Iowa Regency: Fit for a King? Not. Not Yet

TheGazette reports from Iowa City, Iowa, that Regency Mobile Home Park in Johnson County has been the target of complaints in recent years for poor water quality, abandoned homes, and charges of fraud. Johnson County does not have jurisdiction over enforcing improvements to the 230 homesite community; its board of health can only require the premises to be safe and free of vermin. Last summer Regency, which sits just outside Iowa City city limits, paid a $7,000 fine for water quality issues dating back to 2005, and agreed to upgrade the system. Residents say the water quality is better but some still refuse to drink it. When Anthony Williams bought three homes in Regency last summer he was not aware $8,000 in back taxes were owed on the units, nor did he receive clear titles. Williams’ issue has since been resolved, but Assistant Attorney General Ben Bellus is investigating other issues involving titles. Some residents were threatened with eviction for not paying rent even though they had receipts, a complaint Bellus also says the company addressed. A bill in the state legislature to give residents of LLCs more rights was voted down. A meeting was held last December in Johnson County to give the county power to require repairs to nuisance properties, aimed at Regency. Farmers feared proposed regulations concerning plumbing, electricity and HVAC systems might affect their homes and out buildings. State law does not allow codes to apply to manufactured housing and not to other owner-occupied homes. The article notes that the community does not look as bad as it once did, but says there are still over a dozen homes with boarded-up windows, and some with bottom panels missing. Volunteers from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church have cleaned up debris and repaired some of the homes, according to Rev. Bill Kneemiller. He says the current manager is “making a real attempt to keep the park up to standards.” However, Board of Supervisors Chairman Pat Harney continues to receive complaints about abandoned homes. The community is operated by Regency of Iowa, Inc., a subsidiary of Colorado-based Churchill group. The reporter notes calls to the local and corporate offices were not returned in preparation for this story. Anthony Williams sums it up: “You have to make do with what you got.” (A Nov. 1 story in our Daily Business News report stated Churchill is closing its Regency in Columbia, MO.)

(Photo credit: David Scrivener/TheGazette)


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