The Iowa House has approved a law requiring mobile home park owners to notify residents 90 days before rent or utility increases take effect. Under current law, there is a 60-day notice period.
Advocates for tenants and manufactured home owners say big business is buying up mobile home parks across the country and raising lot rents to impossible heights. Rep. Lindsay James, a Democrat from Dubuque, voted for the bill, but James said he should have limited rent increases.
“They invested all their savings in their house and now, because of their insatiable greed for predatory businesses, they risk losing everything,” James said.
Rep. Amy Nielsen, a Democrat from North Liberty, said the bill offered “crumbs” to mobile home residents and she voted against it.
“So, yes, I am angry. It’s three years of frustration. I think that effort is way too little,” Nielsen said. “The people of Iowa deserve better.”
Rep. Kenan Judge, a Democrat from Waukee, voted for the bill, but said it only made “incremental changes” and that residents of the mobile home park deserved better.
“My constituents and the Iowans of this state deserve a 12-month lease and, within that lease, security against eviction,” the judge said. “If you think about it, you have this protection in an apartment… It’s not crazy ideas.”
Representative Brian Lohse, a Republican from Bondurant, led the drafting of the bill. “I wish I could have hit that triple, hit the home run, but I couldn’t make it,” Lohse said, “but I got a single, at least.”
Lohse said the bill includes new protections, like new rules that allow tenants to arrange to have running water in their home if the power goes out through no fault of their own and it specifies when. Mobile home park owners can access a home after the resident dies. Property tax relief for people who own or rent 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 new protections to residents of the mobile home park, but a bill on the subject has not passed the Senate.