This troubling story out of the northern U.S. is one that periodically crops up in state-after-state. As Amy Bliss, the Wisconsin Housing Alliance (WHA) state association executive director recently said to MHReview (MHR), “The biggest reason for community closures is because the municipality revokes the license to operate because the owner has let the community go into a state of disrepair. I hate to see Wisconsin lose sites and it is extremely sad for the tenants.”
This specific planned closure of a condemned community is in the state of Michigan. The reasons cited by officials include a state of disrepair that the residents at this community can no longer successfully address, because of what local media says is an ‘absentee’ owner in Canada.
Per WLNS, in Jackson County, Michigan, “Several families in a Jackson mobile home park will be forced to leave on March 13th because of unfit and dangerous living conditions.”
The issues of alleged bad management and poor maintenance at the Fisher Mobile Home Park date back for a year.
Don Hayduk, Division Director for Environmental Health, Hayduck said he knows condemning the property isn’t convenient for the residents. But that official says he believes that resident safety has to come first.
“I like it here, and…I don’t want to move,” says Ginger, a current resident at Fisher says in the video posted produced by WLNS. “I hate change.”
It seems likely that the costs of living are low, which is something for cash-strapped residents to like.
But moving is exactly what Ginger and other remaining residents at the community will have to do in about 8 days, if they hold to the order. Fisher Mobile Home Park was condemned by the Health Department for several reasons, dating back for more than a year.
Hayduk said absentee management is a factor.
“There is no onsite management and hasn’t been for quite some time,” Hayduk says. “They don’t have a certified water operator, as per Michigan requirements, as well as the park is unlicensed at this point.”
It should be noted that in this instance, based upon the visual evidence from the video, the community appears to be comprised mostly – or perhaps entirely – of pre-HUD Code mobile homes. If so, it is indeed a “mobile home park.”
Remaining residents have been trying to handle problems themselves, but can’t.
“It is beyond their capability,” Hayduk stated. “And I give them all the credit in the world, the residents. They are trying their best to live there, to create an environment that is acceptable for them. But it’s gotten to the point where it’s not sustainable.”
According to WLNS, different Michigan agencies have tried contacting the property owner, who they say lives in Canada. The video report indicated that there has been no response.
A case worker was assigned by public officials to the Fisher MHP to help those remaining families and households find new places to live once time runs out.
Not Just MH Communities, but Manufactured Home Industry Impacts?
It is one more headache for residents, and one more black eye for the industry. Community closures are all too commonplace. How they are handled – or mishandled – is an ongoing issue for community operators, and the industry at large, since about 1/3 of all new manufactured homes are installed in a land-lease community, per the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).
It must be considered as part of the puzzle of items that contribute to shirking new home sales at the very time that affordable housing is most needed. You can access the related report below, and others that follow the byline, by clicking on the linked text-image box.
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One might wonder what is next for this Jackson County, MI location? Will it be redeveloped? Is the city doing the work of eviction for an absentee owner who wanted to see the property closed in as inexpensive a way as possible?
The Daily Business News on MHProNews will strive to monitor this matter, and others like it. See the related reports below the byline, notices, and business development opportunities for industry commentary on this and similar issues.
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As with many things in life, the matter of park closings is highly complicated with few easy answers. Probably the best answer is to allow the park residents the option to purchase the property.
It seems as though the resident in the Denver Meadows incident reported online is not sharing the whole story. Most of these stories are more complicated with much history behind each property sale. For example, in many cases, the property owner has offered the Community to the Residents long before re-developing.
How can we promote homeownership and sell new homes on leased land and at the same time close communities? It’s like selling tickets to a zoo where ‘ only 1 in a 100 are eaten by the lions!