Trailer Park Homes Faces Tough Real Estate Limits

Monday, February 27 2006 @ 09:15 pm UTC

Contributed by: jron

In a report, a woman named Jennifer Schneidt was already having trouble making ends meet when she and her children were evicted three weeks ago for illegally subleasing her cousin's manufactured home in Warren. Since then, the 20-year-old and her three kids have been living with that cousin in Hazel Park, but the one-bedroom house is hardly an ideal living situation.

For the estimated 1 million people living in mobile home parks in the state, many things owners of traditional homes take for granted, the ability to place a for sale sign in the window, to drive pick-up trucks through the park, or even to rent out the home, may not be allowed. That kind of rapid eviction is not unusual, said Bill Anderson, legislative liaison for the Michigan Townships Association.

But Anderson said he doesn't expect either to move anytime soon, that is about Several attempts have been made in Lansing to spell out rights for manufactured home owners, including two bills that are currently in committee.

He said "I just don't see the hero out there in the Legislature right now who can go out and get it done."

According to the Michigan Manufactured Housing Commission, There are more than 1,500 manufactured home parks in Michigan, 174 in metro Detroit.

The land they sit on is rented from park owners, which gives the park owners the final say over how the community operates.

He said, "you can sell your home to anybody you want for the price you choose, but if I own the land that your house is sitting on," he added "you can't take a for sale sign and plunk it in the grass because you don't own the real estate." DeWitt's group opposes the bills, saying that the law already covers the rights they outline.

He said that "manufactured housing is the most legislated housing industry in the state of Michigan," and added "We don't need this because it's there already." Anderson said that enforcement of those laws has always been a problem.

The bill became so mired in tax issues, it never passed. He was in Lansing two years ago during an emotional debate over legislation outlining certain rights for manufactured home owners.

Frank Accavitti, D-Eastpointe, and Leon Drolet, R-Clinton Township, would require park owners that violate the rights to pay fines or face court penalties. The two bills, introduced last year by Reps.

Drolet said "One of the most important protections we have as citizens is the right to decide how we want to use our property," and added "I don't think a park owner should act to abridge those rights that are constitutionally inherent to each person."

Schneidt was evicted from the Lafayette Place Mobile Home park, which does not have an active homeowners association. She said both she and her boyfriend tried to get the title for the mobile home placed in their names, but bad credit prevented the transfer. Reported earlier this month.

Angel Schneidt, 23, said that after she left the park in June, more than 10 potential buyers had seen her home, but none were approved for purchase. She's Jennifer Schneidt's cousin.

She subleased the unit, a strategy many homeowners use while waiting for a final sale to be approved, that was on October.

Anderson said, other residents, not knowing their legal rights, simply walk away from their homes, leaving a defaulted mortgage and bad credit in their wake.

Clarence Cook, president of the Manufactured Home Owners Coalition of Michigan, said, A homeowner's bill of rights would help address this cycle and other residential issues.

By: Dijon Wainwright