Iowans bring fight for their homes to Capitol

Members of the Iowa Manufactured Home Residents Network are fighting for checks and balances in a one-sided system that is attracting unscrupulous out-of-state landlords who prey on manufactured homeowners.

Iowa Senate News Release

WHAT: News Conference with the Iowa Manufactured Home Resident’s Network
WHERE: Room 315, Iowa State Capitol
WHEN: 11 a.m., Wednesday, February 19, 2020
WHO: Manufactured home residents from around the state

(DES MOINES) – Residents from manufactured home parks from across the state will meet at the Capitol in Des Moines on Wednesday to continue the fight for their homes by sharing their stories with Iowa lawmakers.

The Iowa Manufactured Home Resident’s Network is a coalition of residents and allies who are committed to providing a voice to residents of manufactured home communities across the state.

This week some of those residents will be raising those voices in Des Moines, as important legislation works its way through the Iowa House and Senate.  The bill (SF 2238/HF 2351) is an important first step toward providing checks and balances in a currently one-sided system, a system that is attracting unscrupulous private equity firms to the state as it drives Iowans out of their homes.

The residents will hold a press conference at 11 am in Room 315 at the Iowa Capitol. Speakers will include manufactured home residents from around the state.

Senator Wahls speaks in the Chamber about need for reforms

News conference speakers and video of remarks

Candi Evans, Golfview Residents Association, North Liberty

  • Park purchased by Havenpark in 2019 – I found out from notice taped to my door of rent increase …
  • Who’s in our community / we are real people
  • Our journey in the past year: from outrageous rent increases, to finding out Havenpark is private investor group from Utah, to first meeting of residents to months of work to get our voices heard, to a bill now under discussion to finally create some of the protections all Iowa manufactured homeowners should have had a long time ago
  • Why we need this bill … we have residents here from at least 7 different parks across Iowa who will share part of their stories with us today

Angela Smith, Park Plaza Manufactured Home Park, Muscatine

  • Park purchased by Impact in 2019
  • Major rent increases and water overcharges (example) – then because we started to speak up and got help from our city and our municipal utility, the owners are starting to refund the overcharges
  • I’m worried it will happen again unless we get legal protection
  • We need this bill to protect all Iowa residents against fraud and unfair utility charges

Jenny Heishman, Grinnell Manufactured Home Park, Grinnell

  • Story of trailer purchase and grandparents’ living situation
  • Park purchased by Impact in 2013
  • Since then, our lot rent has increased over 200%
  • We need this bill to protect proud, hardworking Iowans like my grandparents

Carrie Presley, Table Mound Residents Association, Dubuque

  • Park purchased by Impact in 2017

Margarita Rodriguez, Forest View Residents’ Association, Iowa City

  • Park sold to developer in 2016
  • With developer as our park owner, there is now no maintenance of park anymore; conditions deteriorating and unsafe
  • Sewers aren’t repaired. Potholes aren’t fixed. And there is no one for us to turn to.
  • We need this bill to create a way for residents to hold owners accountable for safe conditions in our parks, no matter who owns our parks in the future.

Matt Chapman, Midwest Country Estates, Waukee

  • Waukee residents facing rent increases / who lives in my park
  • Park purchased by Havenpark in 2019
  • Part of national trend, private equity groups taking advantage of residents
  • Who are these owners who are trying to keep us from getting this bill passed?
  • The Iowa Manufactured Homes Association is one of the only opponents to this bill. They have “Iowa” in their name, but they are choosing to represent Havenpark and other out-of-state park owners against the interest of Iowans. In fact, we now know that Impact CEO Frank Rolfe sits on their board. Impact is headquartered in Colorado and now owns at least 23 parks in Iowa. Their CEO Frank Rolfe is the same man who famously told investors that a mobile home park “is like a Waffle House where the customers are chained to their booths.”
  • We need this bill to prevent the Frank Rolfe’s of the world targeting Iowa residents as easy marks for their quick profits.

State Senator Zach Wahls, D-Coralville

Senator Wahls offered an update on the current status of manufactured housing legislation traveling through both chambers. The House and Senate have introduce bipartisan bills intended to protect manufactured home owners. He clarified that this is not an issue of parks being sold for redevelopment. Out-of-state owners are eyeing mobile home parks as an opportunity to profit from the vulnerability of disabled or low-income people.