Who is ELS?

Equity Lifestyle Properties: Google News
04-25-08 – Mobile homeowners fight rent hikes – ABC 7 News
2008-2014 – Contempo Marin Homeowners Association v. Manufactured Home Communities, Inc.
04-16-08 – The defendant’s story – Voice of San Diego
03-17-09 – Manufactured Home Communities, inc. vs. County of San Diego – https://www.casp.net.  
05-15-12 – Affordable Housing for Seniors in the Cross Hairs in Chicago – The Nation
06-03-13 – San Rafael rent control case could impact thousand – ABC 7 News
04-20-14 & 08-12-16 – Jury awards record $111 million to trailer park residents – The Mercury News
01-18-17 – ELS Settles California Lawsuits – Business Wire
03-05-17 Mobile home park victory: A negligent owner, $10 million settlement and the San Jose residents who prevailed – East Bay Times

https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/03/05/4434205/

Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc has steeply raised rents at Sedona Shadows for 20 years, causing the values of mobile homes there to plummet… and then purchased those homes at steep discounts, for resale to new renters.

Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc (ELS) specializes in buying “underperforming” 55+ mobile home parks, and then converting them into highly profitable enterprises. Sedona Shadows (a 55+ mobile home park just outside the western gateway to Sedona) is a good example. ELS purchased the Sedona Shadows mobile home park in 1997. Then (as the existing rental contracts expired and had to be renegotiated) ELS began to sharply increase rental rates. Overall, since ELS bought Sedona Shadows in 1997, it has increased rental rates by over 200%. Meanwhile, the total inflation from 1997 to 2017 has only been 52.7%. (See Figure 1)

Figure 1

The sad story of residents who bought mobile homes in Sedona Shadows 

Over the last 20 years, ELS has raised the rent in Sedona Shadows at almost FOUR TIMES the rate of inflation. Meanwhile, retired seniors living in that 55+ community (who are typically living on fixed incomes) have become more and more desperate, as they try, again and again, to cut their living expenses to pay the ever-increasing rents, so they can remain in their so-called “affordable” mobile home. (This process has been called “wealth extraction” by some economists.)

Residents are holding Food Banks to assist their fellow residents, the situation is not good, and the generosity of many will help.

Homeowners who eventually find themselves unable to pay the ever-higher rental rates are in a very precarious situation. According to their rental contracts, falling behind on their rent is grounds for eviction, along with a demand to remove their mobile home from the park, within 60 days! Faced with potential eviction, they might try to find a buyer for their mobile home. It is only then that they discover that the $90,000 retirement savings that they “invested” in their home is mostly lost, because of the highly inflated rent. 

If the homeowners become desperate to just get free of their lease, they might be forced to accept an offer of $15,000 for their $90,000 mobile home. However, their ELS rental contract then requires them to report that deeply discounted offer to ELS, who can exercise their “Right of First Offer” to (1) purchase the home at this deeply discounted price, and (2) market that home to a new tenant, along with new rental terms that make it more attractive to the potential buyer. 

Sign posted in Sedona Shadows

If the homeowners are not able to find a buyer at any price, they might be forced to just abandon their mobile home. Their rental contract then allows ELS to simply claim ownership of their home, and sell it to another renter, along with new leasing terms that make it more attractive to the potential buyer.  

Below is a chart that shows the average rent in Sedona Shadows over the last 20 years. It is now over 3 times as high as when ELS bought Sedona Shadows in 1997. See the White Paper on FACTS Tab

Notes:

[1] Rent figures taken from Equity Lifestyles Annual Reports (1997 – 2016)

[2] Starting with their Annual Report for 2017, ELS has stopped showing their rental rates for their mobile home parks.

[3] Monthly rents rounded off to the nearest dollar.

[4] Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures taken from:

http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/consumer-price-index-and-annual-percent-changes-from-1913-to-2008/

[5] Inflation figures taken from: https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/

The Equity Lifestyles (ELS) website

Handling and dealing with thousands and thousands of mobile home parks and neighborhoods may lead disputes over decades, yet on behalf of the employees that Yavapai County feels may live here in Rojo Grande as “affordable housing”,  what needs to be determined is if county officials are poised to deal with myriad of problems that appear to be normal “business as usual” for tenants in parks like these. For example 90 day move -out clauses, difficult and overbearing managements styles, and finally residents that have no protection should the developer decide to sell the land. 

Here are three stories that explain the home park situations in cities around the United States. 

This is current 2018 research ( WITH ONE OLDER STORY) on Home Parks and how risky an investment they are for new buyers/RESIDENTS , due to temporary security and lack of longevity they offer the residents. Please read each story.

2. https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/a-place-to-land-the-slow-struggle-for-bozeman-s/article_4b595790-a092-523c-b547-f1cdd707cb1a.html

3.   https://indyweek.com/news/mobile-home-park-residents-caught-catch-22/

4.https://kuow.org/stories/when-all-land-sold-where-will-mobile-home-owners-go/

Thank you for these facts. Please send us your stories, comments and concerns – as we will only print what we have found to be factual and in public domain.