Was there a fire in your park last year? Was a home completely lost? We’d say the chances are pretty low. Do you have fire insurance on your home? We’re sure more than 90% of you do. Why would you take the chance not to have insurance, right? That’s a no brainer!
Our next question. How much do you pay a year for insurance? We’d guess perhaps $200-$500/year. Of course that’s a lot, but compared to loses resulting from a fire, it makes sense, after all it’s your home. What would you do if it burned down and you had no insurance? Where would you go? Where would you live?
Just Think About It
Loss from fire is one type of loss. However, each year MH owners across California lose millions of dollars. Not from fire, but simply by living in a rental park. Check this out:
Rent Increases: The great majority of MH owners get at least a 3% rent increase every year. Some 10-15%. For someone paying $700/month rent, the 3% amounts to about $250/year extra rent.
Equity Loss: Much more significant than the increased amount of rent is the associated equity loss. Remember the formula: for every $10/month rent increase your equity decreases $1000. So in the example above, a 3% increase equals $21/month or $2100 in lost equity. And that’s each time you get a rent increase! That’s probably $2100 every year!
Loss of equity at time of sale: How about the effect of interference of sales. It generates a lot of money for park owners and it comes right out of your pocket. In fact, he loss of equity could be substantial, in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Economic Eviction: Some MH owners are experiencing economic eviction, i.e. they simply can’t afford to pay the high rent, so either they must try to sell or walk away from their home. And again, often times parks interfere with sales, meaning the only option is to talk away from your home. Economic eviction is happening more and more because rents continue to increase. The result – loss of tens of thousands of dollars.
An average year’s loss from fire is probably relatively low. What about equity loss due to rent increases? There are about 375,000 spaces in California, with 175,000 under some form of rent control. Let’s assume an average rent of $700 and a yearly rent increase of 3% for those under rent control and 5% for those not under rent control. That represents between $2100 and $3500 loss of equity per year for each one of us. The total loss in equity for all mobile/manufactured home owners in California is about one billion dollars! Yes, that’s a billion dollars, with a capital B! Remember, that’s just equity lost as a consequence of yearly rent increases.
What about increased rent? How much is that? That’s only $128,000,000 or about 12% of loss of equity from rent increases.
Need we go further? We could also estimate losses from economic eviction, interference of sales, etc, but we think we have your attention now. Remember, this money comes right out of your pocket!
What is Our Point?
You may ask, why are we writing about fire insurance? It is simple. We want to show you that your priorities may not reflect the real situation. Numbers don’t lie and they actually provide an important lesson, that dollar losses via living in a rental park far, far exceed those from fire!
So the $64,000 question is why spend hundreds on fire insurance while hesitating to spend $25 to support advocacy? We’d guess your answer might be:
a. You never see anything happening?
b. It’s just a waste of your money, money that you don’t have.
c. Advocates are not there when you ask them for help.
d. You don’t believe anything can be done. Your resigned to the status quo. After all the park owners have all the money and control.
e. You have no say in how your money is spent by advocates.
It’s A New Day
Today can be a new beginning. Now you have a say. Now someone will be responsive to you. Now you will see something happen. Now your advocates will be open and transparent, they will publish financial and membership reports, and they will provide meeting minutes. There will be checks and balances, and a means to replace those not following the rules and doing a good job?
Do It Now!
Join COMO-CAL by filling out the membership application on page 5 with your $25 membership. If you want change, then we suggest you not fund any other organization, i.e. don’t send money to an advocate until they take the Pledge. This will force them to take The Pledge to work together, with integrity and ethics. You have the power, use it. Your COMO-CAL membership provides money to support not only COMO-CAL, but your local advocates, including your park, your local group and your regional group, plus a lobbyist.