Manufactured home park residents learn about control bill

Manufactured home owner who live in several southern Oregon parks support rent control bill.
Manufactured home owner who live in several southern Oregon parks support rent control bill.

About 50 residents of manufactured home parks from Eagle Point, Shady Cove and Phoenix attended a presentation at Butte Crest Park in Eagle Point on March 14 to learn more about House Bill HB3196 that deals with rent control. The bill sponsored by State Representative Peter Buckley (D-Ashland) and co-sponsored by State Senator Monnes Anderson (D-Gresham) addresses the plight of many elderly and low-income residents who sometimes go without food or medicine to pay escalating park rents by out-of-state landlords.

Peter Ferris, Executive Director of Oregon Manufactured Homeowners
United (OHMU) and an unpaid lobbyist, speaks for 66,129 residents in
1,297 manufactured home parks throughout Oregon. He explained the
dilemma facing park residents. When the rent is no longer affordable,
residents either have to sell or take their houses with them. Moving a
house is unaffordable and with limited buyers, residents sometimes have
to walk away from their investment. In Oregon, park dwellers have about
$2 billion invested in their homes.
Beginning in the 90’s,
corporations became interested in purchasing parks in Oregon because
rents could be raised without justification and without a limit. The
parks are "cash cows," said Ferris. The park owners provide little
maintenance or anything else. If residents complain, the owners may
resort to harassment and try to evict the residents. Because many of
the park dwellers are elderly or single parents, fear keeps them silent.
solves two problems for park residents. It limits rent increases to the
Consumer Price Index (CPI) and provides binding arbitration of
grievances when the two parties have disputes. For capital
improvements, park owners will be able to temporarily raise the rent
until the improvements are paid for. At that time, the rent increase
would end, said Ferris.
The cost of arbitration will be paid
for by landlords’ being assessed a $6 fee per occupied unit. Landlords
will also have a right to appeal, on a temporary basis, the limits to
the CPI. Criteria will be established for what is considered to be a
"fair return" on investments, Ferris said.
House and
Senate bills have a better chance to succeed if testimony is given to
the legislature. Ferris is organizing residents to travel to Salem by
bus for this purpose. He urges park residents to join OMHU for a $25
membership fee that will also help pay for the mid-April trip (actual
date not yet known). "Consider it political insurance." He added, "You
could become the face that makes a difference."
Monika Sayre
and Christine Mitchell are spearheading the local movement. Sayre may
be reached at 826-2139 and Mitchell at 535-1580. Call Peter Ferris at
(541) 272-1648 or see website:  In Shady Cove call
By Margaret Bradburn
Of the Independent   

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