LANSING– To protect manufactured home residents’ rights and prevent unscrupulous behavior by bad actors, State Rep. John Cherry (D-Flint) and State Rep. Mike Mueller (R-Linden) alongside State Representatives Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian), Tim Sneller (D-Burton), TC Clements (R-Temperance), Angela Witwer (D-Delta Township), and Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores), introduced House Bills 4298-4304 on February 23, 2021.
“No matter your political party, you should agree that every Michigander has the right to safe, affordable housing. In recent years, out-of-state investors have started buying up manufactured home communities in Michigan,” said Cherry. “This bill package will help prevent bad actors from taking advantage of our communities and ensure that our good local owners don’t suffer the consequences of others.”
Private investment firms have been purchasing manufactured home communities across Michigan, often taking over for small ‘mom & pop’ operations. This has led to increased rents, new fees, and in some cases, additional school taxes even though residents already paid local school millages in their property taxes.
“Community members are saying they aren’t seeing the results of these increased fees or receiving clear explanations from park management about where the money is going. We need to make sure that residents are protected,” said Kahle.
Currently, the Michigan Manufactured Housing Commission cannot approve or deny a license for manufactured home park owners or operators, limiting its effectiveness in protecting residents.
“Manufactured home communities play a vital role in helping many people stay afloat financially and achieve home ownership,” said Witwer. “We should ensure that residents can feel secure in their rights and protect the good owners and operators, as the Commission was intended to do.”
House Bills 4298-4304 clarify and expand enforcements of rules, prevent unlicensed park owners from collecting rent, put in place safeguards in the abandoned titling process, and change leasing requirements to better protect residents.
“My bill requires everyone living in a manufactured home to be offered a lease and a renewal when that lease expires,” said Mueller. “This bill is also intended to protect good actors, with details regarding owner and resident rights clearly laid out in the text of the lease. This will help them know their rights.”
Many residents have also reported that it is difficult to figure out who to contact when communications with their park operators cannot be made or fail to resolve the issues they’re experiencing. House Bill 4301 would create a public database with contact information for park owners and management.
“My bill aims to ensure transparency on the part of manufactured home park owners and operators by requiring a regularly updated public database with contact information for all parks in Michigan,” said Sneller.
House Bills 4298-4304 were initially referred to the House Regulatory Reform Committee. They received a hearing on March 23, 2021, with consumer advocates, industry stakeholders and manufactured housing residents testifying in support.