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Mobile Home Residents Seek More Protections

Kassidy Arena
Mobile home residents across Iowa met through Zoom to "raise their voice" about the unfair situations they have faced in the past years. Candi Evans of Golfview Mobile Home Park in North Liberty said the way the law is now, she fears eviction.

Mobile home residents are encouraging Iowa lawmakers to approve a bill that would offer them more protections from some rent increases and evictions by mobile home park owners.

Under the bill, mobile home residents would be protected from some forms of eviction and rent increases.

It lists specific grounds for when a tenant can legally be evicted. It also limits the number of times a park owner can institute rent increases, among other changes that "restore basic fairness" for residents.

Mobile home residents across the state said they were concerned about mistreatment from mobile home park owners. They shared their stories of unfair experiences with rising costs and eviction fears at a press conference on Monday.

Matt Chapman lives in Midwest Country Estates in Waukee. He said the way the law is written now, it only benefits mobile home park owners, not the residents.

"It's like a perpetual machine that is enriching one side and impoverishing the other. And this is not hyperbole. This is an Iowa tragedy," Chapman said.

This is the third time mobile home residents have pushed lawmakers for these protections. The push for a bill such as this one began when out-of-state owners bought some mobile home parks in Iowa.

"This is happening because out-of-state speculators look at the Iowa code and see manufactured housing parks ripe for exploitation," Chapman said.

Candi Evans lives in Golfview Mobile Home Park in North Liberty, which is owned by Havenpark Capital in Utah. She said the bill is an important step to leveling the playing field for people like her.

“It does not solve all the problems we face, but at least it provides manufactured home residents with some of the same legal rights already enjoyed by apartment renters in Iowa," Evans said.

The only group openly opposed to the bill is the Iowa Manufactured Housing Association. The argument against the bill revolves around increases in rent payments to fund improvements around the parks.

A House subcommittee voted to move the bill forward last month, but the full Judiciary Committee has not yet considered it.

Evans expressed frustration about the past attempts to pass such a bill: "we do not have another year to wait for change."

"They need to step up," Lyn Dailey of Table Mound Mobile Home Park in Dubuque added, "Legislation needs to step up and help us out. Nobody is asking for a handout, we just want to keep our homes."

Legislators have until the end of the week to pass the bill through committee before the legislature's "funnel" deadline. A similar bill gained bipartisan approval a little more than a year ago, but did not advance to the Senate.