Karl asked me to jump in to this discussion so I could provide some info on FEMA mobile homes. Here it is: After the hurricanes of 2005, a FEMA field rep contacted me about putting mobile homes in the park. I had 15 empty lots that needed filling so I and the other investors agreed to lease them to FEMA. We did 5 at first, then agreed to 10 more later on. That would fill our park to 100% about a year ahead of schedule. We also were under the impression we could buy the homes for a very reasonable price after FEMA no longer needed them. It was an impression that was promoted by the field rep and his successors. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As for lot rent, we charged more than our normal lot rent for the first 5 because I had to install 5 RV hookups for their “Motor Homes/RV’s” they claimed they were putting in. It was our normal lot rent plus enough extra over the term of the lease to pay for the hookups. Imagine my surprise when 5 brand-new singlewides rolled into the park on the same day and not RVs!
Anyway, the process was simple: just send FEMA the invoices and they would deposit the money in our account about 3 weeks later. The original contract ran for 12 months (by law) and was extended to 18 months (one-time extension for emergencies) as I remember.
As for buying the homes, no way. Nobody told me this until halfway through the contract. FEMA personnel changed every 2 or 3 months so I never talked to the same person half the time. I fought this but there was no way of getting around the law. I can’t remember the name of the “Act” FEMA was operating under but it basically said in black and white that FEMA was prohibited from selling the homes to the park they were installed in. They could sell to the families living in them for a reasonable price but would never sell them to us.
Yes, the federal government would spend all that money to buy those homes new, drag them into my park in south central Florida, install them (including the hookups to electric and water/sewer) then drag them out again to some holding pen in Atlanta and auction them off through GSA. Investors bought them and had them dragged all the way back down and re-installed in the park. My purpose is not to get into a political commentary here, merely to tell the story.
If you want FEMA in your park, just understand what’s gonna happen. The homes will be taken back out again if the famlies don’t buy them. That brings up another issue: the people FEMA puts in those homes. I never had more trouble in my park than I did when I had FEMA homes in it. Serious. FEMA told us who was going in the home and we had NO input except, after my adamant insistance, that we do simple county criminal background checks. Everybody checked out clean but some of them were not from our county. We did the best we could but it wasn’t enough.
Out of about 12 families that moved in, I think I threw out 3. They caused trouble with everyone in the park including painting racial slurs on their mobile home, fighting with other residents and allowing local criminals to use their home as a base of operations. Some people were arrested and never came back, leaving their home to be ransacked at night. Cars were left where they were parked, garbage was thrown over the fence and the police were called many times. Some homes remained vacant the whole time. Another home had 8 or 9 family members living in it including a fully grown Great Dane, and I never heard a peep out of those people. About 5 families actually stayed and bought their homes and were good additions to the park. It was very upsetting to the families who actually bought homes in the park and I think some moved out as a result. In short, it was your worst nightmare as a park manager.
It wasn’t too hard to throw these people out, just time consuming. I had to send them the required notices when they did things against the park rules and notify FEMA. After 2 or 3 times, FEMA would send them a nasty-gram and things would calm down for a short while. When it started back up, I’d go through the process again and send another letter to FEMA demanding the family be evicted. FEMA would send them a letter giving them 30 days to leave and that’s when things got really bad. On 2 occasions, I had to have the Sheriff’s office send several partol cars to keep the peace while these families moved out or were arrested and hauled away. FEMA really had no clue as to how to handle such instances at first.
Hopefully things have changed and maybe you have better people where you are. At least you know what to expect now…
That’s it in a nutshell. Good luck and “HI” to Greg Meade and all my buds still doing the MH thing. Hope all is well in these tough times. The music store is fun!
Post Edited (07-21-08 05:40)