Carl (and Frank),
I rather enjoy seeing this healthy debate and enjoy speaking your minds. Rather reminds me of 7 years ago when MHU and MHPS folks disagreed.
I wish to first make sure I understand what the issue(s) you are addressing is:
1) Greed because F&D have been acquiring so many parks
2) Government intervening with their regulations (Frank Dodd, HUD fair housing changes, etc)
3) Apts, Sect 8, etc competing with MHP tenants
My opinion prior to hearing your feedback.
1) Greed - In using this term, I think of people abusing other people for their personal gain - a slumlord in our industry. I agree with you in that greed in our industry, or any other taints our image and I abhor it!. Does growing a company automatically indicate greed - no. In our industry, we see greed with both large and small operators - greed is merely a by product of the leaders of the company regardless of the size.
In fact, with most RE niches, I would argue the larger companies are financially solvent enough to be able to also be socially responsible. Many small operators are ones which just have not been able to 'keep' up with the proper maintenance. I will also state that MHP properties have life cycles, just like single family houses. Its only the 'next owner' who is able to upgrade the home to maintain current standards. I live in a great community with many older homeowners. MANY have not kept up with their homes - it costs a lot of money. As each generation/owner comes in they are able to upgrade.
I don't think owning many properties is a matter of greed. It is YOUR decision how many properties you wish to own - purely your prerogative.
2) Gov't Intervention - I do not like it but it is what it is. I live in America and love it, warts and all. As an entrepreneur I need to STFU and learn how to pivot my business around it as each new obstacle comes. It was great when I could create my own paper for POHs. Do I like the Rent Credit program - no. But I like it for what it is and helps me accomplish NOW.
I also love what the 21st program is attempting to do. They are trying to fill a void and need. Of course they make good money on this program. I am fine with that.
3) Completion of other groups like apts, Sect 8, et al: There will always be competition. America is born on free trade and if one group is not able to differentiate itself to be better then they become obsolete. That is neither good nor bad. Let's look at Walmart. When it started rising, people loved it because it brought commodities to the reach of millions. As our economy has changed, they are struggling against some of the niche and box stores. Each niche brings some Evolutionary business impact to our society. The fact of the matter is that the end decision maker is a human being --- this is the hardest thing to understand, especially as we move from one generation to the next.
I gather that you deal with a rather higher end market of the MHP space. This is great and commend you for this. I also realize that F&D deal with more of the affordable MHP niche. It would seem that our experiences formulate our opinions.
Final Comment: My opinion - Do I love MHPs in absolute terms. NO. If you know me then you know that I don't like people in general. But I respect and love all human beings. I treat all our employees and tenants with respect. Our communities abide by rules just to provide the best housing afforded to them. MHPs simply provide an incredible value. The business model is absolutely great for our economy because it simply provide a great need for much needed demand. IF major shifts occur in America as Frank lists, then not only might MHPs shift as viable business model, but so would TONS of other industries.
I live in the Bay Area and was in Silicon Valley and firmly believe this is currently one of the best 'business models' around.