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

May 25, 2022


Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 12:50 pm

Blog Posting # 691. Copyright @ 27 May 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing1’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, education resource & textbook supplier for land lease communities throughout North America!

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INTRODUCTION: A change in pace and topic this week. With all the talk about developing raw land into more land lease communities, the following two parts supply some of the advance planning guidance would be developers will need to be successful in their dealings with local housing market planning and zoning commissions, as well as convincing folk – investors and otherwise, to support their business dreams.



The April 2022 issue of LAND LINES, a quarterly magazine published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, features an article by Loren Berlin, titled ‘On the Home Front’. In it, the author presents a “…four-part framework for a balanced and comprehensive housing strategy (that) groups individual policies into broader categories, so communities can assess where there are gaps in their local housing strategy and work to close them.” P.18

Given that there’s much conversation today about developing raw land into land lease communities designed to site HUD-Code manufactured housing, this local housing solutions policy framework needs as wide distribution and as much attention as possible. So here goes:

Part I. Create and Preserve Dedicated Affordable Housing Units. Accomplish this via

• Establishing incentives or requirements for affordable housing
• Generate revenue for affordable housing
• Support affordable housing through subsidies
• Preserve existing affordable housing
• Expand availability of affordable housing in resource-rich areas
• Create durable affordable homeownership opportunities
• Facilitate the acquisition or identification of land for affordable housing

Part II. Reduce Barriers to New Supply via

• Reduce development costs and barriers
• Create incentives for new development

Part III. Help Households Access and Afford Private market Homes by

• Providing tenant-based rental assistance
• Promoting mobility for housing choice voucher holders
• Reducing energy use and costs
• Combatting housing discrimination

Part IV. Protect Against Displacement and Poor Housing Conditions

• Enhance renters’ housing stability
• Enhance homeowners’ housing stability
• Improve quality of both new and existing housing
• Ensure Ongoing viability of unsubsidized affordable rental properties

With this said, what are the actual resources available to would be developers of new land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’)? Well they’re ‘far and few’ these days, but here’s where to begin:

‘Development, Marketing & Operation of Manufactured Home Communities’ was published by J. Wiley & Sons in 1994, and again in 1996, it was that popular at the time. It’s long out of print, but used copies are available online – and most of the principles espoused continue to be valid. The co-authors, George Allen & Edward Hicks are retired, and David Alley is deceased. Frankly, this is the largest unmet educational need in the manufactured housing industry today! Surely today’s developers can improve on this 26 year old data.

The Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) continues to plan and host annual seminars on ‘developing with manufactured housing’. However, the longtime instructors, Don Westphal and Roderick Knoll are both approaching retirement; so there too is a dire need for contemporary information and guidance relative to land lease community development.

In my opinion, the manufactured housing industry in general, has never demonstrated strong support, if any support at all, for individuals – usually capable, experienced freelance consultants, to spend time and resources preparing manuscripts teaching housing practitioners how to effectively and correctly develop raw land into land lease communities. And until this attitude changes, the industry will be constrained by its’ lack of knowledge and acumen on this timely and critical topic.


OK, so now there’s a policy framework in place for a local housing solution that allows for raw land development into a land lease community. What’s next, if not already underway? A Business Plan; one that serves as a coordinated and collaborative exercise of planning for everyone involved, as a tool for gaining external funding for said project, and a continuing reference source to guide future efforts and actions of the organization involved in the development.

Business Plans typically answer a number of standard questions, e.g.:

• Who is involved in the project?
• What is the nature of the opportunity or organizational advantage of the project?
• What contextual factors will affect the development process from start to finish?
• Are there inter-organizational relationships that strengthen the proposed plan?
• What decisions have been made to increase the probability of project success?

The 13 basic components of a comprehensive Business Plan*1, e.g.

• Title Page
• Executive Summary of the Business Plan
• Table of Contents
• Program/Initiative Descriptions
• Analysis of Organizational Context
• Marketing/Promotion Plan*2
• Operational Aspects
• Management/Administration
• Organization and Personnel Involved
• Funds Required and Their Planned Use
• Financial Projections
• Business Controls
• Appendices

There more than can be added to this list, as need be, e.g. project timeline, sources of information and data, descriptive charts and graphs, etc…

End Notes:

1. This information culled from Training magazine, 2010.
2. Six Right Ps of Marketing relative to land lease community home sales and rental homesite leasing: Right product re: homes and homesites; right place (location); right price*3; right promotion per USP (Unique Selling Proposition); right people trained and supervised; and right process proper (of implementing and monitoring performance from start to finish).
3. To properly price new and resale homes in land lease communities and on scattered homesites conveyed fee simple, use the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ relative to AGI (annual gross income) and AMI (area median income). Visit

George Allen, CPM, MHM

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