State must level land rent playing field

May 10, 2013

Rent justification, HB 33, is the only way to level the playing field between owners of manufactured home parks and the people who own their own home and rent the land under it. The park owners have been allowed to increase land rents as much as they want, realizing a healthy profit without justifying those increases to the homeowner or to anyone else.

Most manufactured homeowners are seniors on fixed income. Many live in fear that yearly increase in rent will put them in jeopardy of literally losing the roof over their heads. If the rent justification bill passes it will require park owners to seek approval from the Delaware Manufactured Home Relocation Authority if they want to raise rents on park tenants by more than the three-year average increase in the Consumer Price Index. To gain approval park owners would have to justify those increases.

Each year this bill is brought before the legislature it is defeated. Why? Now we know. Common Cause recently released a report that shows that the biggest contributor to defeat legislation in the legislature is First State Manufactured Housing Association, a PAC, which represents the park owners' interests. Park owners, through FSMHA, spent $134,000 aggregated over five years since 2007 to defeat a rent justification bill giving liberal contributions to state legislators and political parties.

It is interesting to see who got the money on both sides of the aisle and how it correlates with voting no on rent justification. Park owners know the benefits they keep if this bill does not pass. I hope you, as a voter, are as tired of this influence peddling as I am. Tell your legislator to take a stand to level the playing field and hold them accountable.

Beth Doty
Rehoboth Beach

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