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Iowa proposal raises concerns by mobile home residents

Iowa proposal raises concerns by mobile home residents
Iowa proposal raises concerns by mobile home residents
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Mobile home residents are expressing their concerns over a new bill they say won't stop park owners from mistreating them.

Candi Evans, a Golfview resident and co-chair of the Iowa Manufactured Home Residents Network, says they're experiencing outrageous rent increases and no-cause evictions.

As of April 1st, this year, my rent will have increased by 73 percent.

A bill working its way through the Iowa House would increase the number of days a landlord has to notify residents of an increase in rent, from 60 to 90 days.

Evans tells Iowa's News Now that they don’t necessarily need more time, they need lower costs.

We have many residents that are disabled, retired on fixed income, living only on social security so that makes it exceptionally hard for them to meet these increases.

Representative Brian Lohse, a Republican from Bondurant and the bill manager, explains lawmakers are aware of the problem but upon further review decided rent control was not something they were comfortable with.

Increase insurance costs, property insurance goes up without that cap, there’s all kinds of other things that play into what that rent is, that’s not controllable by the landlord.

Another concern Evans wants to see addressed is random evictions.

The homes can’t be moved, they evict you and you lose your life’s investment. That’s all you have.

The proposal does mention that tenants would need to be notified 90 days before they were needed to leave but doesn’t address reasons for evictions.

State Senator Zach Wahls is still reviewing the bill but says he is trusting the residents and is hoping they can add amendments.

I trust the residents on this one. I’m still hoping to speak with Representative Lohse and see if we might be able to add something on the floor, but I’ve got really serious concerns about this bill.

The bill does offer some financial relief by exempting mobile homes from property taxes.

Representative Lohse acknowledges there is still more to be done. “Where we really need to focus, from this point on, is how we keep these affordable, mobile home parks, as affordable housing option," says Rep. Lohse. "That’s a big discussion where we need to have experts more than I involved in that.”

The Iowa Manufactured Home Residents Network is urging lawmakers to make amendments to this bill that would better protect residents.

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The bill does have a sub-committee March 1.

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