As investors continue to eye mobile home parks as a profitable opportunity, current residents, many elderly and low-income, face steep rent hikes and possible eviction.
"With prices and rents for all kinds of housing soaring in many parts of the country, demand for manufactured housing is climbing. Many young professional families and college students turn to mobile home parks as a final vestige of relatively affordable housing," reports Sophie Kasakove in The New York Times. But as more investors seek to take advantage of mobile home parks as affordable redevelopment opportunities, this once-affordable housing option faces extinction.
Last year, after a campaign led by residents of the Sans Souci mobile home park near Boulder, Colorado, the state enacted a law that requires mobile home park owners to notify residents of their intent to sell, giving them the opportunity to purchase the property themselves. Planetizen previously amplified an NPR story detailing the challenges faced by residents attempting to form ownership coops as they fight the rising threat of eviction.
"But in the two years since Colorado’s opportunity-to-purchase law went into effect, only Sans Souci and two other parks have been sold to residents," writes Kasakove. "In 20 cases, park owners failed to notify residents in compliance with the law before selling, according to data from the state Department of Local Affairs. In others, residents were notified but struggled to coalesce quickly enough to make a purchase offer."
Now, Colorado State Representative Andrew Boesenecker has introduced legislation that beefs up the opportunity-to-purchase law by requiring owners to let residents or government agencies make the first offer and limiting rent increases to 3 percent per year. "Another bill is being drafted that would give residents access to a loan fund that would help them compete with private equity firms, many of which receive government-sponsored financing to purchase parks."
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