Representatives of the Utah-based company that owns mobile home parks in Iowa City have met with residents who say they’re not getting answers about rent hikes and diminishing services.
Havenpark Communities recently bought the Modern Manor Mobile Home park in Iowa City. A resident who gave his name as Jim attended the meeting.
“We got no answers whatsoever. They’ve owned it 11 months and they’re checking into everything,” he said. “It’s about just what I expected from a big corporation like that and they’ve raised the rents and cut services on all of ’em.”
A woman who said her name was Debra has lived in the park for 35 years.
“They didn’t give us straight answers,” she said. “They just went around in circles. They just kept talking about market values and inflation. Well, if it’s inflation, why do you want to raise the rent on us, then?”
Both residents declined to give their last names, fearing retribution for speaking out. Residents of mobile home parks can buy their home, but typically cannot buy the land on which it sits, so they pay rent to the property owner.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports Havenpark bought the Modern Manor and Lake Ridge Mobile Home Parks in Iowa City last January for $33.5 million.
Havenpark owns several other mobile home parks in the state and the company has argued rent increases are necessary to match rates at similar properties. Since 2019, mobile home residents have been lobbing legislators to limit rent hikes — but the new Iowa law that went into effect July 1st now requires an additional 30 days notice of rent hikes and utility increases, for a total of 90 days prior notice to mobile home park residents.
(By Zachary Oren Smith, Iowa Public Radio/O. Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa)