Goliath Trying to Smite David. Get Out Your Slingshots.

Filed in National by on May 31, 2012

In this case, Goliath= Rob Tunnell, Reybold Homes, and Rethuglican legislator Rep. Ruth Briggs King, among others.

David=The Delaware Manufactured Home Owners’ Association.

The issue? Whether the 30,000 to 45,000 Delawareans who reside in manufactured housing communities are to have ANY protection from the powerful development community.

For the uninitiated, let’s explain what we’re talking about and why it’s important. Rob Tunnell, through ‘Tunnell Companies, L. P.’, leases ground to tenants who situate their manufactured homes on that leased ground. The tenants pay Tunnell’s company rent on that ground to enable their families to live there. Tunnell, of course, is not the only owner of manufactured housing communities, but he’s perhaps the most egregious example of a powerful landlord seeking to screw his tenants.  Pot-Nets is Tunnell’s kingdom, described by him as:

A unique opportunity to retreat to a home in one of six scenic residential and recreational waterfront communities – at half the cost of site-built structures and subdivisions.

Manufactured homes are the essential component of Tunnell’s mix, and are described thusly by Tunnell:

The term “manufactured home” describes a house that is constructed in a factory to comply with strict building codes.

These codes regulate and ensure a high level of performance in the homes design and construction — including strength, durability, energy efficiency and safety. Every home is inspected at the factory for compliance with the code throughout the manufacturing process.

In a factory environment, all aspects of the construction process are controlled. The weather doesn’t interfere or cause delays, all workers are efficiently supervised and inventory expenses are secured. These efficiencies and savings are passed on to you, the homebuyer.

Today’s manufactured home is indistinguishable in quality and appearance from conventional site-built homes… at one-third to one-half of the cost! You will be able to select from a wide variety of architectural styles and interior designs, including floorplans, options and upgrades.

Tunnell then encourages readers to access the New Dimensions homesite, a company that sells manufactured homes and that, well, well, has the same address as Tunnell’s own company. Oh, and get this. New Dimensions charges a 10% commission on sales of homes on Tunnell properties. And, if you want to get a more reasonable realtor, you have to deal with 25 Del. C. 7022, which requires that the landlord ‘accepts’ the buyer as a new tenant. Wonder what’s the over/under on how many buyers pay a commission of less than 10%. I’m guessing zero.

So now, with the promise of beach area living with all the amenities, you’ve got a community of people who own manufactured housing purchased from Tunnell, utilizing realtors approved by Tunnell…on land owned by Tunnell.

By now, you can figure out the rest. These are permanent dwellings, and they are on land owned by Tunnell. All that is left is for Tunnell to try to squeeze every last cent out of the tenants, and to throw them off once someone or something more lucrative comes along. And here’s the point: These people have nowhere to go. Neither do their homes. They’re screwed, and Tunnell couldn’t care less. Read this court case for just one example of Tunnell’s chicanery.

Which is why some brave members of the Delaware General Assembly have tried to rein in Tunnell and his, wait for it, ilk. Sen. George Howard Bunting, who came into the General Assembly with a conscience and will leave the General Assembly with a conscience, has perhaps been the Patron Saint for these tenants, and has joined with Rep. Valerie Longhurst, Sen. Bruce Ennis, and Rep. John Kowalko, among others, to try to protect them from the avaricious overlords.

The cause of the tenants has been helped immeasurably by the Delaware Manufactured Home Owners’ Association, a tiny volunteer ‘kitchen table’ 501(c)3 not-for profit that so far has subsisted on table scraps. A $1400 grant-in-aid from the state, and the occasional small grant. That’s it.

Here’s where Goliath enters the picture. Although Tunnell and Reybold Homes, the company that manufactures Tunnell’s manufactured housing, have showered legislators with contributions and have virtually unlimited legislative access, that’s not enough for them. They must kill off the tiny thorn in their sides, the Delaware Manufactured Home Owners’ Association. It’s not enough for Tunnell’s underlings to intimidate residents who file complaints with DNREC or the police, no, they’ve got to squash the opposition. Their willing ally is Representative and ‘Realtor’ Ruth Briggs King (hmmm, wonder if she is one of Tunnell’s ‘approved’ realtors), who has demanded in a letter crafted by the Controller General’s office that this tiny kitchen table not-for-profit provide her with all of their tax information for  tax years 2009 and 2010. Never mind that the association is in full compliance with Federal Form 990, which is the proper tax form for charitable organizations of that size. A form, by the way, that is readily available to Briggs King and the public online. Ruth Briggs King wants more. But, of course, she doesn’t want more. She wants to bury this volunteer organization in so much paperwork that they’ll have no choice but to give up the fight. People ask why I use the term Rethuglican. I only use it when an R behaves in a thuggish manner, which happens a lot. What Ruth Briggs King has done defines the term ‘Rethuglican’. Destroy the defenseless on behalf of the greedy economic overlords.

This is where the slingshots come in. One way that landlords exploit the defenseless is by raising rates at levels far above what normal people would consider reasonable. Legislators have had the same difficulty dealing with this scourge as they have with designer drugs, b/c just as nobody can anticipate the next pharmaceutical ‘breakthough’, legislators have had difficulty in anticipating just what outrage the landlords might come up with next. So, they’ve done a lot of ‘reacting’.

SB 205(Ennis) seeks to keep the tenants at least even with Goliath. It would provide that, if an owner desires to raise the average rentals charged to homeowners in a manufactured home community more than the increase in the Consumer Price Index For All Urban Consumers for the preceding year, the owner must seek approval of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Manufactured Housing. The bill would enable the Council to consider information provided by the landlords that would warrant an increase above the increase in the CPI. The bill would essentially take the arbitrariness away that had enabled landlords to suddenly impose huge rent increases with no warning. In other words, this bill seeks to protect 30-45 thousand people who live in Delaware, and live in fear that they can be uprooted at any time. The landlords would still get their increases, they could even be higher than the CPI if they can justify them.

This bill passed the Senate with the bare minimum of 11 votes. I have been told that many senators considered this a ‘free’ vote b/c they think that it will not pass the House. They probably think that it (a) will not come to a vote; or (b) a killer amendment will be added. After all, you don’t have to kill Bambi, you just have to starve Bambi. The House has 26 D’s and 15 R’s. In other words, if Democrats truly represent a Democratic constituency, there’s no reason the bill can’t pass.

I urge you to notify your Democratic legislators and place them on notice (politely, of course): The Democratic Party that we identify with would not hesitate to protect the 30-45 thousand Delawareans being hounded by the greedy economic overlords.  We expect you to do the same. And don’t let them get away with the “It’s a well-intended bill, but…” line. Those are just weasel words for “We’re bought and paid for”.

Whether it’s your legislator’s sense of shame, conscience, dim recollection of what the Democratic Party once stood for, or their fear of being held accountable this November, your slingshots can help these representatives find the nerve to help David slay Goliath. Or, at least, to keep Goliath at bay. The Delaware Bay, that is.

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  1. MJ says:

    I believe this is just another way for RBK to get back at Pete for the look of her new district. Instead of throwing her into Atkins’ district, Pete gave her all of the manufactured home developments that used to be in the 14th. And these folks hate RBK. DMHOA has also been a huge critic of RBK, so she’s just getting even with them.

  2. Well, then what she really needs is a D opponent to make sure that she is no longer in position to work against her constituents.

  3. Caravan Bob says:

    Rick Bayard is Rob Tunnell’s lobbyist in Dover. Rick is the former Chair of the Democratic Party of Delaware. It is listed on the Public Integrity Commission’s list.

  4. Linda says:

    Well mine is one of the sponsors . . . and believe me all who are in my district get an earful from me! LOL

  5. Linda says:

    Thanks for keeping this front and center where it should be!!!!

  6. Thanks, Bob. Just one more reason why it’s so hard to make real progress. We talk about preventing a revolving door from legislator to lobbyist, but party officials often are lobbyists, and have never had to worry about a revolving door. Ned Davis, Laird Stabler, Joe Farley, Rick Bayard, the list goes on, and it’s simply disgusting.

  7. anon says:

    If you’re going to point out the Pot Nets Communities, maybe you should point out that over 50% of those homes are not primary homes but second homes. Why would the state impose rent control for people’s vacation homes in a resort area?

    If this legislation passes, it should only apply to people if it is their only residence, and possibly only in non resort areas. You can’t impose rent controls on properties that are in a resort area, are waterfront, and have marina access. We need to help the people who need it, not the people who just want it.

  8. MJ says:

    Please link to your stats on the percentage of the homes in Pot-Nets that are second homes.

  9. Mitch Crane says:

    SB 205 is scheduled to be heard by the House Manufactured Housing Committee at 11am on June 6th. The committee is chaired by Valerie Longhurst. The public is able to attend and testify.

  10. Linda says:

    Anon you are using a general observation for a “unique” situation . . . this is apples to oranges and you know it! They are only renting the land, of course they have bought the manufactured home from Tunnell, however! If he had not starting “financially raping” his tenants then obviously this legislation would not be needed!!!!

  11. anon says:

    MJ thoe are the stats from the last manufactured home park battle. I’m sure you can call Tunnel Properties and get the latest stats, in fact, I would encourage you to do exactly that and share those numbers with the public.

  12. SussexWatcher says:

    RBK was for two years the executive VP of the landowners’ association, deriving her paycheck from Tunnell and his ilk (great word). No one would expect anything better from her. She’s a corporate whore who sold out a long time ago.

    The district used to have its population base in Gtown, with Lewes a tiny add-on. It was designed for Booth, and fit RBK like a glove. This time is going to be more difficult for her, assuming the Dems get their asses in gear and find a candidate.

    The DMHOA financial/tax stuff is not new. There are members and former board members upset about the way Ed Speraw has been running the org. But it’s given RBK something to seize on. Wondering just what the official justification for that request is.

  13. Will McVay says:

    I can’t help but think there’s a better way to deal with this problem. Is there some kind of regulatory distinction between a “Manufactured Home” and a site-built home that allows ownership of the structure to be transferred without transferring ownership of the property? Can you do that with site-built homes? That arrangement would make sense if the manufactured home is sufficiently mobile that it could be relocated in response excessive rent increases, but a permanently affixed manufactured home doesn’t subject the lot owner to these competitive pressures.

    I understand that developers and property owners have a tendency to take advantage, and I can see that there’s clearly a problem here, I’m just concerned that rent controls subject to some bureaucratic agency will backfire. Take as an example: A lot owner has his costs go up one year in excess of the CPI, but he can’t get approval to raise his rates accordingly, so he takes a bath. The next year, even if his costs DON’T go up, he will increase his rents automatically by the CPI just in case he needs to raise rents beyond next year’s CPI next year. New lots will start off with higher rents as a hedge against future cost increases that cannot be made up in rent increases without bureaucratic approval.

    There’s also the possibility that at some point in the future the Governor’s Advisory Council on Manufactured Housing becomes nothing more than a rubber stamp for any requests submitted to it, establishing a precedent that effectively neuters this legislation entirely. Maybe the cost of land ownership grows at a faster pace than the CPI, and rather than take a bath every year as cost growth outpaces revenue growth, they just shut down entirely, which further drives up rental rates due to the decrease in available supply.

    Again, I can see the problem with the status quo, I’m just concerned that rent controls are too blunt of a solution. They have side effects.

  14. SussexWatcher says:

    Will: The homes are treated like vehicles. Instead of going to the Recorder of Deeds to retitle them after a sale, owners go to the DMV. And that pretty much says it all about the antiquated way Delaware views “mobiles.” Fucked up.

  15. MJ says:

    Anon, you categorically stated that “over 50% of those homes are not primary homes but second homes” for Pot-Nets. You either have this information at hand and can link to it, or you pulled it out of your ass. Which is it?

  16. Linda says:

    Having owned one in my younger years and walking away from it because of this exact same situation in another state . . . I would rather take my chances going in with my eyes wide open knowing that there is some quasi-regulating legislation on the books albeit “it could also be manipulated” and take my chances on rubber stamping by an entire Governor’s Advisory Council instead of by one individual like it is now.

  17. Will McVay says:

    Yeah, see, if they’re permanently affixed, manufactured or not, that clearly makes no sense to title them at the DMV like they’re vehicles. The idea that you can permanently and irrevocably build a building code satisfying structure that you own on a property that you don’t confuses property rights quite a bit.

    Some interpretations of squatters’ rights would say that the HOMEowner is notoriously occupying the real property, and thus takes ownership of it if not evicted within a certain time frame.

    Btw, if anyone finds a candidate to go up against RBK, I’d be interested in meeting them about whatever the LPD might do to help. We’re not fans of drug warriors, among other beefs.

  18. Will McVay says:

    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Squatters+rights

    “…while actual residence on the land is the most open and notorious possession of all.”

  19. Anon, MJ, I’d prefer not to get too far off the topic, if possible. I am a New Castle County guy trying to make sense of what goes on in these communities. As such, it’s not something I’ve lived, but does upset my sense of basic fairness.

    I encourage any and all to share their info on this.

    Information is a powerful tool, and I still need me some larnin’.

  20. cassandra m says:

    El Som: Do you have any sense of whether the Governor’s office has taken a position on this at all?

    Note to Wilmington readers: call your delegation to the GA and tell them that they should support SB205.

  21. cassandra m says:

    So this is abit off-topic, but still:

    who has demanded in a letter crafted by the Controller General’s office that this tiny kitchen table not-for-profit provide her with all of their tax information for tax years 2009 and 2010.

    How does this work, exactly? The CRI is a 501(c)3, so if this avenue for more info is available, I’d like to figure out how to use it.

  22. anon says:

    I’d like to see stats on this “price gouging” that’s going on.

  23. liberalgeek says:

    And isn’t there a legislator that made his money running the trash company for Pot-Nets?

  24. Will McVay says:

    If this subchapter is being applied to fixed structures based solely on the fact that they’re prefabricated before being assembled at the site, there are a lot bigger problems than just rent increases. This is missing the forest for the trees.

    http://delcode.delaware.gov/title25/c070/sc01/index.shtml

  25. thenewphil says:

    MJ, you do realize that things exist completely outside of the internet?

    anon told you where to get the figures…go get them.

    Also, I think 50% is too high. I think there are more retirees there than that, but I can’t say I’ve ever seen stats, and apparently anon has.

  26. Will McVay says:

    Get out of here. Things that don’t exist on the internet aren’t real.

  27. Old Farmer says:

    Years down the road, when there are no affordable rents on lots for folks to park a manufactured home on, don’t blame those “greedy economic overlords.” I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that we’ll see a net decrease in lots for rent in five years’ time. Mobile home parks will close. Low-income and fixed-income folk will have fewer options for a place to live. I can already read your next thought, “No worries! They can get themselves into some of that gubmint housing!” Yep- cause the problem, provide the solution. That’s the ticket.

    Thank you idiot legislators for destroying the market for rentable lots. Just another nail in the coffin of the free market- whoopee!

    Not too mention the second-order effects on manufactured home and trailer manufacturers, retailers, movers, and all the associated business that goes into setting up and maintaining ‘em.

    Remember this is 5-10 years.

    I could go on, but why waste my breath? I’m sure y’all don’t care. None of you live in these places. You only want to do what feels good. Screw what happens to these people in the long run, let’s just do what makes us feel good inside!

    Short-sighted, short-sighted, short-sighted.

  28. Old Farmer says:

    Remember this in 5-10 years.*

  29. Will McVay says:

    ^this.

    We may have a problem, but rent control is not the solution.

  30. Old Farmer says:

    Remember this is 5-10 years.*

  31. Valentine says:

    Personally, I don’t think it should matter if they are primary or secondary residences. A person shouldn’t lose a second home because of price gouging.

  32. SussexWatcher says:

    A landowner with 200 lots charging $600 a month would gross $1.2 million. A year. And most rents are much higher. From that, they have to pay property taxes, security (maybe), pool (maybe), trash, insurance, lawnmowing and occasional road maintenance. That’s a fucking license to print cash. So don’t go whining to me about Robbie Tunnell’s plight and how he can’t make money unless he can jack up the rent. That’s complete bullshit.

  33. reis says:

    The Tunnell properties have about 2,900 rented lots.

  34. Will McVay says:

    Robbie Tunnell isn’t the only MHC lot owner in the state. If you want to stick it to Robbie Tunnell, let’s see if we can’t find a way that has less collateral damage?

  35. SussexWatcher says:

    He is a greedy asswipe and the poster child for modern day land barons. He is the reason for this bill. Collateral damage wtf? Old Farmer is full of shit.

  36. Will McVay says:

    §7003(11) lets federal regulations define what a “manufactured home” is, and the definition is broad.
    http://delcode.delaware.gov/title25/c070/sc01/index.shtml#7003

    Wikipedia says the federal regulations referred to in §7003(11)c are outdated, and I’m inclined to believe them, and that would seem to be the provisions that would capture even fixed, modular, “manufactured” homes. The federal regs are a whole new rabbit hole…if these are even the right ones…
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2010-title24-vol1/pdf/CFR-2010-title24-vol1.pdf

    I’m not asking you to worry about his feelings, I’m asking you to consider that there might be some MHC owners somewhere in the state who aren’t Robbie Tunnell and they might have better reasons for being opposed to rent controls than he does. I can’t say I even know the man, myself, but he does sound overpaid.

  37. This post recognizes that there are other manufactured home park owners. Tunnell’s tactics reflect why I think SB 205 is helpful.

    I’ve encouraged anyone with information about other operators to come forward, and I hope they will.

    This isn’t about ‘sticking it’ to Tunnell. It’s about preventing Tunnell and his type from ‘sticking it’ to 30-45,000 Delawareans. He’s got the political process wired. The residents don’t, and they deserve representation as well.

  38. Pencadermom says:

    If you have an older model – an actual mobile home without an A framed roof, if you can’t sell it, you can turn it over to them – and pay up to $5,000 to have it torn down because they don’t want the actual mobile homes at Pot Nets.
    @anon You can’t have different rules depending on if you live there year round or not. Whether you live there year round or not, you still have to pay water and sewer (both of which are split evenly among everyone, no matter how much you use or how often you are there). You still have to pay rent and taxes. And you still have to pay for weekly trash pick up- which they so kindly make part of your monthly payment and make you use Tunnells trash company- year round! How would they monitor how often you are there anyway? If you are seasonal, you can still go any time you want! They can’t monitor the drunks driving around, or the underage kids being served at the bar, how could they monitor who is sleeping there in the winter? I have to agree, he is a greedy asswipe.

  39. Mitch Crane says:

    You also have to pay homeowner’s insurance. If you live in an older manufactured home, that means there is only one company writing insurance for it and that company was permitted to implement a rate increase of 35% just 6 months ago. That expense added to what Pencadermom mentioned, make it difficult for many, on fixed incomes, to keep up with increasing payments. SB 205, which does not impose rent controls at all, at least allows a layer of oversight and possible publicity to the process. Most owners of manufactured home communities are responsible-but some are not.

  40. If you want to get some sense as to the $$’s Tunnell and his cohorts toss around, click on the link below and type in ‘tunnell’:

    http://cfis.elections.delaware.gov/cfisquery/ContributorSearch.jsp

    Then do the same for Reybold. Man, these guys just love them some Ruth Briggs King, Bryon Short, John Viola, Gerald Brady, and (former Rep.) Donna Stone, among others.

    Let me make it clear: Contributions do not necessarily mean that those who are beneficiaries of the largesse are lost causes. But it means that it’s up to ALL OF US to make clear that we’re watching, and that we intend to hold them accountable.

  41. Will McVay says:

    Look, I get you, Tunnell’s got the place wired, people are getting screwed, no doubt, but these ARE rent controls, even if you can get permission from a regulatory body to circumvent them, and it DOES stick it to Tunnell, which may be just fine but not everyone is as plugged in to the political system as he is or as aware of it as we are. They won’t find out about this until they’re stuck between going out of business and a rate increase prohibited by a regulatory “advisory council”. I’m just suggesting there might be a more effective way of handling this and protecting those 30-45k people without your efforts at least maybe blowing up in your face.

  42. No, rent controls enabled people to stay in rental units at rates FAR BELOW what the CPI or cost-of-living increases would otherwise permit.

    SB 205 provides for rent increases that AT THE VERY LEAST mirror increases in the CPI, and could be even greater than that.

    And that is a very important distinction. One that defenders of Tunnell and his ilk will try to distort.

  43. Old Farmer says:

    “That’s a fucking license to print cash.”

    Spoken like someone with zero business experience.

    “Collateral damage wtf? Old Farmer is full of shit.”

    Such a well-reasoned and thoughtful response. You must be a product of that new-age schoolin’ where the more ignorant you are, the farther you go.

    I’d teach you a thing or two about what happens when you restrict supply and the consequences of price controls, but I’ve more important things to do, like watch my grass grow.

  44. X Stryker says:

    Given the generally business-friendly climate of the state, I would presume the council would approve just about any reasonable request. If the council ended up squeezing landowners out of business, the resultant outcry would lead to a change in the council, or to a new governor. This is where I disagree with the worst-case scenarios posited above; in a democracy, the effect of the government on the market is balanced by the effect of the market on the government. I see nothing logical in the libertarian habit of placing 100% trust in the market and 0% trust in the government. It’s as foolish as communism, which places things in the exact opposite direction. What we are left with is some degree of socialism, and every Western nation including America is a socialist system to one degree or another. Short term profits can often lead to long term ruin; the market becomes its own worst enemy. We have regulations, appropriately enough, because the public demands it.

  45. Will McVay says:

    Look, I’m not defending Tunnell, as I said, we’re not acquainted. What do you call it when you want to charge a certain price to let someone else use something you own, but the government tells you for one reason or another that you can’t?

    I’m sorry, that’s a rent control. That it allows for a certain amount of increase or that there’s a regulatory process for circumventing it is fundamentally irrelevant to that fact. It may not be a very strict rent control, but it’s still a rent control.

    Rent controls cannot suspend the laws of supply and demand. To the extent that they do not create a price ceiling and an attendant supply shortage, they are unnecessary, and to the extent that they do create a price ceiling and a supply shortage, they are counterproductive if the goal is to reduce rental rates.

    As for trusting government, I’m not entirely certain that Delaware’s government has demonstrated it’s worthiness to be trusted. In a two-party system where the realistic choices are prefiltered by the Delaware Democratic and Republican Parties, I’m certainly not inclined to trust democratic turnover to handle this effectively.

  46. Old Farmer says:

    “No, rent controls enabled people to stay in rental units at rates FAR BELOW…”

    Here’s all you need to know about rent control, written so even a third grader can understand it: http://bit.ly/L0QRvP

  47. Geezer says:

    One important fact often overlooked when this debate comes up, though Will touched on it: A “fixed” structure, in most circumstances (current ones excluded), can be expected to appreciate in value over a 10-year period. A “mobile” unit, like a motor vehicle, depreciates in value each year. So while the rents increase each year, the value of the renters’ property — the structure itself — dwindles away. It retains its value as an actual dwelling, so if they can afford the rent increases, no problem. When they can’t, though, they’re generally looking at landing on the street, or in government housing.

    Old Farmer is right about this form of housing being a valuable alternative to Section 8 for low- and fixed-income residents; remember that there are plenty of these communities in New Castle County, too, almost all occupied as primary residences by low-income folks.

    I have had the landlords explain the rationale behind the stiff increases of the decade pre-crash: The land on which the park sits has a certain assessed value — not the government assessment, the bank assessment. Let’s say it’s $10 million (Pot Nets, obviously, is worth many, many times that amount). If the landlord had that much money in cash, he could invest it in something that might return him 20% on that investment (remember, this was pre-crash), so to justify keeping the money in the land instead, he has to turn a $2 million annual profit.

    I found the argument specious, as land typically holds its value better than most vehicles that return 20% per annum. I find it particularly specious since the crash, because I can’t help but notice that when the value of the land declined, the rents didn’t. Suddenly it was more important to count the profits in actual dollars instead of percentages, and the actual dollar profit was down.

    Old Farmer’s sky-is-falling routine aside, the truth is that rent control in manufactured housing communities has been tried in some jurisdictions. He’s correct that the supply falls as marginally profitable properties are sold for other uses. But the excesses of the landlords who try to wring out every nickel of profit also tend to disappear.

  48. Geezer says:

    Old Farmer: You’ll get further linking to actual studies rather than to pat little fables that feed your ego. This is NOT a simple matter of free-market economics. And you might try to remember that in markets without price gouging, rent control never comes up for discussion.

  49. Will McVay says:

    I’m just saying that in light of the Code as I’m reading it, there are other things that could be fixed to improve the competitiveness of the lot rental market, and enforcing rent controls isn’t actually one of them, especially if marginal properties are being taken off the market. The sky may not be falling, but that still doesn’t make this a good idea.

    For studies instead of fables, just as a start from 15 seconds of Google…
    http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/RentControl.html

  50. X Stryker says:

    Will, nor am I inclined to place trust in a market which collapses once a decade, and knows no ethics save those that are forced upon it by an outraged public. Nevertheless I still buy things, just as you (presumably) have a driver’s licence and drive on public roads.

  51. Old Farmer says:

    Hey there young stud, don’t get your unmentionables in a twist. Look ‘em up yourself, you lazy coot. I ain’t yer mammy. And, for your information, the only thing I’m feedin’ on at the moment are two all beef patties and a can of pinto beans.

    Price gouging doesn’t exist in a world where value is subjective, such as the one in which we live. Price controls destroy, or did you miss the last two thousand years of history?

  52. Will McVay says:

    The markets we have now are collapsing as much because of government intervention as the highly selective lack of it. I wouldn’t trust such a market either. The difference between markets and governments though is their fundamental capacity to decentralize rather than relying on a single point of failure, in this case the Governor’s Advisory Council on Manufactured Homes.

  53. Fred Neil says:

    What a great marketing tool to attract vacation home buyers to spend their money in Delaware, “Come to the Diamond State,and let us mug you every year with our unlimited rent increases”. How can you discriminate against people who help your economy?

    One small correction. Reybold Corp, does not manufacture homes. The owner is a very smart business man who has manipulated legislators with threats and business blackmail. Manufactured Housing on Leased land is the large block of non-taxpayer subsidized affordable housing in Delaware. With unlimited rents & a lack of law enforcement, the threat of closing leased-land communities because of SB205 is ridiculous. They are changing land use nowbcause ! As for not investing in their communities many don’t. There is lots of proof.

    By the way the profits are huge. Reyold owns 1100 homes according to they owner. At an average of $500 per month per year that’s over $6.6 Million. 20% or less is spent on maintenance, that leavesa mere $5.28 Million in profit. He told the Senate that he ousted 259 families in 3 communities in New Castle County because it wasn’t reach his economic expectations.

    If Delaware is serious about bringing in new business, where are the lower and moderate income workers going to live?

  54. Will McVay says:

    I don’t dispute that rent increases are a problem. I dispute that rent controls are a solution.

  55. SussexWatcher says:

    The Innate goodness of the free market! … Oh, sorry, wrong play book.

  56. Fascinating reading!

  57. Fred Neil says:

    Once you own a home on leased land, there is no free market, it is a captive market. You can campare this to the salary caps imposed on NFL teams. Players are captive to to the league and must abide by those rules. If they are very talented the NFL is the only place they can make the “bigh buckets” even if they have the option of going to the Canadian and Arena league teams.

    Even with unlimited rent increases, leased land communities are losing home owners through financial evictions and people walking away from their unsaleable homes because of the health threating conditions. Some of the Pot Nets communities look like a war zone with empty lots and houses and bad roads.

    The industryb is changing as it must to survive. Leased Land giant, MHC/ELS, will use CPI as the bench mark for rent increases in starting in the 3rd year ofits 8 year leases. The community owners requested SB 213 th remove manufactured homes of modular construction from the paying the Relocation Trust Authority fees because the homes in these communities have 40 year leases with specific rent increases. That’s change!

    With leased land homes selling at fire sale prices (no pun intended) with the more predictable rent increases under SB 205,it is reasonable to expect these communities filling up again.

  58. Geezer says:

    Old Farmer: Thanks for affirming that you are an ideologue rather than someone interested in actually discussing the problem.

    I have looked up the studies, having written about this extensively back in my last job. You, on the other hand, have nothing to add, apparently.

    Price gouging certainly does exist, and it’s punishable by law. You could look it up once you get your pig head out of the feed trough.

  59. I live in a manufactured home community. Manufactured home ownership on leased land is an affordable alternative living arrangment that has been successful for over 60 years(since WW11). It is a symbiotic relationship that that at the approximate 75% profit margin vs. 25% costs(maintenance of community) has made many, many landlords very wealthy and allowed an affordable living style for senior citizens and young families starting out. Testimony from a local banker in 2008 stated that ownership of this type of community is so profitable that is placed third on their list of valuable investments. Testimony was in front of the General Assembly about a right of first offer bill that was passed allowing the communities to meet or match an offer made by outside sources in the event the community was offered for sale. I know for a fact that the 75 percent for profit-20 percent for costs figures are accurate. I spoke to Craig Hudson( former owner of Angola Beach & Estates, now deceased) in front of two of his sons and two memebers of our community where he stated the profit margin there was around 24% costs and 76% profit. I also have proof in writing of this from that community. These community owners, like all business ventures, have good and bad business men in charge. Unlike other businesses in your so-called “free market”, there are literally no regulations or restrictionbs on their conduct or operation of their businesses. I use the term, “landLORDS” for good purpose, because the truth is they (the bad ones) abuse this lack of any control. There are parks where living conditiions are unhealthy and dangerous and they are not held accountable by the Attorney Generals’ Office for their violations. Those who attempt to complain are threatened and harrassed and afraid they will be evicted, even though that is against Chapter 70 under the Landlor-Tenant code. They are not required to place the money for repairs and maintenance into any type of escrow account, so they don’t have to even use that much for upkeep and maintenance and often don’t. The type of legislation in SB 205 is fair and is not “control” but “justification” in the event they want to raise the lot rents like they did in 2005 from over a 100% percent increase to the average 27% in my own park. This happened because the land values were so inflated they claimed their land was so much more valuable, they had the right to do it. Of course, when the bubble burst and property values plummeted, they did not reduce the rents. Since they are allowed to raise rents once a year, how would you who live on your own land and have a mortgage like to see your mortgage company raise your payments every year with any increase allowed? For over 60 years, the landords have reigned supreme with no contol to protect those who needed it. Their profit margin can stay the same but let them be held accountable and answerable when their “Greed exceeds their need”. Using the CPI-U as a measuring stick is a fair barometer for rent increases when people’s homes cannot be moved and are at risk of eventual financial evictiion. This outside the box business arrangment has worked for decades until greed entered the picture. With this bill, it offers some minimum of security for the homeowners who are living in fear of the future. Dorothy Boucher

  60. Linda says:

    McVay can spew all his rhetoric about rent control bullshit all night and day but Dorothy eloquently spells out the truth! This issue actually falls squarely between predatory lending and rent control . . . quite a paradox!

  61. Dave says:

    In my opinion, it boils down to choice. If a business offers a product and I do not like the price, quality, of features of the product, I can choose not to purchase it. I can go to a competitor and perhaps get a better deal.

    When choices are limited (electricity for instance)then there are legitimate concerns regarding monopolization of the market and society needs methods “regulate” a vital resource.

    If there is a situation where supply is controlled by a small number of entities and they acted to control the price, it is time for government to step in.

    There is a certain amount of “buyer beware” (informed consumer) that must also be part of the mix.

    Of course affordable housing is a concern of society, but competition should be an element in the affordability equation.

    When I was shopping for a home, I toured Bay Woods which seemed attractive, yadda, yadda. But when I found out about ground rents, I hightailed it out of there. No way would I buy a permanent structure and put it on someone else’s land! Therein lies the rub, the reality of a manufactured home is that it is permanent structure that is treated as if it were a vehicle (with no engine). While profits in such parks are high, what’s to prevent a park owner from turning it into an outlet or a chicken plant? Where would the “home” owners go. On the other hand, what constraints do we want to have on land owners in regards to their private property?

  62. Will McVay says:

    Fred, I will grant you that owning a home on leased land is not a free market. That has been my position throughout this conversation. As Dorothy said, such an arrangement has generated ENORMOUS profit margins, but the lack of competition is a huge problem with that ownership arrangement, which if the margins are as high as Dorothy says they are, I would say it has NOT been working successfully since WWII. A market operating efficiently would not allow 75% profit margins for 60 years without new entrants to the market undercutting that price…unless there are barriers to entry or regulatory structures (like calling a fixed structure a “vehicle”) that interfere with that new competition.

    Rent controls only further restrict that competition. Like I said, I get that there’s a problem here, I just don’t agree that more government control and less freedom is the solution.

  63. Linda says:

    I here a lot of I don’t agree . . . but not. . . this is what we should do! Come on put it out there.

  64. reis says:

    Dave’s point on the need to “regulate” a vital resource is a good one. As an allegory to regulation concerning a residence, insurance provides good insight. You can shop around for different prices of insurance, however, the bottom line is that you have to have insurance on you car, your home, your health, etc. Therefore, states have heavily regulated insurance. You also have to have a residence. In the context of mobile homes, 60 years ago they were mobile. Now they are not. So how do you protect these non-mobile homes from constructive eviction by unscrupulous landlords by usurious land-rent increases or selling the land out from under the home owner? The solution as to the latter, selling the land, was fixes by Title 25 Chapter 70. As to the former, rent increases in an amount which constructively evict the tenant, that is the subject of the Rent Justification Bill.

  65. Geezer says:

    “No way would I buy a permanent structure and put it on someone else’s land!”

    It works quite well in the Ardens and Dewey Beach, where the leases run for 99 years. The problem comes with short-term leases, which treat the manufactured home as if it were truly mobile and could be moved once the lease runs out.

  66. thenewphil says:

    so don’t sign a short term lease…..

    This issue is so old now that it should be treated like tobacco: you knew tobacco caused cancer when you started smoking, so stfu.

  67. SussexWatcher says:

    Leases on these lands are only available short-term, dumb fuck.

    People bought their homes with an expectation of reasonableness and integrity from their landlords. If the greedheads were acting like good human beings and not screwing people over, there would never have been a call for this. But apparently netting tens of millions a year isn’t enough! I had no idea it was so impoverishing to be so damn rich.

  68. Will McVay says:

    Linda, you must have missed some of the thread then. I have said since the beginning that it seems very problematic to title the structure and the land it is built into separately. I’m not 100% sure what provision of the state code sets that up, but I can tell you where the section that includes all manufactured homes, including permanently affixed modular ones, in the definition of what a “manufactured home” is. That seems like it would be a fairly straightforward fix in and of itself.

    Either way, point is, I think we should have better regulations on property rights, and my conception of “better” would probably serve to nuke this entire industry, so I’m definitely no friend of Robbie Tunnell.

  69. Dave says:

    One idea might be to have a non-profit, buy some land, open a park and undercut everyone else just to create competition.

    Second idea, is to advise consumers to be prepared to walk away from a bad deal. My mom owns a “home” in FL and has been trying to sell it, all the while paying the rent. Can’t sell, can’t move it. I told her to walk and stop paying the rent. She’s 86. What are they going to do, give her a bad credit rating? Maybe if the park owners are faced with “inventory” they can’t deal with, they might change they way they deal.

  70. thenewphil says:

    SussexWatcher, what makes you think I don’t know that the lease terms are all short?

    My advice still stands. Anyone who buys a trailer without considering the ground rent is a dumbfuck.

    You’d be better off buying an RV and parking in the WalMart parking lot.

  71. Linda says:

    Mr. McVay I appreciate your response but the fact is we are talking about 30,000 – 45,000 Delawareans that need help RIGHT NOW. This is a nightmare for them. Granted there are some that can just walk away, as Dave is suggesting, because they have other places to go but the majority cannot. They have no where else to go, nor can they afford to do anything else as they can barely afford to live where they are now. I am sure if they had other options they would have bailed years ago when this nightmare started. To be honest you and I are on two different sides of the moral compass and I am sure if “property rights” were the issue being debated instead of this so called rent control your “libertarian stance” would be the same just reworded somehow . . .

  72. SussexWatcher says:

    Dave,

    That happened near Laurel, almost. Diamond State Community Land Trust tried to create a long term lease community near Trap Pond, but the neighbors threw a holy fit and the County Council shot it down. It was in the courts last I read. Classic NIMBYism.

  73. Mr. McVay, you are ignoring the obvious point of manufactured housing on leased land.It was an “affordable” alternative living arrangement that has worked for decades. When I first looked at a double-wide home to spend the rest of my life in, taking into consideration a limited income in the future I looked at condos(no control over neighbors on other side of wall, condo fees that raised considerably from conversations I had with condo buyers and no control over change of ownership as well as stairs and steps that would be a problem with age.)I looked at apts, with same drawbacks as condos as well as limited space. My double wide is not fancy, but I have a family room with a fireplace, a living room 2 baths and 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, small dining room and utility room.
    And all on one floor. It is like a rambler that came in 2 parts, plus a small yard I can maintain. I lived in Md.and for ten years I watched the community I now live in in Delaware. The rent increases were reasonable and I could live with them. Three years after I moved here the inflated land value bubble popped up and the landlords went crazy. Greed became the operative word and it is still the operative word. Once homes became double wides the ability to move them vanished, plus most communities in Delaware will not let anyone with a home over 5 years, move in, which also eliminates your competition in the free market theory.. Second, because they are our homes, many have added patios, decks, additions and all with the blessings of the landlords. They can’t be moved. Third, most people like yourself really have no knowledge of the history or background or current truths involving manufactured homes and yet you spout off with your comments.
    I would love to explain more to you but it would take too long. SB 205 is needed and is fair and will help prevent serious problems for thousands of homeowners in Delaware who, whether we like it or not need a small amount of government intervention because of the serious lack of ethics amongst many landowneras. Why would they try to kill off the goose that lays the golden egg? If they don’t stop, that is exactely what they will do. Dorothy

  74. Fred Neil says:

    I lived in Baltimore. My family home from birth until I headed off to college was my father’s pharmacy in the end of row of row houses with the famous white granite steps. We had a ground rent. My parents bought a newly built Rancher in a brand new community just over the line in Baltimore County and it had a ground rent. The ground rent was never feared and never a problem.

    When the sales rep told us that the rents would be 3% or CPI, we brought the home. Of course, it was a lie. Delaware does not require Full Disclosure and the sales reps are free to spin the trap any way they wish.

    The lack of law enforcement makes things worse for the captive home owner. DNREC and the Water department can only issue Tickets which can lead to Fines. The Fine and the legal defense costs can be recouped via the unlimited rent increases.

    In free enterprise, any business owner risks losing business to a competitor if he or she raises his prices. The landowner does not have competition. Home owner is captive… or can sell and take loss on the home or walk away or bear the higher rent which makes the victim pay.

    SB 205 bans raising rents for a Fine at least up to the CPI-UP limit.

    Since the Council on Manufactured Housing is split between Landlord Representative and Home Owners working with with the AG’s Office, and advisors from DSHA, and ecomist from the U of D, and a Realtor (No friend of Leased Land Home Owners, I think there is a reasonable expectation that legitimate increases over CPI-U will be granted.

    I haven’t heard of a better plan. If any one has please present it.

    Pease don’t mention the socalistic Rental Assistance program that allows others in the community pay with rent increases.

  75. think123 says:

    People need to learn the difference between free enterprise and anything goes. Not everything is black and white, socialist or capitalist. There’s such a thing as nuance in public policy.

    When thousands of good citizens claim they are captive in the hands of unscrupulous landlords who lured them into the venus fly trap of real estate – the Hotel California of deals – you can check out any time you want but you can never leave. The nuance is – outlawing this kind of bad deal is not going to screw up the free market. Just like Madoff being in prison is not screwing up the free market.

    We who love capitalism know that the best way to preserve capitalism is to keep it well regulated so it doesn’t eat us alive.

  76. thenewphil says:

    “I haven’t heard of a better plan. If any one has please present it.”

    Buy land in western sussex county. You don’t HAVE to live at the beach.

    You rented land on the outskirts of a growing tourist area. What did you expect?

    Most of you should thank God I am not a mobile home park owner. I would throw up my hands, evict everyone, and plant wildflowers.

  77. Will McVay says:

    I would too.

    Without some kind of firm legal commitment that rent increases would NOT be excessive, I’m not sure why anyone in their right mind would permanently affix a structure they do own to land they don’t, rented at a rate they couldn’t control. THAT’S what sounds like a bad idea contrary to any understanding I have of property rights.

    I’m not sure what Linda means by telling me that I’m on the opposite end of the moral compass from her. Sounds to me like a vague attempt at an ad hominem attack. It isn’t “so called” rent control. You can’t raise real (not nominal) rent without a dispensation from a bureaucrat. That IS rent control.

  78. think123 says:

    @thenewphil – what did they expect? They expected what the sales pitch promised them – fair rent increases, not the gouging that has been going on in the last decade. In 2008 there was a huge stink about Tunnell raising rents way way up. Tunnells defense was: The real estate boom made the land much more valuable and the big rent increases reflected that. Then in 2011 when the value of the land plummeted – Tunnel all of the sudden forgot the connection between land values and land rent. Land prices down, land rent up. This is in the same league with payday lenders.

    You can’t alway say the customer is wrong. There’s a legitimate beef here. If these were apartment rents you just call a moving van and find a better deal. It’s not that way once you fall into the manufactured home on rented land trap. Something needs to be done.

  79. Will McVay says:

    Was the “sales pitch” in the CONTRACT? I mean, wow…salesmen lie…I’m SHOCKED!

  80. Thank You “think123″, your comments indicate you have an open mind and are willing to listen. Mr. McVay, your comments indicate that your mind is closed to hearing anything but your own opinion. People like you probably think that health benefits should be denied to people who smoked, when they get cancer, because they shouldn’t have made that mistake. I am happy for you if you have never made decisions that later turned out wrong. Few of us have been that fortunate. The really sad thing is this is not a bad deal as long as people live up to their commitments. It functioned very well as an affordable living arrangement until greed became a factor. I would still prefer to believe in honesty, and fair play than look at people as crooks and liars who are just out to cheat me. I did my homework, I watched the rents for years and it wasn’t until the ” good ole boys” in this state got real greedy did the problems escalate. I do not like “too much government involvement, but when business people do this type of “around end run” it sometimes become necessary for government to step in to protect its’ citizens. This is the type of intervention that is needed, not telling me I can’t buy a soda any larger then 16 ounces, as they want to do in New York. Dorothy

  81. thenewphil says:

    What is a “fair” increase?

    Why do you think someone who does not own something gets to say what it’s “fair” value is?

    I think your car’s “fair” value is $5. Are you willing to sell it to me for $5? Why not, it’s fair.

    The argument about Tunnell raising the rents because land values went up but not lowering them when they fell is stupidity on the part of both parties. First, Tunnell never should have given that reason. Second, It doesn’t matter why he wanted to raise the rents. It’s his land and he can value it at whatever he wants. I don’t care if he raised the rent because he wants more money to buy whores, it’s not up to me and I don’t get a say.

  82. Will McVay says:

    I’m open to plenty of opinions, Dorothy, and I’m really not impressed by yours if all you have to offer is insults. Seriously though, when did you get this idea that everyone is a wonderful person just out to make you happy? This is the real world. In the real world, people have a tendency to get what they can, when they can. If you buy a house, and put it on a rented lot because the salesman “promised you” that rents wouldn’t increase “unfairly”, then I’m sorry, but we can’t pass enough laws to fix that. You have to read the contract. You have to know what you’re spending over $100k on.

    So, yes, buyer beware, but beyond that, I’ve still yet to hear anyone try to explain where thenewphil and the OldFarmer are actually wrong about the effect of rent control in the REAL WORLD, not the frilly pink bunny world where you can pass a law and everyone succumbs to your wishes. You limit rent increases, then lot owners will either take full advantage of any leeway they get, whether they need it or not, or just evict people and shut down. New lots will start with higher rents as a hedge against future needs. Fewer lots will open in the first place. The overall effect of these factors? Lot rents go up. Well done. You succeeded.

    How am I wrong? Do you think lot owners are in the business as a service to you? It’s a BUSINESS. If the promise wasn’t in the contract, it wasn’t worth anything. I’m only 27 and I know better than to make an investment like that. I think there are problems with this business, defining fixed structures as vehicles being one of them, but really, government isn’t your mommy. You’re an adult. Make your own decisions and deal with the consequences.

    Glad we agree that outlawing big soda cups is stupid though…now if we could only find some common ground on outlawing price increases…

  83. anon says:

    Is there proof of an instance where a Delaware park owner raised rents over the CPI in the past decade? From what I understand, not one instance was given at the last hearing.

  84. Pencadermom says:

    Will, first I would like to say I bow to you for being such a genius at age 27. So screw anyone who isn’t as smart as you, right? Maybe there should be laws in place to protect people who might not be as ‘genius’ as you at age 27. Contracts are often long, hard to understand documents to many people. Yes, wow, salesmen lie. The problem is that trusting people believe the salesmen and might not understand the actual contract. The people who buy a trailer to live year round are often people who are just trying to get by, trying to have a home for their kids and themselves. Or retired and on a fixed income and limited mobility. I have a business and I agree to an extent that that business is business and a business owner should have rights and if the buyer doesn’t like it they don’t have to buy into it. But in this case, you are talking about people who already bought into it years ago when they could afford it and now they are stuck.

  85. thenewphil says:

    ” The people who buy a trailer to live year round are often people who are just trying to get by,”

    Yeah just trying to get by…also, living on the water…

    There are trailer parks in Ellendale, I know, I lived in one. Land rent is cheaper out there. You can do a lot more getting by in western sussex.

  86. Will McVay says:

    Seriously, I feel sorry for them, and I’ll help them if I can. This doesn’t do that. This makes their lives worse. Rent controls limit supply and drive prices up. You don’t have to be a genius to understand that, you have to pay attention for 15 minutes in high school economics.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_ceiling

  87. Dave says:

    I agree that something needs to be done to mitigate todays problem I hate the thought of rent control because I believe it creates an environment where the property owner may be reluctant to maintain the property as a valuable investment. If rent is controlled people won’t move out because rent is cheap. So the property owner has no incentive to maintain a quality park, which in turn will force more government intervention to force the property owner to maintain some minimum standard. Still, I am not creative enough to come up with another solution other than creating competition.

    Moreover, rent control as a long term solution is not very palatable to me not only because I believe it causes a reduction in the quality of the park, but it also does nothing to ameliorate the root causes. The root causes are the classification of permanent housing structure as a vehicle and the lack of disclosure on the part of both he seller of the manufactured home and the property owner.

    The collection and disemmination of historical data on ground rents to potential buyers as well as the average cost of moving a manufactured home disclosed by manufactured home sellers. These two pieces of information would at least create a more informed consumer at no cost to manufactured home sellers and property owners. In fact non-greedy property owners could use the information as a marketing tool advertising stable ground rents.

    Also, publishing information on the depreciation and value of the asset (similar to Edmunds) could inform an owner when the asset no longer is worth the ground rent and would be ble to demolish rather than trying to sell.

    Finally, donating the manufactured home to a charity (donate your vehicle) who can then use the home to house someone who is unable to afford a home. Of course, smart property owners would start to buy the homes from those who wanted to do that rather than letting their park transition to quasi shelter status, which would in turn benefit the manufactured home seller.

    Anyway I prefer solutions that are more likely to treat root causes. Their bread and butter is ground rent, their tool is a contract. Make them define words like “fair” and “reasonable”, so that people know what the rents are likely to be. Full disclosure such as is required by U.S.C. TITLE XIV – Interstate Lands Sales should be the norm. Transparency would go a long way.

  88. think123 says:

    It seems like defenders of these land rent deals can’t tell the difference between the normal renter landlord arrangement and these manufactured home parks. There is a difference between WSFS and a Payday lender. Once a manufactured house is put on rented land, the normal forces of the free market go out the window. Rent control is a whole different subject. There you can argue the customer has an easy out, and that in turn produces competition, and pressure on the landlord to keep folks satisfied. Those forces are not at work in land rent deals.

    Why be so loyal to the owners and so dismissive of the people trapped in these deals? What is the point of blaming the customer. All they are asking for are some rules and regs for what is a very non-free market arrangement. Why not side with the majority who say they are being gouged?

  89. think123 says:

    WilMcVay – would you be against a large bold disclaimer on the front of the contract that says “Land rent increases are solely at the discretion of the land owner. Please consult the Manufactured Homeowners website for information regarding land rent increases for more information.”

  90. Valentine says:

    The government is there to protect people against predators. Usurious landlords are predators. And rent control works just fine in NYC. The primary concern should be people who are there now. If rents go up for future purchasers, that is not as bad because they have a choice to buy there or not. Maybe they will find some housing elsewhere. And yes, the landlords should be legally required to maintain the property by force of law.

  91. thenewphil says:

    “Once a manufactured house is put on rented land”

    This should be the very last step, not the beginning. Do not do THIS unless you understand that you have entered into an agreement that puts you at the mercy of the land owner, who has every right to raise the rent as often and by any amount he wants.

    “would you be against a large bold disclaimer on the front of the contract that says “Land rent increases are solely at the discretion of the land owner. Please consult the Manufactured Homeowners website for information regarding land rent increases for more information.”

    I would be 100% for this. No problem at all. Landlords aren’t trying to trick anyone. They want to rent to people who can afford it.

  92. anon says:

    Can anyone give an example of a Delaware park owner raising rents more than the CPI in the past decade? The phrase “price gouging” keeps coming up but so far no examples of park owners going over the CPI.

    If it’s not happening, do we need the law?

    And again, do we put rent controls on parks in resort areas where the land is valuable and has water access? What’s next? Rent controls for houses on the beach in Rehoboth and Dewey?

  93. You all have raised many questions, and I can answer many of them. Manufactured homes are treated as vehicles because a long time ago, they could be moved if the axels and wheels were put back on. Not so today but the Delaware Dept. of Motor Vehicles will not allow our homes to be taken out of their division because of the tax revenues they will lose. If we were allowed to be taken out, we would be able to get real mortgages at a much, much lower interest rate instead of paying at the percentage rate the same as a personal loan. We also would have real titles and perhaps the depreciation rate would improve also keeping our homes value higher. Of course we middle America continue to pay the price for so many others as we have for decades. And Delaware, slower, lower Delware stays way behind the times because that is the way so many locals it to be.

    This is the largest block of NON – (government) SUBSIDIZED AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN DELAWARE. The median income required to purchase a home with land in Sussex County is well-beyond the lower to middle income group. This was according to an official Government study done a year ago. You make a staement about a resort area and people should expect to pay higher prices, well, the workforce that keeps your resort area moving and profitable for all those business owners,needs somewhere to live, and they sure can’t purchase any of the expensive homes that are the only ones the developers bother to build.

    Most of us who live in manufactured housing have worked all of our lives in average paying jobs, we have paid our bills, gone to war for our country, and tried to raise our children with a sense of responsibility and respect for others.

    We are not stupid people,it was your “Resort Area, land more valuable” mentality that caused this problem in the first place. We don’t want handouts from anyone(even though some are now forced to use food stamps, which they hate doing)we just want help in the form of rent justification to stem the continuing rise of “UNREASONABLE” rent increases. I have written proof of the 75% profit- 25% maintenance breakdown in rent charges, not to mention being told in person by the previous owner of my community in front of witnesses. There is also an abundance of proof that there are some community owners that are worse than apartment slumlords because they don’t even bother to maintain a little of their communities. Want to see the photos? What is even more ridiculous is that there is law requiring the owners of apartments, etc.to properly maintain the property, (Delaware Landlord-Tenant Code, ) but no law covers Manufactured Home Communities where people have homes they own. There are many problems because of unreasonable landowners that have mushroomed in the last 5-10 years because they are allowed to operate, unchecked and with impunity and because people like some of you shrug your shoulders and say, too bad, you shouldn’t have done it. Did we know all this before we moved, no. But, this alternative housing that is needed and necessay can still be saved and thousands of homeowners will be able to sleep in their homes for years to come, if SB 205 is passed. One last thing, this law in similiar wording was passed in Florida, and it is working fine. Mr. McVay, I do not appreciate your insults towards me. I simply said your mind is closed and it is, to anything you don’t agree with. If any of you wish to contact me by email, please do, I don’t want to take up any space here.( dixieboo2@aol.com ) Dorothy

  94. heragain says:

    El Som, maybe you can clarify for me how this “ground rent” differs from my “land rent.” I agree we have a problem with rapacious landlords. My Dad ended his days in a doublewide in one of these communities and he was a hostage, pure and simple. Everything he’d ever worked for could be skimmed away from him by a rent increase. But I’m sitting on a piece of property I don’t own, either, and it seems to me that a lot more people decide where to spend money than care how people raise it.

  95. Will McVay says:

    Dorothy, I agree with you that such issues should be fixed, and I care not a bit about the DMV’s revenue stream. That is far more likely to address the problem than rent controls. think123, I am hesitant about government mandates in general, but this is an issue of transparency and apparently one of fraudulent sales practices by the salesmen. A mandate, similar to those already in the code, that rent increases be explicitly discussed and the appropriate clauses in the contract identified is something I might be able to live with.

    Renters should still know better and ask.

  96. Will McVay says:

    I didn’t read your last paragraph until just now, Dorothy. I am not insulting you. You are insulting me. Saying I have a closed mind because I disagree with you is a cop out. It doesn’t even make sense to say “you have a closed mind to anything you don’t agree with”. The point is I don’t agree with it, and you have failed to make a compelling case why I should. I have readily conceded that something should be done to clear up the property rights of the home/lot. The DMV should not be involved in the registration and titling of a fixed structure. I would even be able to get behind disclosures stating that rent increases from lease to lease will be X, or are arbitrary, or will never happen, whatever. What I do NOT support, is rent control. Even when you call it “rent justification”, the fact that a bunch of bureaucrats have the opportunity to say “no” to your “justification” means that it’s RENT CONTROL.

  97. Exactly my point Mr. McVay, you do not know who the board would be composed of and you have already labeled them a bunch of “bureaucrats”. Have you even read SB 205? Why don’t you read it before you become so dead set against something you have a serious lack of knowledge or understanding about? Dorothy

  98. thenewphil says:

    So if its so awful, why dont you leave now, Dixie?

  99. I keep hoping that telling the truth will get through to people who have closed their minds to anything they don’t agree with. It is called education and with education, often comes understanding. I never said anything was awful, Phil, you did. I enjoy honest discussion and always hope to open someone’ mind about something because they did not understand it completely. I also know that there are some people………….who will never get it. I will leave if and when I choose to. How about you? Dorothy

  100. Will McVay says:

    The Governor’s Advisory Council on Manufactured Housing wouldn’t be comprised of a bunch of politically connected government lackeys. Ok. That’s credible. Why would I ever trust a politician or someone a politician appointed to determine what my rent should be? Why would you? Maybe they just rubber stamp every “justification” that comes into their office. Then, not only have you created rent controls, you’ve created completely ineffective ones.

    My mind is plenty open. You should really stop blaming me for your inability to make a compelling case for your argument.

  101. Liberal Elite says:

    @WM “The Governor’s Advisory Council on Manufactured Housing wouldn’t be comprised of a bunch of politically connected government lackeys. Ok. That’s credible.”

    So… Raising the cost of raising costs won’t help prevent raising costs unnecessarily?

    What you will get are more uniform standards.

    @WM “…you have failed to make a compelling case…”

    In reading this entire thread, it seems you’re the one who has failed.

  102. thenewphil says:

    So the raising of the rents is NOT an awful situation? Then why all the fuss? You have absolutely no credibility with me, Dixie.

    I remember a while back when someone wrote an opinion piece in the Cape Gazette and it caused a flurry of letters to the editor the next week. The next week after that, you wrote a letter to the editor that said:

    I just got back from vacation, and I don’t know what Mr. _____’s letter said because I didn’t get a chance to read it but…”

    And then you go on to explain all the reasons Mr. ______’s piece was wrong EVEN THOUGH YOU JUST SAID YOU HAD NOT READ IT!

  103. Will McVay says:

    LE, rent controls don’t work, no. What you will get is more uniformly high rents.

    Dorothy says I have a closed mind to things I disagree with. That’s not true, but I’m not going to suddenly agree with them because Dorothy says I have a closed mind. She has to make a compelling case to change my mind and she has failed to do so. Perhaps she’s changed someone else’s mind. Perhaps I have. We may never know. That quote has to be taken in its broader context.

  104. Phil, I would love to see a copy of that letter where I said I just got back from vacation, I* haven’t taken a vacation in 10 years, but if I mispoke then I can tell you that I was reasponding to the letters relating to what he supposedly said and I felt justified in responding because I have some knowledge of what is going on with this issue. My comment to Mr. McVay was because he was labeling an Council with a title, yet from what I could tell, he did not know who was going to be on the Council. FYI, the Council would be made up of a member from the landowners, a member from the homeowners, a realtor(usually not friendly to manufactured homeowners) an advisor from DSHA and an economist from the U. of De. and I think there is a reasonable expectation that LEGITIMATE INCREASES over CPI-U would be granted. Key word here is legitimate. You are right Mr. McVay, I would love to know if either of us has changed anyone’s opinion since this discussion started. What do you think contributors, are we wasting our time? Dorothy

  105. Will McVay says:

    Whoever these people are, if you don’t think they’d be the most politically palatable individuals available to the Governor who is actually responsible for appointing them, then you’re the one who doesn’t know who’s on this council.

  106. Mr. McVay, are you implying the Govenor is on manufactured homeowners side in this dispute? Have you asked him? Dorothy

  107. Will McVay says:

    I’m implying that it’s a bad precedent to set to put a politician’s appointees in charge of making these decisions. Whoever the governor is.

  108. Fred Neil says:

    El,

    I salute you! Your remarks on WDEL were dead on! Since the House Committee has passed SB 205 on to the Floor today (June 6) I expect the discuss will increase in volume. The landlord will spew out smoke and mirrors as they seek to increase their profit. Unfortunately, they have lost millions inf profits by emptying out their communities with financial evictions.

    Fred

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