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

April 21, 2022


Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 7:01 am

Blog Posting # 686. Copyright @ 22 April 2022. EducateMHC

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

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: The ‘Put Up or Shut Up!’ blog posting last week touched a nerve throughout the manufactured housing industry and among land lease community owners/operators nationwide. I’ve stopped counting the number of (all positive to date) responses we’ve received to date. Part I, here following, pretty much encompasses the viewpoints expressed in various forms of correspondence to us. And Part II is taking on increased importance as some new owners of communities continue to jack their rental homesite rates and add new fees. Doing so is akin to shooting oneself in one’s foot. We’ve ‘been here before’ and endured the resulting shakeouts among other new players. We’ll continue to watch and report on how this unfolds.



Last week in blog posting # 685, you learned of “…criticism that MHI (‘Manufactured Housing Institute’) does not truly and fully advocate for the entire manufactured housing industry, particularly its’ post-production segments (e.g. communities, finance, state associations, service firms, suppliers, etc.)” Criticism articulated by an ‘online publisher, MHARR (‘Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform’) and others of like mind’.

It was suggested, in the same blog posting, these parties should “…plan and convene a national gathering for everyone interested in improving advocacy for the post-production segments of the manufactured housing industry.” – on the 16th of August at or near the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Hall of Fame, Library & Museum in Elkhart, IN. – the day after the induction of ten RV/MH pioneers and executives are inducted into the prestigious Hall of Fame.

Well, the cited criticism, and possibility of a national gathering to discuss and resolve this perennial issue stimulated responses, plenty of them. And while most of it was positive, there were two reality checks amongst the whole that warrant mention here.

First off, in light of the ‘put up or shut up’ challenge to the online publisher, MHARR, and like-minded individuals, such a national meeting might well cut two ways:

• Is this issue or matter, Real or Not? If the former, it begs inquiry and discussion.

• Furthermore, degree of response to this call for a national gathering will make clear, once and for all, the degree of tacit and real support these disparate parties have.

And then there’s this second reality check. Given the political power brokers at play within MHI today (disparagingly known as the Big Boys Club), especially – in my opinion – in the manufacturers and finance divisions, and National Communities Council (manifested by who’s ‘in power’ or office, at any given time), why not expect this sort of power play to be replicated in any new advocacy organization, especially one birthed to serve post-production segments of the manufactured housing industry? After all, this is pretty much what occurred within the NCC division within a few years after it was formed.

So, given these reactions so soon after this call for national action, where do matters stand at present? I have no idea. But in my opinion, the online publisher, MHARR, and like-minded individuals should ‘man up’, once and for all, and make a very public play for independent post-production advocacy, or STOP complaining about the matter going forward. As said before, ‘Put Up or Shut Up!’


‘Sitting on a time bomb’: Mobile home (park) residents at risk in red-hot housing market. Yes, that’s the way the headline read in a recent issue of Colorado Newsline. The article was penned by Ariana Figueroa, a reporter in Washington, DC.

In the article we learn there’s an estimated 2.7 million homes in 49 states, 45,600 ‘mobile home parks’, and the 2019 average cost of a manufactured home was $82,000.

And we also learn this: “Mobile home parks (i.e. land lease communities) provide affordable housing for millions of low-income residents – including seniors on fixed incomes – (who) own homes while renting the land underneath.” One homeowner/site lessee, a Mr. Zany “who pays $550 a month for his lot (rental homesite) compared to an average rent in the area of $1,700 monthly for a one-bedroom apartment.” What’s interesting about this scenario is it closely follows the pattern of the traditional Rule of Thumb comparing rental rates of rental homesites in land lease communities and conventional (non-subsidized) apartments in the same local housing market. The Rule of Thumb? To estimate the appropriate rental homesite rate for a land lease community, identify the average rent charged for a rental apartment in the same local housing market. For example. In this instance, average apartment rent is $1,700/month. Divide this by three and the result is $566. very close to the $550 cited in the article. So, in this instance, the apartment and land lease community rental rates are in sync.

A caveat. In today’s ‘red-hot housing market’, among land lease communities, the traditional 1:3 Rule of Thumb has morphed – due to large rental homesite rate increases, to 1:2. In other words, in the previous example, given $1,700 apartment unit rent, expect land lease community rental homesite rates to be closer to $850/month, rather than $550 or $560. Now, that’s a market where apartment and land lease community monthly rents are ‘out of sync’!

This sad reality is playing out in states throughout the U.S. as ‘Rent-Control Measures (become) a Top Priority for Local Lawmakers’ (title of a feature article in the March/April 2022 issue of Real Estate Forum. (p.6) And the article goes on to say: “…estimates (are) that home-rental prices have increased an average of 18% across the US during the past two years, hitting record levels with some cities reporting rent hikes of 30%.”

And get this! “The national housing crunch is so severe, it’s impacting mobile-home (park) occupants. Colorado is debating a new law that would cap rent increases on space at mobile-home lots (rental homesites) where rents have surged by as much as 50%.”

Harkening back to Part I of this blog posting, the ‘exorbitant rental homesite rate’ scenario today, is one reason some/many land lease community owners/operators are clamoring for alternative representation on the national level – along the lines of the National Apartment Association (‘NAA’) and Multi-housing Council, where issues are researched and resolved. And just like MHARR is widely regarded – and respected, as the manufactured housing industry’s ‘Watchdog in Washington, DC’, the realty asset class needs like representation, – whether it be a renewed NCC division at MHI, or a new national advocacy entity altogether. Same with the finance sector of post-production firms. How long will the industry abide excuses as to why we can’t access more chattel capital (i.e. home-only loans), and why there’s still no secondary market for selling-off seasoned manufactured housing loans?

Frankly, we – as an industry and unique income-producing property type, could well be on the cusp of taking a major step towards renewed productivity and prosperity, if/when we demand more of our salaried and volunteer leaders on the national and state levels. The question is whether this is accomplished with present day organizations or new ones willing to fight for what is needed, e.g. more chattel capital, a secondary finance market, and less regulation (i.e. rent control and other forms of landlord/tenant legislation), for starters.

George Allen, CPM, MHM

P.S. Watch for next week’s blog posting. Penning it already, and it’ll include a practical plan, by an industry executive, for getting our industry out of the 10% production doldrums.

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