Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity believes safe, decent, and affordable is transformational, so a sense of melancholy fell over the entire organization when, amid pleas for help from residents of manufactured housing parks, a bill that would offer basic protections to our fellow community members failed in sub-committee last month. The protections in the bill were reasonable as they would require owners of manufactured home parks to provide 180 days notice prior to raising lot rents, justify lot rent increases greater than inflation, and protect tenants from arbitrary evictions. Its aim, to give residents of manufactured housing the same protections as tenants in more traditional housing, was modest. More tangibly, it would prevent scenes like this. That the bill did not even get a hearing is perplexing. Legislators went to great lengths to receive input from all stakeholders that would be directly impacted by the bill, including residents and owners of manufactured housing parks. Further yet, support for the bill was not split along party lines as 15 Republican Senators joined 15 Democratic Senators in co-sponsoring the bill.
While this development is discouraging, we don’t feel a sense of defeat. There is strong support for key components of the bill, and some of those components may be taken up for consideration later in the 2020 legislative term. For now, however, there are leaders in our community who continue to advocate for just housing laws for manufactured housing residents. IVHFH staff supports their efforts and encourage you to read up on the issues surrounding manufactured housing, starting with the links below. We also urge you to support the efforts led by the Johnson County Affordable Housing Coalition and Johnson County Manufactured Housing Task Force. If you are interested in obtaining more information or joining one of these groups, contact Sara Barron at firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about the proposed bill and the crisis many manufactured housing residents are facing:
Johnson County Mobile Home Task Force Report
Des Moines Register: "'The scale was unprecendented': Iowa legislators seek to bolster righst of mobile home park residents"
Iowa City Press Citizen: "North Liberty mobile home residents worry about 58 percent rent increase"