Power to the People: Mobile Home Owners’ Rights

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

This past Saturday mobile home owners held a rally at the Salt Lake City Library to raise their voices in support of the more than 75,000 mobile home owners in Utah. According to a piece on KCPW’s website, hundreds were expected, but snowy weather impacted the numbers which reduced to about 40, according to a Salt Lake Tribune article on the event.
Typically, mobile home owners reside in mobile home parks where the land upon which their homes sit are owned by an entity.

Data compiled by[ Steve Anderson, president of Utah Manufactured Homeowners Action Group] Anderson showed that since 2004, lot rents have risen between 15 and 87 percent, while the consumer price index rose 11.2 percent each year.

Further, landlords in the past have held the right to notify home owners with only 90 days notice of a change in hands and notice to vacate. This resulted in home owners, especially those on fixed and low incomes, to have many who had lived much of their adult lives in the same home, to scramble to find housing since moving a home is quite an expensive venture.

“We’re treated as if we’re a closed market,” Anderson said. “We’re not a closed market. We’re a captured market.”
That captive situation exists, Anderson added, because it costs up to $20,000 to relocate a manufactured home from one park to another. And many mobile-home dwellers are retirees, widows, senior citizens and veterans living on tight budgets.

After years of no action for the protection of rights of mobile home owners against landlord greed, the Utah Legislature finally last yera passed a law required land owners to provide 9 months notice of transfer of ownership and notice to vacate the premises.
The group of homeowners will continue to put pressure on legislators this year to improve the rights of persons living in mobile homes. This will include making it attainable for home owers to form cooperatives with the intent of buying out the land owners.

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