Several dozen housing advocates are at the statehouse today (Thursday), asking lawmakers to pass a bill that would give mobile home residents more rights. Senator Jack Hatch, a Democrat from Des Moines, says he’s been trying since the 1980s to ensure the people who own mobile home parks can’t arbitrarily kick people out. “There is no other housing industry in this state, let alone in this nation, that can evict you from your home…without cause,” Hatch says. Hatch is sponsoring a Senate bill that would require landlords to show “good cause” — like violating the rental agreement — before evicting a tenant in a mobile home rental space. “This is to protect your investment,” Hatch says.
Representative Pam Jochum (YOH-kum), a Democrat from Dubuque, is sponsoring similar legislation in the House. “This really is about basic human rights and human dignity,” Jochum says. Jochum says folks must “stand together” on this issue.
Clark Hassig of Newton has lived for 16 years in Sunrise Terrace, a mobile home park where he owns his home but rents the lot on which it sits. Hassig’s at the statehouse today because he’s concerned about other issues, and worries mobile home park landlords aren’t upholding their end of the deal on safety issues. “We’ve got 200 habitable lots with about three really-functioning fire hydrants,” Hassig says. “We had a tragedy last summer where two people passed away (in a fire).”
Hassig is also concerned that mobile home parks, which often sit just on the outskirts of city limits, are becoming havens for sex offenders. There are an estimated 60-thousand mobile home owners in Iowa.