There are bad operators in every industry that disgrace themselves and their fellow industry members. Presuming Syringa Mobile Home Park is as bad as these reports suggest, Mobile Home Park owners across the country will fully support government and tenant actions against the owner. By all means, prosecute your actions against the owner. Jail him. The situation is bad for the tenants, the community, the park industry, government officials, and even the crappy owner/operator himself. His park is probably now worth a fraction of what it would have been if maintained properly. This is a lose-lose scenario. There’s no one cheering for the bad park owner, not even his own daughter. And that’s why there are so few of these situations.
As a landlord, I pay money for maintenance, cleaning, upkeep, property beautification, water, sewer, waste management, property taxes… All of these expenses are paid by me and they are good for my tenants and my community. Even presuming I’m a cold hearted, self-centered, evil capitalist, these expenditures are smart for me too. My property investment is preserved, and maybe even enhanced. My lender doesn’t call my loan and may even encourage me to borrow more money. My insurance company will charge me lower premiums. My tenants will be happy and pay rent. And if I lose a tenant, I’ll have a new tenant eager to move in. This is a win-win scenario. And that’s why there are more like mine, Frank’s and Dave’s, than like Syringa Mobile Home Park.
Regarding tenant owned parks, some like those put in place by ROC are indeed nice places that afford the owners a decent place to live and some potential equity. However, it’s also a fact that housing projects that offer affordable housing like some manufactured home subdivisions (where the home owners also own the land under their homes) are generally worse kept, worse managed, and overall worse places to live compared to a Mobile Home Park (where a landlord owns the land). In parks, a Lease requires that all tenants behave and keep their home site and home up to minimum standards. The Park owner has an incentive to keep it nice. In affordable home subdivisions, less stringent property management and behavior rules couple with less ability and fewer incentives to enforce them. This results in less desirable places to live. There’s not an overall subdivision owner with the time, money and incentives to manage all the residents in a manner that enhances the subdivision for all.
The NPR article is an interesting story about a bad landlord and unnecessary suffering by our fellow man. However, it’s not an accurate depiction of typical Mobile Home Parks and owners across the country. And it’s premise that land ownership by the Mobile Home Owner would universally solve issues like those in Syringa Mobile Home Park is simply wrong.