The Iowa House has approved legislation to require that mobile home park owners notify residents 90 days before increases in rent or utilities go into effect. Under current law, there’s a 60 day notice period.
Advocates for the renters and owners of manufactured housing say large corporations are buying mobile home parks around the country and raising the rents on lots to impossible heights. Representative Lindsay James, a Democrat from Dubuque, voted for the bill, but James said it should have limited rent increases.
“They’ve invested their life savings into their home and now, because of their insatiable greed of the predatory businesses, they are facing losing it all,” James said.
Representative Amy Nielsen, a Democrat from North Liberty, said the bill offers “crumbs” to mobile home residents and she voted against it.
“So, yeah, I’m angry. This is three years worth of frustration. I think that this effort falls way short,” Nielsen said. “The people of Iowa deserve better.”
Representative Kenan Judge, a Democrat from Waukee, voted for the bill, but he said it only makes “incremental changes” and mobile home park residents deserve better.
“My constituents and Iowans across this state deserve a 12 month lease and, in that lease, safety from eviction,” Judge said. “If you think about it, you have that protection in an apartment…These are not crazy ideas.”
Representative Brian Lohse, a Republican from Bondurant, led development of the bill. “Wish I could have hit that triple, hit the home run, but I couldn’t get there,” Lohse said, “but I got a single, at least.”
Lohse said the bill does includes some new protections, like new rules that let tenants arrange to get running water to their home if the supply is cut off through no fault of their own and it specifies when mobile home park owners can access a home after the resident dies. A property tax break for the people who own or rent the homes in mobile home parks was removed from the bill.
“So while, again, it’s not the bill I’d like to have, it’s the bill I can get,” Lohse said.
This is the second time the House has passed a bill extending some new protections to mobile home park residents, but a bill on the topic has not passed the Senate.