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

October 24, 2023

Average Apartment vs LLC Site Rent in US

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 7:44 am

Blog Posting # 764, Copyright 20 October 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 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 www.educatemhc.comn, 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 45 year business career in MH and community ownership/management and consulting.

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

$1,729 National Average US Apartment Rent


$576 Average Land Lease Community Site Rent

National average U.S. apartment rent according to Yardi Matrix, quoted in September/October 2023 issue of (p.14.)

$576 national average U.S. land lease community rental homesite rate calculated by applying the 50 years Rule of Thumb; dividing the apartment rent rate by ‘three’; hence $576 is one third of $1,729. This is simply an estimated land lease community rental homesite rate.

However, in local housing markets negatively impacted by contemporary investors buying institutional investment grade land lease communities – and shortly after acquisition, greatly increasing rental homesite rates paid by homeowners/site lessees and adding charges previously included in monthly site rents; well, in those markets, the divisor is ‘2’ and not ‘3’. This means monthly rental homsite rent rates in this example will hover around $865.

So, how’s your local housing market fare at this point in time? I’d like to know. Contact me via


Quoted from The Paletz Law Blog of 19 October 2023, in an article penned by Matthew I Paletz, Esq., titled ‘Just in Time for Halloween, Bad Michigan Housing Policies Are Contributing to ‘Ghost’ Apartments & ‘Zombie’ Mobile Homes.’:

“This scary ‘Ghost’ (i.e. apartment & land lease community vacancies) is hitting our state hard right now. Let’s start with the dearth of available mobile homes on lots across Michigan.*1 The owners of the manufactured housing communities cannot refurbish, re-rent, or sell many of these homes because the Michigan mobile home title process has been destroyed through changes made by the Secretary of State. What was once a streamlined title procedure has now been uprooted and replaced by a convoluted policy leading to hundreds of these now ‘zombie-like’ homes being unoccupied and unimproved, and in desperate need of these being brought back to life.”

Now you know what a ‘zombie mobile home’ is. Is this a problem in your local housing market? If so, let me know via  Frankly, I learned of this challenge, thanks to a blog reader who sent me this Paletz Law Blog.

End Note.

*1. Better stated: “Let’s start with the dearth of available manufactured homes on rental homesites in land lease communities across Michigan.”

When Was Last Time You Heard…

of a land lease community, just about any size (i.e. rental homesite count), changing hands in your local housing market? It’s probably been a while. With interest rates so high of late, about the only way to ‘make an acquisition deal’ is to find a seller willing to finance (i.e. ‘carry paper’) the transaction. This is about the sixth time I’ve seen our unique, income-producing property type go through this real estate cycle (e.g. 1970s = mobile home parks; 1990s = manufactured home communities; and now, midway into the 2020s = land lease communities).

Since I no longer research and publish the annual Lenders Report (i.e. identification of real estate mortgage & personal property or ‘home only’ lenders) it’s impossible for me to give you the inside story, usually shared by loan originators at the major manufactured housing and land lease community-focused firms. But I do remember a few Rules of Thumb, from times past, related to seller-financed community transactions.

Want more money for your property? Be willing to extend the term out over a longer period of time. However, just as important, be sure to carefully research the buyer’s past business performance and reputation. You’re going to be ‘in bed’ (figuratively speaking) with this party for as many years as it takes to pay off the mortgage. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a buyer (investor) come into town, dazzle the seller, buy the property, ‘milk it’ for all it was worth, and then skip town when seller realized what was happening. Few things worse than ‘retiring’ after selling, but having to get back into the saddle when the deal sours.

The alternative? Decide on a cash sale transaction. The upfront money might be less than ideally desired, but when you walk away from the property, you walk away sans any future burdens – other than the huge tax bills you’ll likely face.

And the beat goes on. Just during the past decade I’ve watched friend after friend in the business, sell out wisely – as well as not so much so. The saddest transactions, in my opinion, have been those where community developers/owners have died and their progeny soon sold off the family holdings – even when they’ve worked there most of their adult lives. Almost always hard feelings among the principals.

Know who, in my opinion, has suffered most among the thousands of land lease community acquisitions-cum-portfolios? The state MH trade associations. Few write about it, but the consequences have been nothing short of devastating. How so? On the local level, on-site community managers are no longer encouraged, for the most part, to attend chapter meetings, let alone state conferences. And some, but not all, portfolio owners/operators become direct dues-paying members of these state associations. And this usually occurs only after there’s some sort of landlord-tenant legislation ‘in the works’ in that state. Something I’ve only come to notice of late is that some, but not all boards are comprised of salaried portfolio employees rather than the Mom & Pop entrepreneur owners/operators of years past.

To Caucus or Not to Caucus on 1/18/24?

I’m conflicted. The dilemma? Whether to plan and host a half day Manufactured Housing Caucus, or not to Caucus, the morning of 18 January 2023?

Reasons for and encouragement to Caucus? “Three impending storm clouds potentially affecting the health of the manufactured housing industry.” (Following semi-quoted from blog # 761 on 29 September 2023). The storm clouds?

  • Regional and national meetings of land lease community tenants and activists, wherein alleged predatory actions by new owners of recently acquired land lease communities are accused of setting rents so high, and adding new ancillary charges, few homeowners/site lessees can afford them. Possible consequence? Landlord-tenant legislation.
  • A recent Class Action Complaint; specifically, a Jury Trial Demanded by homeowner/site lessee plaintiffs, against ten defendants – well known firms in MH and real estate asset class. Alleged actions? “…fix, raise, maintain, and/or stabilize manufactured home lot rental prices.” So much more to be learned about this class action complaint.
  • Pending manufactured housing chassis removal legislation, re HUD-Code, with unknown effects on our industry. The issue? How can we experience positive effects (of chassis removal) without incurring negative consequences (e.g. incursion of other forms of housing, such as ADUs, in traditional manufactured housing markets).

Reasons against hosting a regional, informal Caucus? Given the nature of the aforementioned impending storm clouds – and more, these are easily national issues maybe best parsed and resolved at the highest level by one or more manufactured housing advocacy trade organizations. And there’s the local (i.e. Midwest) protocol, at the Louisville MHShow, where HUD-Code manufacturers look with disdain at any organized event (e.g. subject Caucus) that draws attendees away from the show floor and ordering new homes for their sales centers.

All this ‘begs the question(s)’, does the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), its’ National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, or the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (“MHARR’) have interest in planning and hosting such a Caucus at the 2024 Louisville MHShow on 18 January 2024? If so, let me know ASAP.

And, if not, does the Midwest Housing Federation (i.e. Louisville MHShow owners/organizers) have interest in planning and hosting such a Caucus during the 2024 Louisville MHShow? Or, should such an event (i.e. Caucus) simply be planned and hosted off-site at a nearby hotel? Same here; if so, let me know ASAP.

These are the reasons I’m conflicted. I’m certainly ready to move forward with planning such a Caucus. After all, I already have a dozen individuals who’ve contacted me, encouraging me to this end. And I’m confident such a Caucus would attract 100+/- registrants, if/when held the morning of 18 January 2024. I’m giving myself until 30 October to decide what course of action to take – if any. Appreciate your input, whether it is individually, or in behalf of one or another national MH trade advocacy organization:

George Allen

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