Rents are increasing every year, some well beyond the Consumer Price Index. Managers are brazen and abusive. MH owners are walking away from their homes without any compensation and time is running out for thousands more. And the state of advocacy in California has never been so bleak. Our situation worsens with every passing day. These are undeniable facts.
So how’d MH owners get in this fix? And who is RESPONSIBLE for our situation? Let’s list some possibilities. Check those you feel are responsible for our situation today:
a) Our parks – owners and managers.
b) The California Legislature – our representatives.
c) Management companies, like Star or Sierra Management.
d) Local governments – city councils…
e) Golden State Manufactured-Home Owners League (GSMOL).
f) Coalition of Mobilehome Owners – California (COMO-CAL)
g) Other advocates – Tenants Together, Coalition for Economic Survival, etc.
h) Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
i) Western Manufactured Communities Association (WMA)
j) Our local groups (Santa Rosa, San Marcos, Santee, etc)
k) Housing and Community Development (HCD)
l) Public Utilities Commission (PUC)
What Did You Check?
Perhaps your vote went mainly to the park owners and managers. Or to the park owners group (WMA) that helps protect park owners interests. Or to your city, city council or your local group. Or to an advocate that previously failed you.
We believe the entity is actually not listed. We believe the entity who is responsible is Apathy. It is apathetic MH owners who gripe, hide in their homes, make excuses, say the battle is hopeless and do nothing. And that’s a 95% of all MH owners. Are you one of them? Probably!
So now are you upset with us writing this? Is this the last time you’ll read that rag MH Life? Do you feel insulted? If you are, perhaps that’s good. Get mad, get upset, hopefully this will motivate you to action. Go ahead, write a nasty letter to the editor. It’s okay! But remember, we are not the bad guys. We’re sorry that some rental parks are owned and run by folks only interested in money and power. We too made the decision to move into a rental park. That decision changed our lives. We all face many challenges and we have no hope if we go it alone. Our only hope is to face challenges together. That’s the only way we can defend ourselves. Let’s “circle the wagons” and work together. MH Life is working to reorganize advocates so you are represented and know something positive is being done. But we can’t do it without you, and you, and you!
We are fighting the greed for money and power. Unfortunately that’s what drives some of those involved in the above organizations – the bad apples. Yes, it is a shame to say, but bad apples can be found even in advocacy groups. But there are many more folks really interested in helping you help yourself. MH Life is one of the good guys – we only want what’s best for you. And many leaders and representatives of GSMOL work hard for you too.
What about park owners? Park owners are business people and rental parks are their business. Some institute high rent increases, some interfere with sales, some use abusive managers, etc. Why? Because they are greedy. They are not satisfied with owning a “cash cow” and having an excellent return on investment, they want more. But that’s human nature. They will continue to cross the line as long as they can get away with it. When they cross the line and no one speaks up, obviously they can continue. They may even tell other park owners what “works” and “what does not.”
What about GSMOL? Between 1962 and 1990 GSMOL was doing a “bang up” job contributing to the Mobilehome Residency Law. And MH owners supported them, in fact GSMOL had 100,000 members and an income of over $1.5 Million a year! So what happened? We believe a few “bad apples” became greedy and power hungry. Since then the organization leadership changed several times and GSMOL became an end in itself, contrary to it’s purpose of “promoting the general welfare of MH owners.” As a consequence, MH owners probably felt they had no other option but to leave GSMOL. In fact, over the last 25 years over 125,000 members have done just that.
We feel MH owners had another option. They could have been active and demanded transparency, and honesty. The bottom line, we feel the demise of GSMOL, a terrific and critical organization to protect MH owners rights, was a direct result of lazy members not paying attention, not getting the facts, and not holding GSMOL’s leaders feet to the fire. Members blindly followed the bad apples and that decision resulted in the much weakened, much less effective organization of today.
We can’t “cry over spilt milk” but we can seize the day and commit to playing a role in our protection. That’s our only hope! And time IS running out.
If you make a conscious decision to take responsibility today and stop blaming and making excuses, great things will happen. Hiding is exactly what park owners want. The last thing they want you to do is be active. They don’t want you to read MH Life or join an advocacy group. But remember, if you do read MH Life or join an advocacy group, no one will know as we keep your information confidential.
Visualise What Could Be
Just visualize 100,000 MH owners supporting their advocates and demanding advocates work together for the common good. You will begin to see things slowly changing for the better. You will see you can be represented and have a say, and problems like management abuse, interference of sales, etc. could be a thing of the past.
What Can You Do?
Commit two hours and two dollars a month to support those you know are doing a good job. Is that so much to ask to protect yourself? Remember, you’re not doing it for them, you’re doing it for yourself. Read the magazine. Become aware of your rights and the challenges around the state. And seize those opportunities that come your way. Remember an opportunity is a gift. It shouldn’t be a chore.
Good things happen all the time when folks take the responsibility. For example, 60 residents at Californian Hawaiian MHP won a $110,000,000 when they stood up together, thousands of MH owners helped defeat of the two propositions that would have eliminated rent stabilization, MH owners supported the legislation giving residents a say whether or not their park will be “condoized,” etc. The list goes on and on.
The choice is yours. Continue to be apathetic and suffer the consequences. Sieze this opportunity and reap the benefits. We don’t think two hours and two dollars a month is too much to ask. And we guarantee results! But one or two can’t make the committment, everyone has to make the committment! Let’s stand together, proud of our accomplishments, proud to be active again and making a difference. We can do it. We can turn this around and be strong once again. Fight, Fight, Fight. And MH Life will lead the way, hopefully with GSMOL by our side.