There are bad operators in every industry that disgrace themselves and their fellow industry members. Presuming Syringa Mobile Home Park is as bad as these reports suggest, Mobile Home Park owners across the country will fully support government and tenant actions against the owner. By all means, prosecute your actions against the owner. Jail him. The situation is bad for the tenants, the community, the park industry, government officials, and even the crappy owner/operator himself. His park is probably now worth a fraction of what it would have been if maintained properly. This is a lose-lose scenario. And that’s why there are so few of these situations.
As a landlord, I pay money for maintenance, cleaning, upkeep, property beautification, water, sewer, waste management, property taxes… All of these expenses are good for my tenants and my community. Even presuming I’m a cold hearted, self-centered, evil capitalist, these expenditures are smart for me too. My property investment is preserved, and maybe even enhanced. My lender doesn’t call my loan and may even encourage me to borrow more money. My insurance company will charge me lower premiums. My tenants will be happy and pay rent. And if I lose a tenant, I’ll have a new tenant eager to move in. This is a win-win scenario. And that’s why there are more like mine than like Syringa Mobile Home Park.
Regarding tenant owned parks, some like those put in place by ROC are indeed nice places that afford the owners a decent place to live. However, it’s also a fact that housing projects that offer affordable housing like some manufactured home subdivisions (where the home owners also own the land) are generally worse kept, worse managed, and overall worse places to live compared to a Mobile Home Park (where a landlord owns the land). In parks, a Lease requires that all tenants behave and keep their home site and home up to minimum standards. The Park owner has an incentive to keep it nice. In affordable home subdivisions, less stringent property management and behavior rules couple with less ability and fewer incentives to enforce them. This results in less desirable places to live. There’s no one with the time, money and incentives to manage all the residents in a manner that enhances the subdivision for all.
The NPR article is an interesting story about a bad landlord and unnecessary suffering by our fellow man. However, it’s not an accurate depiction of typical Mobile Home Parks and owners across the country. And its premise that land ownership by the Mobile Home Owner would universally solve issues like those in Syringa Mobile Home Park is simply wrong.
(Editor’s Note: the headline, photo and graphics above and to the left are provided by the publisher, the rest of the content are just as Kelley sent it to us for publication. That said, Kelley is being a bit modest and perhaps tongue-in-cheek. Kelley is an attorney who operates an insurance agency that works with hundreds of manufactured home communities across the country. So his observations as a landlord and as a highly informed professional are a pointed refutation of what NPR’s Daniel Zwerdling claims is typical. NPR responded to questions by MHProNews by saying that they stand by Zwerling’s report. An update with link and additional information will be coming, so please check back to this post.)