George Allen / EducateMHC Blog Mobile Home & Land Lease Community Advocate & Expert

August 2, 2023


Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 6:58 am

Blog Posting # 753, Copyright 4 August 2023. EducateMHC

Parallel Perspectives. HUD-Code manufactured housing is federally-regulated, performance-based, affordable factory-built housing! And land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) comprise the investment real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC alone is the online advocate, historian, trend tracker, and text resource for these two business models! To input this blog or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815, email:, or visit, to order Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry. This is the sole professional community management text in print today! And SWAN SONG is a history of land lease communities and official record of annual MH production totals since 1955; and my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven – describes combat adventures in Vietnam and a 40+ year business career in MH and community ownership/management.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, Emeritus member of the Manufactured Housing Institutes (‘MHI’), RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee, retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. Marines, &d author/editor of 20 books re MH, communities, business & management wisdom, & prayer.


What were you doing on 31 August 1993? Here’s what forward-looking owners/operators of land lease communities were doing. Quoting from SWAN SONG, a history of land lease communities, the unique income-producing investment property type: “…on 31 August 1993, 19 owners/operators of (then) mobile home parks, convened in Indianapolis, IN., for a strategic planning meeting where the goal was to decide how to work collectively, to represent and advocate for the real estate asset class – knowing a year or so later, several participants would take their companies public as real estate investment trusts (‘REITs’).” The initial organization, dubbed the Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’), penned a mission statement, collected dues, and sought a national trade body (e.g. NAA, IREM & MHI) to adopt them.

The story of that momentous meeting and 18 months following, changed the course of manufactured housing-related real estate investments, and is well told in the book The First 20 Years, authored by the late Bruce Savage, one time executive with the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’). Copies are available for purchase via

In retrospect, how did this historic meeting change the course of land lease community history? A couple obvious, and several subtle ways.

  • 1 ½ years before the 31 August 1993 meeting, more than 100 community owners/operators, from across the U.S., convened for the very first time – in Clearwater, FL. Every year since then, they continue to gather at various national and regional networking and trade events. This was the impetus for the 8/31/1993 meeting, and continues to be key in creating and sustaining camaraderie among these entrepreneurial businessmen and women.
  • 2 ½ years after the initial ISC meeting, on 1 January 1996, MHI launched the National Communities Council (‘NCC’), later named a full-fledged division of the institute. The first MHI executive to lead the NCC was Jim Ayotte, CAE; today, state executive of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (‘FMHA’). This is when ISC became a part of MHI.
  • While the ‘property type’ label changed from ‘mobile home park’ to manufactured home community, upon publication of J. Wiley & Sons’ Development, Marketing, & Operation of Manufactured Home Communities, in 1992, the continued evolution of that trade term took another decade or more, to become land lease community(ies).
  • In 1987, the Roulac Real Estate Consulting Group identified only 25 portfolio owners/operators of ‘mobile home parks’ nationwide. By the time the ISC cum NCC was ‘up and running’, that number had swelled to 500+/- firms owning an average of 150 communities apiece. Why the huge jump? The formation of three new REITs (i.e. UMH Properties launched a decade earlier) popularized the property type, making for an eventual seller’s market. And it became common knowledge the operating expense ratios (‘OERs’) for these ‘communities’ were significantly lower than their conventional apartment counterparts.
  • Some highly desirable ‘improvements’ to community operations have been proposed, even accepted and tried over the last three decades, but not all achieved sustained momentum. Examples. Professional property management. Of all the commercial real estate investment property types, land lease communities continue to be the least represented by Certified Property Manager (‘CPM’) members of the prestigious Institute of Real Estate Management (‘IREM’)…usually around 100 CPMs among 50,000+/- properties! And neither of the two homegrown PM certification programs, MHI’s Manufactured Housing Educational Institutes’ (‘MHEI’) Accredited Community Manager (‘ACM”), and GFA/PMN’s Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) certifications have added much (i.e. professional property managers) to the realty asset class.  And at one time it seemed highly desirable to replace the defunct (since 1976) Woodall Star System of quality raking communities. Hence the ABClassification System for Grading Communities. While still used by some, it was a victim of NCC politics, as REIT executives were concerned some of their holdings might be degraded by the new system. And there was also a detailed but high-priced program for recognizing and touting superior communities. But due to cost, it lasted only a short time.

So, where are we today? Depends on who you ask. Fervent supporters of the NCC (i.e. those who faithfully attend MHI’s biannual meetings at expensive venues) will tell you ‘all is well’ – and perhaps from their perspective that is true. However, knowing NCC meetings are rarely attended by more than a dozen or two dues-paying members, and there’s rarely public reporting of plans and actions, one might question the efficacy of the NCC division. Add to this the prohibition of proxy voting for officers at annual meetings – limiting access and amalgamation of new leadership. So yes, there is room for improvement going forward.

And since only five of the original 19 founders of the ISC are still active in land lease community ownership, it’d be interesting to know how they feel about present day community advocacy of the NCC. Speaking of the original founders of the ISC cum NCC division of MHI, they make for an interesting cross-section of owners/operators, large and small, of this unique type income-producing property typr. Following names are quoted, again, from The First 20 Years text authored by Bruce Savage.

Randy Rowe, formerly with MHC, Inc. cum ELS, Inc., a REIT; founder of Hometown America, then Green Courte Partners/American Landlease, and most recently Windward Communities. Randy continues to be active in the realty asset class, from his offices in CO and IL.

Gary McDaniel, founder of ROC Properties cum ROC Communities, Inc., a REIT; co-founder of YES! Communities (now under new ownership); also past chairman of MHI, and an RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrine. Now retired.  

Jim Grange. Similar corporate profile to business partner Gary McDaniel. To the best of my knowledge, also now retired.

Jeff Kellogg. Executive with  REIT Chateau Communities, Inc., until it was merged with ROC Communities, Inc. in 1997, later Hometown America in 2003.  To the best of my knowledge, Jeff is now retired.

Tom Horner, Jr., CPA, of T. Horner & Associates. Former professional football player, creator of the 21st Century National Manufactured Home Landlease Community Rating System. Deceased.

Martin Newby of Martin Newby Management, now retired. Company still active as fee managers of land lease communities throughout the southeast. Martin brought a distinctly Christian perspective to his company, one that lives on to this day.

Dick Leiter. Formerly with Martin Newby Management. To the best of my knowledge, he’s no longer active in the realty asset class.

Kamal Shouhayib, Choice Properties (president of The Choice Group). While maybe semi-retired, his firm is now operated by his son Rob. Kamal is also a real estate developer in the U.S. and Lebanon.

Bill Williams of CWS Corporation in CA. While a major player during the 1990s, the firm was acquired by Chateau in 2001. To the best of my knowledge Bill is no longer active in the realty asset class.

Lynwood Wellhausen of Rudgate Communities. Lynwood is retired, and Rudgate was acquired years ago.

Bill Geary, CPM; president of Carlsberg Management. After his firm was acquired, he appeared to be no longer active in the real estate asset class.

Martin Lavin, esquire. A chattel capital financier, and head of AJAX Property Management. Now retired. Long an articulate commentator on manufactured housing matters in The Journal.

Eugene Landy, founder of United Mobile Homes cum UMH Properties, a REIT. Still active in the realty asset class, and recent inductee into the prestigious RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN.

Jerry Ellenberg of Ellenberg Capital. While active in the realty asset class at the time (8/31/1993), the firm was acquired and Jerry appears to have pursued other interests.

Scott West. Also with Ellenberg Capital at the time. No information on his current activities.

Brian Fannon, CPM. With Lautrec, Ltd., as well as founder of Strategic Operational Solutions, LLC. Most recently developing & filling a new Zeman MHC land lease community, The Oaks of Rockford, in Rockford, MI. Also an RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee.

Ed Zeman of Zeman Realty & Zeman MHC. Still very active in the realty asset class.

Ron Richardson of Ballerina Homes (Named after his first wife’s talent). Deceased.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master. Founder of GFA Management, Inc., & PMN Publishing. Also RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee, and Emeritus member of MHI. Now retired.

Well, there you have a brief history, not so exciting present status, and list of ISC founders from 30 years ago. The big question today, at least for some of us land lease community aficionados, is what will the future hold for this real estate asset class? Today we’re beset by threats of landlord/tenant legislation like we’ve never experienced before. Why? Mostly due to investors from outside the manufactured housing industry, buying up all sizes of communities – and property portfolios, then raise rental homesite rates, often in an exorbitant fashion. And here our nation is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis, but we’re generally unable to secure favorable home-only financing, as well as affordable housing land planning and zoning in most local housing markets! And the troublesome list goes on. Point? If we needed a national advocacy group for land lease community ownership and operations in 1993; we need one even more so today! What will the NCC division of MHI do to reinvigorate itself and take the lead in matters such as those just described?

Tell you what. Spencer Roane, MHM, of Pentagon Properties in GA., and I will be at the RV/MH Hall of Fame all day on 21 August, preparing to attend the Hall of Fame banquet that evening. If you’re ‘in the area’ and would like to sit down and discuss the present and near future of manufactured housing and land lease communities, let me know via I’ll make arrangements for meeting location and timing. Hope you decide to participate. If interested in attending the banquet, get your tickets via (574) 293-2344. Even stay overnight and attend the 7th National MH FacTOURy conference (How to Market & Sell New MHs in Land Lease Communities) on Tuesday and Wednesday. For more information phone the event hosts via (317) 247-6258.

George Allen, CPM, MHM

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