Local Government
California Housing Crisis: Manufactured Homes Could Be Part of the Solution

California Housing Crisis: Manufactured Homes Could Be Part of the Solution

By Sheila Dey, Executive Director of Western Manufactured Housing Community Association (WMA).

There is no question that California is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. So, when the purchase price of a mobilehome can be up to 30% less than a traditional home, state and local government should be creating incentives to build more mobilehome parks and not less.

There is also good reason why it has been decades since a new mobilehome park has been built in California. And this is not likely to change so that long as policymakers fail to recognize that the construction of new parks is a consequence of rent control’s failure, and cost prohibitive building regulations and fees.

When one considers the facts, calls for housing reforms should be growing louder;

  • Mobilehomes offer all the quality and comfort of traditional homes, for up to 30% less.
  • Unlike a traditional rental property such as apartments, mobilehome parks operate like small villages or cities. Rents often cover property taxes and fund essential neighborhood services, such as, park management, utilities, cable, roads, landscaping, security, recreation and more. When rent control ordinances reduce or freeze rents at below market rates, services can be reduced like a city facing budget deficits.
  • Rent control ordinances do not require means-testing. As a consequence, park owners are required to subsidize the housing costs of tenants, regardless of their need.
  • Very much like homebuilders, costly regulations and fees do not provide financial incentives to expand or build new mobilehome parks in California, limiting the potential for new stocks of attainable housing.
  • Rent control regulations can cost local governments millions of dollars to administer and to legally defend; all at the expense of other government services and programs.
  • Rent control can lead to lawsuits when parkowners are denied their right to a fair and reasonable return on their This year, a federal jury unanimously found that the City of Carson’s mobilehome park rent control ordinanceviolated the constitutional rights of a parkowner in Southern California. The parkowner was awarded $7.4 million in damages.
  • Many parkowners support long-term lease agreements and direct rental assistance programs, which provide bonafide rental protection and help to those mobilehome park residents truly in need.

The Western Manufactured Housing Community Association (WMA) is pleased to be part of this discussion.

To learn more, visit www.wma.org/real-housing-solutions, www.facebook.com/realhousingsolutions and twitter.com/CAHousingFix

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