Amy Sinclair. (IA Legislature photo)

Republicans in the Iowa Senate have sent the governor a bill to require that the owners of mobile home parks provide notices of rent increases or utility hikes 90 days in advance.

Current law requires 60 days notice. The bill requires any new mobile home park owner to honor existing leases and it gives the residents of manufactured housing an avenue to seek damages if they’re denied essential services, like access to running water.

“This bill provides protections to some of the most vulnerable Iowans and it increases their rights under Iowa law,” Senator Amy Sinclair, a Republican from Allerton, said.

Democrats voted against the measure, saying it does little to address the concerns of mobile home park residents after out-of-state investors take ove. Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls of Coralville says mobile home park residents in his area are frightened they’ll be unable to keep up with sizable rent increases.

“We can do better than this,” Wahls said. “Let’s vote this bill down and start over.”

The owners of mobile home parks lease the lots on which the manufactured housing sits. Senator Herman Quirmbach of Ames, a Democrat, said the economics are tilted.

“The park owner essentially can hold the owner of the mobile home hostage,” Quirmbach said. “They can’t afford to move it.”

Sinclair said the bill “strikes a balance” between landlords and tenants and is far better than doing nothing at all.

“I understand that it might not be everything that everybody wants, but sometimes striking that balance means that not everybody is happy with the end result,” Sinclair said.

The House passed the bill earlier this month, with two Democrats joining Republicans in voting for it.