Mobile home residents ask state lawmakers for protection
In Des Moines on Saturday, horror story after horror story, dozens of people who live in mobile home parks across the state of Iowa are pleading with elected officials for protection from out of state landlords buying mobile home parks.
Many who spoke said the landlord has been price gouging, evicting tenants without a cause and even asking to be put down as the beneficiary of the mobile home after the tenant passes away.
According to the Iowa State Association, there are 77 mobile home parks in Linn, Johnson, Dubuque and Blackhawk County. 31 of those parks are owned by out of state landlords.
“I don’t want to be one of those horror stories,” said Karen Walbrun of Dubuque.
Walbrun said she is mostly happy with her living condition but worries her situation could change if the state doesn’t take action.
“We know that out-of-state landlords are a huge problem,” said Democratic Senator Zach Wahls of Coralville. “In my district 3 manufactured housing communities have been acquired in just the last 12 months.”
Wahls said affordable housing is his top priority this legislative session. Last year a bill passed out of the Senate, but because it was introduced so late in the session, Walhs said it wasn’t able to be negotiated.
“We need to make sure we don’t have any price gouging,” he said. “Rent can’t be going up 25%-70%. Even though it is legal under current law, it isn’t right and needs to be looked at.”
Wahls does say that not all of the mobile homeowners are hurting its tenants. Of the 550 counties and cities that reported data to the Iowa State Association, 136 were owned by out of state landlords.