How Resident-Owned Mobile Home Parks Can Protect Affordable Housing

Cooperative ownership can provide housing stability for low-income residents and protect them from land rent spikes and poor management.

2 minute read

March 12, 2024, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Row of mobile homes in 55+ community in Oceano, California.

Manufactured home park in Oceano, California restricted to residents 55 and older. | Hanna Tor / Adobe Stock

In an article for the Daily Yonder, Lia Kvatum highlights the benefits of resident-owned mobile home parks, which provide added housing security for low-income households.

Resident-owned parks are one solution to a growing affordability crisis in the sector, where institutional investors have been buying up mobile home parks and raising land rents, forcing former residents out. As Kvatum explains, “In a resident-owned community, residents own and manage the property cooperatively. Residents get a say in setting rent and investing in upkeep and improvements.”

Mobile home parks, while often overlooked, are an important source of affordable housing. “A 2023 article in the Journal of the American Planning Association found that ‘more Americans live in manufactured housing than in public and federally subsidized rental housing combined.’”

To date, nineteen states have legislation that offers residents some protection when a manufactured home park goes up for sale, but those don’t include the states with the highest number of mobile home parks. “According to Carolyn Carter at the National Consumer Law Center, only eight states have “strong” protections for residents when a community is sold.”

Meanwhile, the loans available to manufactured housing residents are more like car loans than home mortgages, meaning rates are typically higher. “And because in most states they are not considered houses but vehicles, owners don’t qualify for home equity loans for any improvements they make.”

Monday, March 11, 2024 in The Daily Yonder

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