On 3.2.2022 a report by Shalom Baer Gee stated that “Operations catch attention of ND Manufactured Housing Association.” According to the newspaper’s website, on 1.6.2022 an announcement was posted that Shalom Baer Gee had joined the Minot Daily News (MDN) as a “Staff Writer.” Gee’s MND subheading said, “Mobile home [SIC] park companies register with state.” Her report says that “Parkview Mobile Home Park in southeast Minot after Oakland Communities of Minot sold the property along with Western Village in Minot.” The out-of-state buyer is reported as Delaware registered, and New Jersey based, Homes of America LLC. Among the complaints raised by residents, per MND’s report, are the following.
- “Residents of both parks in Minot reported lack of communication and maintenance that went on for at least seven weeks after the sale.”
- “Another resident stated that the online portal showed that she owed January rent a month after making the payment.”
Gee said that “Kent French, director of governmental affairs at the North Dakota Manufactured Housing Association, has taken interest in the situation and stated that the companies are not in compliance with the law.” The backdrop to these recent events are outlined in the following headlines.
The Dickerson Press reported on 4.25.2021 that “Mobile Home Residents Group Undeterred After North Dakota Tenant Rights Bill Gets Watered Down.”
The issue has drawn the attention of the National Manufactured Home Owners Association (NMHOA) resident advocacy group. They posted this on their Facebook page, which says: “The mission of NMHOA is to promote, represent, preserve, and enhance the rights and interests of manufactured home-owners throughout the United States.”
With that noted, Some additional pull quotes reflects elements of the allegations of state laws being broken by Homes of America, per MND’s reporting on French’s statements.
- “We are made up of the people that own and manage the communities, and dealerships, bankers, numerous people that have something to do with our industry,” French said. “One would think that we would be on the side of the people that are purchasing the new properties, but when they take advantage of the individuals that live in the communities, that hurts our industry.”
- French said he had a hand in writing Senate Bill 2159, which passed during the 2021 legislative assembly and laid out rules that mobile home park owners and purchasers must follow.
- According to the bill, someone who owns or purchases an existing mobile home park must designate a local office that is operational on the fifth business day after the change of ownership, have a designated phone number that’s manned during business hours, have an operational emergency phone number that is manned at all times and respond to tenant inquiries and complaints within two business days after receiving them.
- “They are breaking the law,” French said.
On 2.14, Haylie was named as the manager of the two land-lease communities. Haylie, said the MND, “confirmed that there is not a local management office at this time.”
French reportedly contacted Minot area legislators to notify them about the situation. French wants to revisit is the penalties for not adhering to the rules laid out in Senate Bill 2159. Violations currently could be subject to a civil penalty not exceeding $1,000 or actual damages, whichever is less, plus reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
“One of the debates we had on it was the enforcement of it, and most people in North Dakota understand that businesses usually care about their people, and things can happen where there can be a slip up or something like that. These people just don’t care. They flat don’t care,” French said, per MND.
— The Minot Daily News (@MinotDailyNews) March 2, 2022
Additional Information, More MHProNews Analysis and Commentary in Brief
MHProNews has repeatedly asked the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) corporate and staff leaders, as well as their attorneys, about why they have apparently failed to enforce their code of ethical conduct.
MHI’s CEO Lesli Gooch, Ph.D., recently replied to a request from Ayden, NC Mayor Pro-Tem Ivory Mewborn. But per Mewborn, she has not actually acted upon his request. MHI again declined comment.
French’s reported claim that: “when they take advantage of the individuals that live in the communities, that hurts our industry” is a commonsense perspective. It fits what a MHEC member told MHProNews.
That also fits what Darren Krolewski said was a problem holding back our industry. Namely, far more ‘bad news’ reported than good news.
It remains to be seen if MHI will accept the invitation to debate their performance, or lack thereof, at a live discussion proposed for the Biloxi show. So far, no reply.
MHProNews will continue to monitor and report on resident, association, legal, and other pushback against concerns of predatory and illegal behavior by brands that often have seemingly clear connections with MHI. Learn more from related reports linked above and below. ##
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By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing.
For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
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