National Campaigns to Protect the Affordability of Manufactured Home Communities
MHAction believes that predatory real estate investment in manufactured housing and other sources of affordable housing is impacting the housing security of millions of people. MHAction is calling for the following conditions to be met to ensure the affordability and livability of manufactured home communities nationwide:
- All lot fee increases shall be tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI)
- Community owners must meet set maintenance and infrastructure standards, and must share information on the condition of community infrastructure with residents.
- If a property owner decides to sell a community, residents of the community shall have a right of first purchase.
- Community owners must distribute a clear and reasonable grievance procedure to all community residents.
- Corporate community owners shall not lobby against key economic security programs, such as Social Security, which residents of their communities rely on in order to pay their lot fees.
MHAction seeks to build our power to win these demands by organizing manufactured homeowners to take action on these demands, and by investing in key relationships with other housing justice organizations to raise national awareness of predatory real estate investment.
Corporate Accountability Campaigns
MHAction also works with community leaders to directly engage corporate, community owners. The goal of this engagement is to ensure that corporate community owners acknowledge the interests and needs of home owners and residents.
MHAction’s Work with Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc. (ELS) provides a clear example of MHAction’s corporate accountability work. Chaired by multi-billionaire Sam Zell, ELS is the nation’s largest corporate owner of manufactured home communities, with 380 communities in 32 states with 141,000 home sites. It is one of the most aggressive operators in the business, wielding its considerable power to attack local rent control ordinances, reduce public regulation, and squeeze the maximum profit from its properties. Zell has also contributed heavily to conservative political candidates and supported cuts in Social Security and Medicare that would further undermine the economic security of his tenants.
In 2012, MHAction brought 22 home owners to ELS’s annual meeting in Chicago, and presented a shareholder resolution that asked for a company report on political contributions and lobbying expenditures. We crafted, with the assistance of capital stewardship departments at the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, UFCW, and the Teamsters, a shareholder strategy designed to expose ELS’s use of political contributions to evade effective regulation of its business practices. The resolution obtained 46% of shareholder votes, a remarkably strong showing for a measure that was strenuously opposed by corporate leadership. ELS residents also staged a noisy protest at the meeting and won an agreement from company management to meet and listen to their concerns.
MHAction used personal testimonies, publications, and direct action to expose the corporate behavior of ELS. Actions and engagement by affected homeowners at shareholder meetings in 2013, 2014, and 2015 produced an agreement by ELS to create a company-wide grievance procedure in 2016 for homeowners to use when filing consumer complaints with the company. ELS also agreed to the request that regional managers, ELS employees responsible for community infrastructure oversight, meet with homeowners on a quarterly or bi-annual basis to review concerns. Our corporate accountability work with ELS also produced direct local wins ranging in size and scope from infrastructure agreements to repair roads and sidewalks in communities located in Farr West, Utah and Monee, Illinois to pausing rent increase proposals in Florida.