Reps. Axne, Finkenauer, Loebsack Seek Improved Tenants’ Rights for Manufactured Housing Communities with New Legislation
Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) joined Reps. Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) to introduce new legislation that sets basic standards for federally backed loans used to purchase manufactured housing communities (MHCs).
The Helping Owners Meet Essential Standards (HOMES) Act requires that all loans for MHCs purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) provide basic rights to renters living in the communities.
The rights required in HOMES Act include:
- the right to a renewable lease
- the right to advanced notice of rent increases
- the right to sell your home without relocation, including the right to post for sale signs
- prior notice of at least 60 days if the community is being sold or closed
- protection from eviction without cause
“The story here in Iowa has become too well known: an outside investor buys up a mobile home park, and soon after Iowans in these communities get runaway rent increases coupled with poor or completely absent communication. It’s unacceptable – especially in uncertain economic times – and predatory practices like these should not be financed with federal support,” said Rep. Axne. “I’m proud to join my friends in the Iowa delegation today to introduce this bill to better protect Iowans by providing commonsense, basic tenants’ rights for those living in federally backed communities. With the HOMES Act, anyone using taxpayer backing to buy a rental property needs to meet basic standards for the residents.”
The HOMES Act also creates a commission to develop additional standards to help keep Iowans in their homes. These enhanced standards would focus on protections against excessive rent increases, and could be paired with reduced rates on their loan to encourage landlords to adopt these practices.
The legislation has been endorsed by Prosperity Now, the National Housing Law Project, and the National Consumer Law Center.
Earlier this year, Rep. Axne introduced legislation to keep MHCs affordable by providing federal assistance for acquiring and preserving these communities. The legislation seeks to help MHC residents like those in Waukee who last year faced rent hikes at rates up to 70%.
Last year, Rep. Axne wrote to Utah-based investment firm Havenpark Capital to demand answers on the significant rent spikes at five different Havenpark-owned MHCs, including Midwest Country Estates in Waukee. Fannie Mae provided financing for several of Havenpark Capital’s purchases in Iowa.
Rep. Axne also toured Midwest Country Estates homes with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to meet with residents and hear about the financial hardship and requirements imposed at the community by the new ownership.