Some manufactured home gardens are being purchased by companies and investors across the country and they are using government-backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans to purchase them.
Logan – Palatial Living, a manufactured home gardener in Logan, recently sent a note to its residents telling them their condo rent is going up. One person in their late 70s living on Social Security in a large-scale mobile home has raised their condo rent by $65 a month. Rent went from $595 to $650 just for the land the trailer sits on and the utilities.
“I’m going to have a hard time paying my rent, buying food, and paying the rest of my bills,” said the person, who wished to remain anonymous. “What should I do?”
This person said most of the neighbors are in the same boat, but some have medical issues taking off, wondering how to stay afloat as the pads charge increases.
The caravan park was recently sold and residents are reporting that the new owners do not leave any contact information and it has been reported that site managers are not receptive to residents’ concerns.
Apparently, the Palatial Living incident isn’t a solo event. More and more companies and investors across the country are using government-backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans to purchase manufactured home communities, then raising prices on homeowners to inflate the property’s value.
Mobile or manufactured homes were at one time a less expensive alternative for individuals and families to live in. During the current housing shortage, manufactured homes can be a source of easing the gap between high-priced homes and rents. While mobile home park owners need to make a profit, some homeowners don’t have many options to increase their income. They live on a stable income like Social Security and retirement.
At the same time, land value is increasing and some mobile home park owners are selling Ma and Pop and individuals are looking for more profitable possibilities of the property. New owners are raising the prices of trailer rigs, making it difficult for some of the most vulnerable in the community who live in them.
To make matters worse, mobile home park residents have no one to listen to their concerns. There are no city or state housing commissions to protect residents of manufactured homes in the communities where they rent pads.
Mike Desimone, director of community development for Logan City, said they have no authority to handle home garden manufacturing complaints.
“We can go have people remove their cars from the jack stands or remove trash from their property,” he said. “We do not have jurisdiction to deal with disputes with landlords.”
It can certainly be frustrating for tenants, said Braden Asper, an attorney who handles landlord-tenant issues for Bearnson and Caldwell, LLC in Logan.
“There is an inherent division between the rights a property owner has with regard to the use and enjoyment of his land and the basic need of individuals to find and maintain a place to live,” he said. “Utah tends to adhere closely to equity principles that require a court to consider the lease the parties choose to enter into when dictating their performance.”
With the housing market tight, Asper said, it doesn’t leave tenants with much negotiating power. Utah has enacted additional legislation to protect trailer owners. It is necessary to read the lease agreement and determine if the owner of the trailer is willing to accept the terms. If not, consider submitting a counter-proposal to your landlord.
“In Utah, with narrow exceptions, trailer owners must abide by the dictates of the leasehe said. “Most leases allow the landlord to transfer his interest to a new landlord.”
The tenant, as well as the new owner, must still follow the terms of the original lease agreement for the term of the lease agreement in effect. There isn’t much a trailer owner can do about the lease once it’s signed.
“Moving trailers is expensive. Landlords in Trailerpark often reserve the right to change the cost of utilities or modify the rent during the lease. If the lease states this, they can do so as long as they give 60 days’ notice of the change,” Asper said. The tenant can then either move the trailer, sell it, or absorb the new expenses. governed by market forces.
He said mobile home owners should consider the long-term protection it might offer them. If they want to avoid the huge cost of moving their trailers and want to secure a set amount of pillow rent, they should consider committing to a longer term.
Median sale prices for homes in Utah were $414,000 in 2020, and in 2021 they jumped to $657,500, an increase of nearly 60 percent. Even if manufactured homes could be an option, people with fixed incomes may not be able to purchase manufactured homes and afford pillow rent. The housing crisis continues to make it difficult for those on low incomes.