reasonable and beneficial use of the land; whereas today, these communities are seen as an opportunity to profit; the home owner without sufficient legal protection. "Investors" also see "sitting duck" residents as an opportunity to obtain an unrestrained source of income. With “Mom and Pop” businesses diminishing, many communities are purchased to capitalize on the financial opportunity at the expense of PA's retirees, elderly, and disabled who are unable to defend themselves.

A a result many have lost their home and their financial security; residents also an easy target due to captive leases. The property owner can continue to increase rents, capitalize on re-selling abandoned homes, and further maximize the profit opportunity by offering the land for sale or redevelopment displacing homes at a time of his choosing evicting residents on short notice, often reducing the home owner's investment to scrap; all out of keeping with the trust and intent of the resident's initial lease on setting or purchasing the home.  

PA’s citizens should not be without sufficient protection where circumstances are outside of their control, and affecting the security of their housing (and the property they own) - the actions of the community owner, without accountability, can result in the destruction of everything residents own, and destroy their personal security (inordinately damaging to those living on a fixed income); resident investment in home ownership in a LLC constituting the largest block of unfunded affordable housing in the Commonwealth, an important and essential part of PA's housing resource; the homeowner unable to defend against the conditions cited -  leases only maintained under duress. Residents are unprepared and unable to respond to the practices of “big business” and unfair business practices seemingly allowed if not facilitated under our present laws, which laws are extraordinarily and unjustifiably biased against the citizen and home owner.

In this, the Coalition represents that the citizens of this Commonwealth are entitled to obtain just and fair law protecting their lives and property.

Respectfully,

The PA Coalition of MH Residents (PAMHOA)