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Reps. Pettersen, Bonamici and Senate Colleagues Lead New Manufactured Housing Tenants’ Bill of Rights

The original article can be found here

Legislation would protect mobile homeowners and renters by setting minimum standards for tenants in manufactured housing

This week, U.S. Representatives Brittany Pettersen (D-CO) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) introduced legislation alongside U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and John Fetterman (D-PA) that would provide tenants and owners of manufactured (mobile) homes with enhanced protections against predatory landowners in federally backed Manufactured Housing Communities (MHC).

“My parents struggled with housing insecurity, often finding it difficult to identify or qualify for places to stay that were affordable and safe. Manufactured housing, or mobile homes, can be an instrumental tool as we work to expand affordable options in Colorado and the country, but we have to ensure tenants in these communities have protections,” said Pettersen. “By creating the Manufactured Housing Tenant’s Bill of Rights, my colleagues and I are working to protect hardworking families from exploitation, skyrocketing rents, and an increased risk of eviction.”

“Manufactured housing can be a more affordable option for families and individuals, and in some communities it is their only affordable housing option. Unfortunately, residents in manufactured housing communities typically lack basic protections and often face the risk of eviction,” said Bonamici. “I’m introducing the Manufactured Housing Tenants’ Bill of Rights with my colleague Congresswoman Pettersen to establish federal minimum standards for manufactured home residents and prevent further housing instability.”

“All too often, tenants are faced with predatory practices meant to deprive them of their homes and hard-earned savings. Mobile home tenants deal with an increased risk of eviction as their housing costs soar without adequate legal protections; and to make matters worse, the communities they live in are often bought with federally-backed financing,” said Shaheen. “The Manufactured Housing Tenants’ Bill of Rights would directly address that concern, ensuring that tenants receive equitable protections under the law to provide them with housing stability and peace of mind.” 

“Mobile home owners deserve rights—real, enforceable protections against rising rents, unfair practices, and exploitative evictions,” said Blumenthal. “Our measure will assure security to tenants who own their mobile homes but not the underlying land.” 

Currently, more than three million Americans live in MHCs, which often represent one of the few naturally occurring sources of affordable housing. However, because residents typically own the home itself, but not the land it sits on, they often struggle with unexpected cost increases and face a heightened risk of evictions. Outside investors have often purchased MHCs and pushed residents out, raising rents as much as 70%. Because of the unusual ownership structure, manufactured housing residents can fall through the cracks, where residents often lack the protections of either homeowners or other renters.

The Manufactured Housing Tenants’ Bill of Rights would establish a set of minimum standards for tenants in MHCs that receive federal financing through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the Federal Housing Administration. These protections include: 

The right to a one-year renewable lease absent good cause for nonrenewal.

A five-day grace period for late rent payments.

A minimum 60-day written notice of rent increases or new added charges like water or sewer of up to 5% of the prior rent, with longer notice for larger rent increases (an additional 30 days required for each 2.5% rent increase above 5%).

Rights for the tenant to: 

Sell the manufactured home without having to relocate it

Sublet the home or assign the lease to a buyer of the home provided the buyer meets the MHC’s rules and regulations.

Post “for sale” signs on the home.

Sell the manufactured home in place within 45 days after eviction, to prevent the homeowner from losing their equity.

Receive at least 60 days advance notice of the MHC’s planned sale or closure, giving tenants the opportunity to purchase the community in the event of a sale. 

The bill also requires public disclosure of MHCs that receive federal backing to ensure residents are aware of their rights. FHFA would also be required to create a standard lease agreement which allows Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to finally begin purchasing manufactured home leases through their single-family mortgage programs, which could significantly lower interest rates. 

The legislation is endorsed by All Parks Alliance for Change, Colorado Coalition of Manufactured Home Owners, Connecticut Manufactured Home Owners Alliance, Housing Assistance Council, Manufactured Home Owners’ Association of NJ, Inc., National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), National Housing Law Project, National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Manufactured Home Owners Association, Prosperity Now, Resident-Owned Communities – New Hampshire, ROC USA, and WorkMoney.