Mom and pop owned mobile home parks across Iowa and the U.S. are being bought up by greedy out of state companies that then drastically increase the cost to live there. New owners have been jacking up rents as much as 50-70% forcing residents out of their homes in some cases, or to have to choose between medicine and rent. Sometimes there are lengthy, incomprehensible, take-it-or-leave-it contracts that are decidedly unfriendly to the home owner. Owning a mobile home has been a source of affordable housing for seniors, people on disability and low wage workers. Until now.
State Senator Zach Wahls (D-Coralville) has shown great leadership on this issue and chaired a hearing Saturday with testimony from park residents around the state as well as representatives from the Iowa Manufactured Housing Association and others.
We are starting to understand the reality of what is happening across this state.
Every single voice that we heard in this room is just one part of a story that is unfolding across Iowa. It is my deep hope that the mom and pop operators in this state who for a long time have done the right thing and who we heard a lot of affection for today, will do the right thing, that they will continue to make affordable housing an option for residents and that they will join us in fighting back against rent gouging from greedy out of state corporations who don’t see Iowans, they see dollar signs. We need help. We hear that there is an openness to working with the legislature. I deeply hope that is sincere… It is my hope that the Iowans in this room will work together to protect this state, the Iowans across this state who are hurting because we deserve better than what is happening right now.
For this to advance we will need a bipartisan – Democrats and Repbulicans in the house and senate – working together to put people first. Don’t just lobby your own legislators. Encourage your friends and family across the state to get in touch with their respresentatives and senators to make sure they are hearing from people in their districts about what is happening across the state.
Listen to the heart wrenching testimony of Iowans who are being affected.
“Nobody else in my park seemed to want to stand up so here I am. Before I was paying $265 a month water included. Rent increased $30 and I’m now paying an extra $107 a month for water so far… The new contract (47 pages) stipulated it wants to be the beneficiary of our homeowner insurance… We expect it to get worse before it gets better. I’m sure it’s not going to get better.” – Angela, Muscatine ” –
“10 years ago I bought a mobile home and I came off of section 8 and now I’m getting back on it in a place that won’t accept it even though it’s my own home… If Iowa is going to open the door to this type of business then Iowa needs to protect Iowans. My question is what will you do to protect home owners from the lack of laws to protect us?” ” – Sue Ellen, Dubuque
“They gave us a contract. We got a lawyer to help us understand what was going on… They didn’t like us getting a lawyer that wasn’t their lawyers.. The contract was that we were to pay 302% more for fifteen years. After 15 years we were supposed to get a mortgage to finance the remainder.. ” – Marguerita, Iowa City
“Have had to apply for heating assistance to stay in my home.”- Michelle, Dubuque
No Republicans were present at this hearing.