The following is part of an MHOF post by Deane Sargent of PMC Financial Services.  It is an opinion regarding a    “Housing Authority”     to acquire a mobilehome park by eminent domain for the purpose of preserving or providing low-income housing.  This should be very interesting to you.  (By the Editor)

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The attorney who created the eminent domain opinion (a portion of which follows) is David W. Skinner with Meyers Nave Riback Silver & Wilson, Oakland, CA – 510-808-2000.

I provide the following quote from the opinion (the actual opinion is over 5 pages long):

“I believe [Housing Authority] can acquire the park by eminent domain. [Housing Authority] has express statutory authority to exercise its eminent domain authority of the purpose of preserving the stock of low-income housing in the County and/or providing low-income housing. The [California] Legislature encourages public entities to acquire mobile home parks for these purposes and has even established a loan program to pay for the acquisitions. The statutory provisions relating to a “change of use” of mobile home parks are not applicable and would not prohibit [Housing Authority’s] use of its eminent domain authority. [Housing Authority] may even transfer the Park after its acquisition to a private entity which will operate the park for the benefit of the tenants, if it so desires.”

Note that this opinion was rendered in January 2005, prior to the Supreme Court ruling on Kelo v. New Haven, which, as a layman, I think only strengthens the ability of public entities to acquire parks, etc.

Note also there is a danger that state legislatures, in their zeal after Kelo to protect private citizens from greedy developers, might enact laws which would limit or eliminate the ability of public entities to acquire parks for the benefit of residents.

I (that is, Deane) interpret the “private entity” to be a nonprofit resident owned mutual benefit corporation, which is the legal structure I use with resident acquisitions. In theory, it could also be a 501c3 affordable housing provider.

The determination of value after condemnation is always an issue, but generally, when faced with outrageous rent increases or the possible loss of their homes through development, residents can afford the purchase price.

Now all you have to do is find a public entity with board members who have some degree of moral courage.

I would be happy to talk with residents from the park you mentioned. Please have them call or email me, or send me their contact information and I will get back to them.

Thanks,

Deane Sargent, PMC Financial Services
Providing organizational and financial consulting for resident groups, nonprofit corporations and affordable housing providers seeking to purchase manufactured home parks.
2365 Skyfarm Drive Hillsborough, CA 94010-6341 650-375-8043 650-375-8132 fax
www.pmcfinancialservices.com
www.wehrmanlibrary.org