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‘Keeping Our Mobile Home Communities Safe, Well-Maintained, Affordable is Vital’ – Attorney General Wm Tong Testimony, More Follow Probe of Sun Communities (SUI) Issue–Latest MHI Member Scandal?

KeepingOurMobileHomeCommunitiesSafeWellMaintainedAffordableIsVitalAttyGeneralWmTongTestimonyFollowProbeOfSunCommunitiesSUIProudmemberMHILogoLatestMHImemberScandalMastMHProNews

The Office of the Attorney General William Tong has made the following information available to MHProNews and others in media. That will be Part I of today’s report, with Part II being focused on Additional Related Information with More MHProNews Analysis and Commentary. Note that Kathy Ecke, the regional vice president for Sun Communities in the instance addressed below, along with another Sun Communities connected senior management source have been asked to weigh in on these issues. They have as of 1 PM ET on 3.2.2023 they had not responded to MHProNews inquiries from yesterday afternoon.

Part I a. Per the Press Release from Connecticut (CT) Attorney General William Tong

TheOfficeOfAttorneyGeneralWilliamTongCT-AG-Tong-Masthead-MHProNews

Attorney General William Tong Launches Inquiry into Sun Communities Over Beechwood Community Concerns, Submits Testimony in Support of Mobile Manufactured Home Park Residents

QuoteMarksLeftSide(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong today sent a letter to Sun Community management opening an inquiry into longstanding property management concerns at Beechwood Community mobile manufactured home park in Killingworth. Attorney General Tong additionally submitted testimony regarding two legislative proposals seeking to ensure mobile home parks in Connecticut remain both affordable and well-managed.

Over the past year, the Office of the Attorney General has received numerous complaints from Beechwood Community residents in Killingworth who have seen sustained, escalating rent hikes despite deteriorating conditions. Beechwood residents, like many residents of mobile manufactured home parks, own their homes but pay monthly rent for the lot of land they sit on. That rent covers various common amenities, including property maintenance.

Beechwood was acquired by Sun Communities in 2019, one of several real estate investment trusts that have acquired hundreds of mobile home parks across the country. The result has been increased lot rent and decreased responsiveness to tenant needs, according to residents.

“Residents everywhere—regardless of the type of property—deserve affordable, safe, appropriately maintained housing. I fully support the Housing Committee in their efforts to ensure Connecticut’s mobile home communities remain an affordable option,” Attorney General Tong states in his testimony.

Attorney General Tong visited Beechwood in November to meet with residents. He heard complaints from dozens of residents regarding community-wide septic problems, among other concerns. Beechwood tenants reported that Sun has not kept up with regular septic tank maintenance, and as a result tenants are experiencing sewage back-ups into their sinks, toilets, and bathtubs. Many of these tenants are elderly and disabled. Some have paid out of pocket to have plumbers address problems resulting from these septic backups. One disabled resident complained of a large beehive in front of her porch. The management company said they did not have money in their budget to remove it. The tenant paid herself to get it removed. Another tenant complained that her stairs lacked rails and were loose. She reported that maintenance agreed they were dangerous, but management has yet to fix them.

In a letter to Sun Communities Regional Vice President Kathy Ecke, the Office of the Attorney General cites state statutes regulating the duties of mobile home park management, including maintenance of common areas in a “clean and safe condition” and the maintenance of water and sewer lines in “good working order.” The letter lists ten properties where residents have complained of septic-related problems and asks Sun for records of all complaints regarding those properties as well as records of septic tank maintenance. The letter further asks Sun to describe how the company is meeting its obligations to its residents under state law. ##

 

Part I b. The following letter from AG Tong’s Office was obtained by MHProNews

LexEtJustitiaAttorneyGeneralWilliamTongTestimonyHouseBillNo6589RentStablizationInMobileManufacturedHomeParksCommunitiesFeb21.2023Mast

QuoteMarksLeftSideThank you for the opportunity to submit testimony regarding House Bill No. 6589: An Act Concerning Rent Stabilization in Mobile Manufactured Home Parks.

The Office of the Attorney General fully supports the Committee’s efforts to protect mobile home residents through this proposal and a second bill the Committee heard last week, Senate Bill No. 988, An Act Concerning the Purchase of Mobile Manufactured Home Parks. It is no secret that Connecticut faces severe housing affordability challenges. According to a CTInsider analysis, Connecticut rents have risen steadily over the past five years, with exceptionally low vacancy rates driving rents even higher over the past two years. Mobile home communities remain some of the more affordable housing choices, particularly for low-income seniors. Keeping our mobile home communities safe, well-maintained, and affordable is vital. To that end, the rent cap of 2.5 percent, as provided for in H.B. 6589, may be appropriate to consider. If the Committee proceeds with a similar rent cap, I would urge you not to broadly carve out properties from the cap based on age.

Over the past year, my office has had numerous communications with residents from the Beechwood Community in Killingworth who have seen sustained, escalating rent hikes despite deteriorating conditions. Beechwood residents, like many residents of mobile manufactured home parks, own their homes but pay monthly rent for the lot of land they sit on. That rent covers various common amenities, including property maintenance. I urge the Committee to consider expanding this cap to consider not just rent paid for a “dwelling” but the “lot rent” more common in these communities as well.

I visited Beechwood last November and met with several dozen residents regarding the challenges they are experiencing.  These problems began in 2019, after Beechwood was acquired by Sun Communities, one of several real estate investment trusts that have acquired hundreds of mobile home parks across the country. Nationally private investors like Sun have purchased mobile home communities, replacing local ownership and management with out-of-town corporate executives who report to boards of directors and shareholders. The result has been increased lot rent and decreased responsiveness to tenant needs. Sun Communities owns several properties in Connecticut, including properties in Southington, Westbrook, Storrs, Uncasville, Old Mystic, and Danbury.

Residents of mobile home communities have little control over a change in ownership, despite the huge impact these changes have on their quality of life, pocketbooks, and property values. In the event of a sale, it is only fair that residents be given the opportunity match any sales price to purchase and manage their own community, as provided for in S.B 988.

When I visited Beechwood, I heard complaints from multiple residents regarding community-wide

septic problems. Beechwood tenants reported that Sun has not kept up with regular septic tank maintenance, and as a result tenants are experiencing sewage back-ups into their sinks, toilets, and bathtubs. Many of these tenants are elderly and disabled. Some have paid out of pocket to have plumbers address problems resulting from these septic backups. One disabled resident complained of a large beehive in front of her porch. The management company said they did not have money in their budget to remove it. The tenant paid herself to get it removed. Another tenant complained that her stairs lacked rails and were loose. She reported that maintenance agreed they were dangerous, but management has yet to fix them.

I have referred each of these complaints to the Department of Consumer Protection, which inspects, licenses, and investigates complaints from mobile home park residents, and enforces

Connecticut’s laws and regulations regarding these parks. My office is in close communication with DCP on this matter and I strongly support their work in this area. I will be bringing these complaints directly to the attention of Sun management as well.

Residents everywhere—regardless of the type of property—deserve affordable, safe, appropriately maintained housing. I fully support the Housing Committee in their efforts to ensure Connecticut’s mobile home communities remain an affordable option.   ##

 

Part II. Additional Information with More MHProNews Analysis and Commentary in Brief

The Masthead editorial blog on MHProNews has a nasty habit of using facts, evidence and applied commonsense in examining various manufactured housing industry controversies.  One of those posts from a few months ago is the one below that provides the MHI code of ethical conduct and then examines how some MHI members stack up against the standards their own ethical standards demand.

Rest of Story-Residents, Media Complain-RHP Properties on Evictions, ‘Discrimination,’ Stiff $ Hikes-Havenpark Communities Named-Where is Manufactured Housing Institute’s Code of Ethical Conduct?

 

Unlike others in manufactured housing trade media, MHLivingNews spotlighted the probe by AG Tong into Sun Communities in the issue their testimony and press release above referenced.

 

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/attorney-general-wm-tong-its-criminal-and-its-elder-abuse-sun-communities-in-latest-private-equity-mhville-drama-involving-major-manufactured-housing-institute-me/

 

The disconnect between various MHI claims and MHI's actual behavior has been underscored by years of reports like the ones linked herein.  See the report linked below to dig deeper into the troubling pattern of MHI's behavior as seen through the lens of one of their most recent emails to members.

ManufacturedHousingInstituteHousingAlertLOGOsupremeCourtChallengesCFPBFundingMHIbackstoryImplicationsExploredLegalContingencyChampionsWantedPlusMHVilleStocksUpdateMHProNews
https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/manufactured-housing-institute-housing-alert-supreme-court-case-challenges-cfpb-funding-mhi-backstory-implications-explored-legal-contingency-champions-w/

MHProNews continues to pursue a meaningful probe by public officials and/or contingency attorneys that are prepared to expose and profitably resolve the troubling issues that have plagued manufactured housing in the 21st century.  ##

Don’t Zag, Zig -Business Owners, Managers, Investors- Discover Superior Way to Do Manufactured Housing – ‘Excellence in Manufactured Home Consumer, Professional Experience’ Plan – Facts & Analysis

Crow Time? Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) File Suit v DOE’s MH Energy Rule Regs, Case No. 23-cv-00174 – Docs, MHARR Factor, Analysis

 

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They may have wildly different political views, but on the above phrase, they have word for word said the same thing at various times. That discovery was made in part by reading sources and people we didn't necessarily agree with.

Stay tuned for more of what is 'behind the curtains' as well as what is obvious and in your face reporting that are not found anywhere else in MHVille. It is all here, which may explain why this is the runaway largest and most-read source for authentic manufactured home “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)

CongRepAlGreenDeskTamasKovachLATonyKovachPhoto12.3.2019ManufacturedHomeProNews
All on Capitol Hill were welcoming and interested with the discussion of manufactured housing related issues on our 12.3.2019 meetings. But Texas Congressman Al Green's (D) office was tremendous in their hospitality. Our son's hand is on a package that included the Constitution of the United States and other goodies. As political independents, MHProNews has worked with people and politicos across the left-right divide.

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.

http://latonykovach.com

Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

 

Related References:

The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.

 

Pondering ‘The Only Place Success Comes Before Work is in the Dictionary’ – Vince Lombardi – How it Applies in All Professions, Including Manufactured Housing – Life Hacks Analysis

“Federated States Newsletter” Uncovers Manufactured Housing Institute Behavior and Lack of Effectiveness at Their Own Claimed Advocacy – MHI’s Own Words, 3rd Party Facts, Plus Expert Commentary

 

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