Manufactured Home Community Residents on ‘Rent Strike,’ Republican Lawmaker Calls Foul



In New York State, numerous incidents connected to manufactured home communities and manufactured homes has been making news. But not in a positive way.

Recently, there were several dozen cases of rent-to-own or ‘contract-for-title’ transactions by community operators that caught the ire of the N.Y. State Attorney General’s office. ICYMI: see that in the article linked here or further below. But in this incident report, it’s not a Democratic run AG’s office, but a Republican state legislator who has taken up the cause of residents “fighting back” against a Florida based investment group.

The local news video by WIVB-TV posted provides a reasonably balanced report about what the community owner says, as well as what the residents’ complaints are. The community is named the Akron Mobile Home Park, in Akron, NY. That land-lease community purchased by Sunrise Capital Investors in 2017 is compared and contrasted with a nearby manufactured home community where the management and owner are local.  That local owner is also interviewed for the Channel 4 video below.



There is no mention of MHAction or NMHOA in the WIVB-TV video. But it sounds as if a group like theirs could have been background advisors. Or perhaps their literature or website(s) inspired residents and/or influenced local media reporting.

That said, while the video is reasonably balanced and reflects the tensions and pressures on all sides, there is what appears to be a factual error in the WIVB-TV narrative. In their written report – linked here – Channel 4 cited Warren Buffett as an owner of manufactured home communities. But Clayton Homes sold their land-lease communities not long after Chairman Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway purchased the Knoxville, TN metro company. Per reports, Buffett did not want to be viewed as ‘raising the rents on grandma.’

The Channel 4 video also improperly uses word trailer,” but also uses the term “manufactured homes.” So, while they did better than many in reporting with correct terminology, perhaps local media may be under the common misimpression that a ‘mobile home’ is a ‘trailer house,’ which savvy industry professionals know is not the case.


The terminology matters because
the terminology determines the
construction standards a home was
built to,” Steve Duke, LMHA.
You must meet people where they are. Terminology must be taught and caught. Make a habit of using the correct terminology. Trailers could be pulled with a car or pickup truck, but by the mobile home era, those dwellings required more specialized and heavy duty equipment to move the unit.  As one group noted, they are “immobile homes” in the HUD Code manufactured home era. 

As the manufactured home industry’s professionals considers why there is a lack of serious growth in manufactured housing, reports like this one must be considered as a factor. This story in Akron, NY reflects several dynamics, one of which is arguably the need for a solid post-production trade group that represents the interests of independents. While the reporting appears balanced, a properly run post-production trade group could be heading off some problematic practices. Or as in the case of the report above, bring in one or more operations that don’t use allegedly aggressive practices that threaten – as a resident of Akron Mobile Home Park says – those resisting stiff rent hikes with ‘economic eviction’ and ‘fear tactics.’

But an element missing from this report is this. It must not be imagined by the public that privately owned or publicly traded communities are the only ones who have issues, as the story from the hot-linked text-image box below reminds us.

Thorns and Roses In Manufactured Home Community Controversy


Furthermore, arguably the bulk of manufactured home community owners and operators don’t make this kind of problematic kind of news.


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MHProNews plans a related report and will monitor this developing case at the Akron Mobile Home Park in Akron, NY. While the Manufactured Housing Institute holds their winter fund-raiser -err, winter meeting – in Austin, TX, welcome to the ongoing drama that is buffeting MHVille in 2019. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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