Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Whats the Difference Between a Park Model and Manufactured Home?

This was a post I made in 2009. The post was written prior to our success in amending statutes pertaining to the Long Term Space Rental Act which now provides more rights for park model owner's under the law.  Please see posts after 2009 for a summary review of which statutes were affected.  Essentially, Park Model owners now have a right by law to post signs, use outside sales agencies to sell their park model homes and cannot be evicted "without cause". 

I have re-posted this prior summary because I still believe it is important for those retirees coming into our industry to be aware of the industry's history. The post outlines the legal differences between park models and manufactured homes and how their legal rights differ depending on the type of community in which they are located.

Original post August 29, 2009 (Below)

Arizona Active Retirement and Vacation Housing Choices All views expressed here are mine alone and do not necessarily represent those of any client or other organization. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. KNOW THE FACTS BEFORE YOU BUY: Park Model vs. Manufactured Home (What’s the difference?)

Both Park Model RV Resorts and Manufactured Home Communities are popular winter destinations for many of Arizona “snowbirds”. Often the question is posed; What is a park model? What is the difference between a park model, mobile home or manufactured home? Well the differences may suprise you. In the State of Arizona, size really does matter. Let's start with a park model.

A park model is considered a stationary RV. It is a home that is manufactured in the same manufacturing facilities as a manufactured home but is legally required to be less that 400sq' to maintain it's definition. Park Models are not required to be built to HUD standards rather ANSII standards which are the minimum standards required by law. To the naked eye a park model looks very similar to a single wide manufactured home, is typically located in the Active Retirement "RV Resort communities" (although some can be found in a "manufactured housing" community) and are mostly popular to out-of-state retirees due to their size and minimal maintenance. Throughout the years, the popularity of the RV Resort lifestyle has abound.

This carefree, low maintenance lifestyle is especially appealing to newer retirees who have had it with cooking, cleaning and working all their lives and just "want to have fun". The demographics in various communities and regions throughout the US vary but you can be sure to find a melting pot of a mixture of the heartbeat of America in almost any one of these communities. One gentleman told me, "where else could you find a US District judge and pipe fitter sitting at a pool party burger bash organizing a charity softball tournement"? I guess not too many places. RV Resorts often act like little towns; boasting their own mail posts, beauty parlors, travel agencies, yoga classes, movie theaters, live entertainment and so much more. The popularity of this lifestyle often prompts a winter visitor who may have experienced a "test drive" via a fully furnished seasonal rental to buy a home so they can come back year after year.

These communities often become a sort of "fellowship" with "block captains" and community volunteers who help each other enjoy their retirements. Most of the people I have had the honor to meet throughout the twenty+ years I have served this specialized market good best be described as "Good Samaritans". They truly care about and take responsibility for each other by acts of service such as driving the elderly widow on the street to her doctors appoinment or by simply offering a hot dish to someone if they get sick. One of my customers once told me that she knew shortly after she moved in to her new park model, that she was "making friends I will have the rest of my life". Often these out of town non-Arizona residents conduct fundraisers to help our local Arizona charities and volunteer in city and county programs that make are state better.

After a few years or sometimes even from the onset of a new or pre-owned park model purchase, one of our snowbirds may decide to built a room addition so they can have more interior square footage for entertaining or for family or friends to visit. These additional interior spaces are called "Arizona Rooms" and can vary in price from $10,000 for a very basic rendition all the way up to $100,000 for a super deluxe version with laundry facilities or additional bathrooms. These room additions are legally called "Patio Enclosures" and the language the City of Mesa uses to describe a park model are "temporary and portable units" (I wonder if someone who spends 100K+ after all the gussy would consider their winter home "temporary and portable") When considering a purchase of a park model, it is prudent to do your research about the home, community and business practices of the corporations or ownership of the land.

The below is my understanding of a few critical points to consider; Please see the Mobile Home Parks Residential Landlord and Tenant Act; ARS Title 33, Chapter 11 (33-1409) to begin to understand that if you own a park model, you are not protected by these laws and rather you fall under ARS Title 33, Chapter 19. There is a huge difference. (I will demonstrate the history of this Chapter 19 in a future blog). Here is an excerpt from Chapter 11; 14. "Mobile home": (a) Means either of the following: (i) A residential structure manufactured on or before June 15, 1976, that is transportable in one or more sections, eight feet or more in body width, over thirty feet in body length with the hitch, built on an integral chassis, designed to be used as a dwelling when connected to the required utilities and not originally sold as a travel trailer or recreational vehicle and which includes the plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical systems in the structure. (ii) A manufactured home built after June 15, 1976, originally bearing an appropriate insignia of approval issued by the United States department of housing and urban development. (b) Does not include either of the following: (i) A recreational vehicle such as a motor home, camping trailer, van, fifth wheel trailer or other type of recreational vehicle. (ii) A structure known as a park model trailer that is a structure built on a single chassis, mounted on wheels and designed to be connected to the utilities necessary for the operation of installed fixtures and appliances and that has a gross interior area of not less than three hundred twenty square feet and not more than four hundred square feet when prepared for occupancy.

Please consider the following when comparing options: Don’t assume disclosure: Both manufactured homes and park models are considered “personal property” not real estate. Laws which stipulate disclosure in real estate transactions, HOA (Home Owner Association) and CC & R (Covenants Codes and Restrictions) do not apply to these types of communities. Understand your rights: Even though the land is leased, manufactured housing and RV/ Park Model communities are not governed by the Arizona Residential Landlord Tenant Act or the Arizona Landlord Tenant Act and applicable real estate law pertaining to leasehold estates such as apartments may not apply. (unless you are buying a park owned home-more on this later) There are governing agencies and oversight for MANUFACTURED HOME CONTRACTORS, BROKERS/RETAILERS AND MANUFACTURED HOUSING COMMUNTIES BUT NOT PARK MODELS MANUFACTURERS, COMMUNITIES OR BROKERS):

Here is their link: Department of Building, Fire and Life Safety (DBFLS) through the State of Arizona Office of Manufactured Housing acts as the State Servicing Agency (SAA) for Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Manufactured homes were not built to HUD standards until 1976. Manufactured Housing Landlord Tenant Act: The MH Act was passed in 1987 that mandated property tax assessments on manufactured homes. These are allocated to a Relocation Fund for owners of manufactured homes which may qualify for assistance should the land owner (park owner) raise the rent over a 10% (+ the cost of living increase) or should there be a land use change. There is currently no such fund for park model owners. In fact, the Long Term Space Rental Act RV Act (see Title 33 Ch. 19) began forming in the late 90's and was passed through State legislature from the cooperating efforts of RV/Park Model land owners, a city municipality and others. The RV Act is a watered down, distored and limited version of the MH Act (it's predecessor) and actually allows a park owner to “refuse to renew a rental agreement without good cause”.

This may not seem like a big thing at first but it has helped to infringe on the civil liberties of many out-of-state non-residents since it's passing legislature in a 1999 Special Session. That's just the beginning. There is currently no funding for any oversight or accoutability for the park model industry and no admistrative function to protect "Mr Park Model-Land Renter" from "Mr. Land-Owner".. If the Mr. Land-Owner decided to increase the space rent by $10,000 per month or cut the piece of land out that the park is located on and move it to China, there would be nothing the park model-land renter could do to try and stop it except maybe hire an attorney. Since the prospect of making increasing ones business revenue stream from plaintiffs with RV Act claims is pretty dim, the likelihood could be that Mr. Park Model-Land Renter would most likely be charged a retainer only to discover that no law has been broken therefor there is no case.

As the law stands now, Mr. Park Model-Land Renter would either have to come up with the cash and pay this new space rent amount, move the home out of the park (If the park owner will let him) or sacrifice the home to the park either in lieu of rents or for a fraction of the value the park model owner thought he had.

Many park model communities publish Rules and Regulations which unilaterally effect all residents. These Rules and Regulations may be changed, amended or otherwise modified at any time for any reason without consent from the residents to whom they pertain. It is common for these rules to prohibit resident "For Sale" signs and disallow any involvement on their "private property" from unapproved "vendors". Even though these communities are acting in the capacity of mini-municipalities; mandating and enforcing their own "laws", regulating their own utilities, maintaining their own mail rooms, provide regular public access to promote their activities department budgets, etc., they still insist that they are private entities subject to protection as private land-owners and are able to create monopolies by regulate the trade themselves through exclusive vendor agreements granted to their"approved businesses" (which have agreed to fund them).

Other rules stipulate that no outside listing company is allowed to operate in the community and that if the resident requires assistance selling their home they will be required to use the internally owned and operated sales office. It is common practice for these sales offices to steer their captive audience buyers to the park owned properties (which are often accumulated by the land owner through various confiscation techniques or abandonment by the resident) or to their new home inventory. They use their advantage of "free or discounted space rent" as a way to leverage value over other seller’s who aren’t so well positioned and aren't "allowed" to fairly compete. The most recent "special offer" are communities which agree to move a park model resident from a competitive community into their community "For Free" and will include special rent incentive.

Of course their are consequences if the resident later decides he doesn't want to stay in the community which include paying back all of the freebies with interest. The MH Act requires by law that residents in manufactured housing communities shall have the right to post a For Sale sign in their window and the ability to use the service of an outside broker should they need professional assistance. Specifically it states that a resident shall not be required to use a specific firm.

Unlike real estate which can be accessible by any agent with a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) access code, those interested in purchasing either a manufactured home or park model in an active retirement community often find it very challenging. As out of state retirees explore their retirement options in Arizona they often get confused during the process because of a lack of centralized and consistent information. They will often spend hours of time on-line or driving through communities, writing down phone numbers, contacting multiple brokers and often visit the community management office for assistance. The RV Act makes no such provisions and requires that the seller post their advertising on a bulletin board often found in the parks sales office.

Residents almost feel forced to list their home with the park if they need assistance. This week, I received a call from an 87 year old elderly man. He reached my number by mistake. He had been given a number by directory assistance that he thought would connect him with an RV salvage yard where he could buy a used sink for his “RV”. I wanted to help this gentleman so I told him I would be happy to find the correct number and conduct a three way call to make sure he got taken care of. As our conversation continued he informed me that his home wasn’t actually an RV it was a park model. Years ago after he lost his wife, he decided to sell his residential property (real estate) and move into a secure community where he could be with other retirees and stay active.

He purchased the park model and fixed it up years ago but now is getting “too old to live alone” and wants to move to Colorado to be with his family who are eagerly waiting and will be able to give him the care he needs. Finally he said; “I wouldn't need a sink if I could just get this place sold but the park has got us so tied up here there are about 200 for sale and nobody knows what to do". He said his space rent has recently increased so much, he had heard of people on fixed incomes who had to choose between buying their medication and paying their rent.

The RV Act gives the land owner the right to turn off the utilities and evict elderly residents with a writ of restitution and "the sheriff or constable may fully execute the writ of restitution by removing all occupants and their possessions from the recreational vehicle and from the space it occupies. The recreational vehicle is deemed abandoned... " Once the home is abandoned the park owner can take title to the park model which is titled like a car and resell to someone else for a really great price. Many of the demographic who own park models in RV Resorts are of the affluent sort and can just walk away if they get disgusted with this type of communist regime.

Others like my 87 year old elderly man feel obligated to "take care of their business" or may have no where else to go. They will stay and try to do anything to get their place sold even if it means having to buy a new sink. (He chipped the middle when he was doing the dishes and was afraid that would devalue his home). I will be meeting with my new friend this Saturday to see what I can do to help him and will report back to this blog.

Here is more... Administrative Law Process: This is only applicable to Manufactured Homes and does not apply to park models. The administrative hearing process is overseen by DBFLS which is "responsible by law for enforcing the standards, rules and regulations pertaining to manufactured homes and their communities". (Park Model owners or those who know of people who need help dealing with any of these issues may contact me directly through this safe link . we have formed a community based grassroots network comprised of Arizona winter visitors, residents and small business organizations dedicated to promoting and protecting the rights and interests of retirement aged persons in Arizona.

There are wheels in motion to resolve these issues through free speech social networks where residents of Arizona's retirement communities will be able to share resources, mentor each other and rate their communities in their own words. We will also be sponsoring classes and workshops specifically targeted to educate and empower retirement ages persons to take care of themselves and unify). Ironically, the “RV Act” passing of the legislature coincided with an RV Park owner association's reaction to a city code mandate which put pressure on park model community owners to create some type of written agreement with their tenants.

These parks had failed to comply with certain existing setback and building code requirements that they had ignored and that were not enforced for nearly 20 years. Many of these non-compliant park owners faced massive fines and criminal prosecution unless internal controls were implemented within these communities as part of a participation agreement between a small group of parks and a local city government department to initiate and implement a plan for widespread compliance over a period of years since the problem was so severe. The city's leverage was their power to issue permits new park model placement sets and existing park model improvement such as upgrades to electric or "patio enclosures"(ie Arizona Rooms).

If the park model park owners wanted their communities to flourish, they would need to get along with the city. This meant creating some type of written document that could be enforced on a resident to make them pay for improvements on the properties that held non-compliant status. From this point on, the grandfather terminology would only mean that a home could violate city code requirements only up to the point of sale or rental. If a resident was going to sell or rent, he would be required to get "approval" from Mr. Land- Owner management office, an inspection would be completed, and any required improvements would be stipulated in writing and acknowledged by the resident.

Either the resident could bring the home into compliance prior to sale or the buyer (new resident) would agree to do so within a 6 mo. period. Of course this triggered alarm in many of the communities and created a massive exodus from many communities as private sellers just gave their homes away to wholesale brokers who would agree to "tear the unit down" and remove it from it's existing location, thereby alleviating the space rent liability of the previous resident.

In many other cases, elderly people who didn't understand what was happening and were terrified of the prospect of their home being torn apart to make way for fire fighters would end their retirement years early, go back home to Minnesota or wherever they were from and leave their park model titles behind mostly in the hands of the park owners who would then be responsible for it including any required upgrades.

The exclusive vendor rule really got roarin' at this time. In some cases where the compliance issues were minimal such as an installation of a firewall on one side of a shed, homeowners would get together to help each other make these improvements. In other cases Mr. Park Model-Land Renter would use his signed compliance requirement letter as a work order to hire one of the park approved contractors who had been given the charter for the community.

It was pretty busy and pretty messy around this time for a few years as awnings were being cut down, homes were being moved, thousands of dollars could be spend by Mr. Park Model-Land Renter just to gain a few more inches from the electric pedestal. These certain "approved"contractors were able to buy new trucks, 2nd Homes and take the summers off as a result of the high demand compliance business. Of course they could fix the price since there was no competition allowed; they had the exclusive right to work authorized from the top.

 Residents who had owned park trailers (the old nomenclature) in these non-compliant communities often suffered the financial brunt of the costs involved to modify their properties to satisfy these requirements (Even though they bought them that way with no disclosure from the community sales personnel).

They were told in many cases that this all was happening because of a "new city ordinance" when in fact the setback requirements had been in place since 1977, the year the city agreed to let the RV parks self-regulate. The language in the RV Act maintains that under ARS 33-2131: "A tenant shall: 1. Comply with all obligations primarily imposed on tenants by applicable provisions of city, county and state codes materially effecting health and safety. 2. Comply with all park rules regarding sanitary and aesthetic guidelines. Since 1996 I have encountered hundreds of cases where winter visitors had purchased properties before and since this law was passed that are shocked that even though they were told the home met compliance, it in fact didn't and the park owner can actually require by law that the retiree come up with the cash or get out. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to just move out. Moreover the resident is required to get a written release from the manager before they could even move the home out of the community.

Last year I assisted a couple in an RV Resort where these residents had decided to move their home out of the community due to a conflict with management approximately a month before their annual space rent was coming due. The park required a 30 day notice for removal of any home. When the resident approached the manager about paying a small prorated portion of the rent in case their ability to get their home out before the space rent due date was delayed, they were told that they would be required to pay their entire annual space rent on the due date and that if they didn't the park manager wasn't going to allow the home out.

The Arizona's Revised Statutes were passed with no representation for winter visitors. It fertilizes the ground for the greedy and unscrupulous corporate executives who bought these communities mostly from farming families who originally owned them. There are very few "family owned and operated" parks left but if one can be found it may be an endangered species. There is no government agency or oversight for this segment of our housing population. The corporate lobby power keeps the existing controls in place while arguing for the Constitutional (private property) Rights of the land owner. What about the rights of the people who live there? Who is going to help Mr. Park Model-Land Renter: from the greatest generation who are often so afraid of losing their homes, and more so their social network and peer support? These are after all the whole reason these folks many of whom are retired veterans who fought wars for our freedom and that constitute the meat of what makes these winter wonder lands so popular. Once a "non-compliant" Mr. Park Model-land renter widow explained to me; "I lost my husband a year ago. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't get out of the cold and get down here to be with my friends. I'm just going to do what they say and forget it."

Residents which would have claims under the MH Act find themselves out in the cold when it comes to the RV Act. Should our Bill of Rights as given by the US Constitution be overridden because of private property rights of out-of-state corporations who choose to take advantage of US citizens in our state? Should access to consumer protection rely entirely upon a HUD sticker? Aren't their discrimination issues when Mr. Park Model-Land Renter is forced to suffer financial burdens and other consequences when the results of those occur due to the size of home he buys? The bottom line is that all the Mr. Park Model- Land Renters and his family are at the mercy of the "private property" land owner. They decide the rules, that's it. If you don't like it you can leave because there are many others willing to take the space. Mr. Park Model-Land Renter can just walk away but sometimes not without forbearing liability, credit damage and a devastated retirement housing plan. In most cases he could take his home with him but where would he go. Is there still life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness or not. Isn't that what he spent his whole life working to do? Legal Assistance can be costly and most of those in their golden years, don't want to deal with the trouble so they just cut their losses, move on and try not to look back.

I wonder how many potential Arizona residents we may have been lost because of the lack of protection for out-of-state seniors who may have otherwise chosen to make Arizona their permanent home for retirement after seasonal visits for so many years. Amazing since visitors to Arizona constitute 40% of the Sales Tax Revenue that represents 50% of our total revenue for the Arizona State General Fund. (Per the current Secretary of State Ken Bennett in a budget demonstration in at a ladies Republican lunch in September 2009). I wonder if trading the freedom of seniors is worth keeping out-of-state corporations happy. I guess these banker types could take their marbels and go home.

Oh yeah, winter visitors come to Arizona because it is warm here. Well if these corporations don't give up their evil ways then maybe we can vote them out. If not through our state legislative process then maybe with another vote that really counts. I'm talking about the USD from exchange currency or under the mattress. Money seems to be the law of the land. Since those are the rules then winter visitors can choose NOT TO INVEST IN ANY CORPORATION THAT APPROVES OF DECEPTIVE, UNFAIR OR UNCONCIONABLE ACTS OR ATTACKS INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM EITHER BY ACTIVE PRACTICE OR COMPLACENT IGNORANCE. If they don't like it they can leave cause' there's plenty of others who would love to take their place. Other stipulations in leases include a “no refund” policy for prepaid space rent if a property is sold. In some of these cases the park will not transfer the pre-paid space rent either and will require immediate payment of the annual dues again from their new resident.

Other leases require the resident submit to liens greater than the homes value if the resident decides to move it out for any reason. This is justified in their leases because the resident obtained the home from the park at a discount and therefor if the park owner is not going to get his long term space rent from the buyer, there need to be means by which he can recoup his loss. Families of winter visitor residents often feel frustrated and confused as they hear stories like those I have shared in this blog. It is almost unbelievable that this kind of thing can actually be happening. It is especially heart breaking because these are the people that built our country, paid their taxes, worked their whole lives to retire and we live in a State that can allow them to be treated like this. Of course there are thousands of winter visitors every year that never have had a bad experience. Just like there were plenty of homeowners in America that never thought they could possibly lose their pensions or retirement accounts.

One legislator told me that since winter visitors mostly comprise these communities and since they are not voters, they have no leverage with lawmakers who are not afraid of losing their jobs by losing votes. Winter visitors do vote. They vote with their dollar and their time. They have been the volunteers that for decades have built and been the lifeblood of many businesses in Arizona (like mine). The popularity of this lifestyle may be in part to the fancy amenities in these multi-million dollar communities with State of the Art fitness facilities, on-site beauty parlors and restaurants. The biggest part of what makes these communities great are the people that live in them. In fact they are the ones that made this nation great through their value system, dedication to service and good Shepard fellowship. These parks have survived despite their business practices because of the spirit of this generation.

Park Model/RV Resort community land owners have saved countless thousands of dollars in operating expenses thank to their volunteer labor. What a great going away present as this generation evolves through their lives journey. They get to give their homes away but at least they felt appreciated. General rules of thumb: Get it in writing: Always get and read copies of the community lease, rules and regulations, statement of policy, and proof of city code compliance from the governing municipality (not just from the community itself). If you are unable to verify compliance, the setback and other requirements should be available through the community office and taken into consideration when making an offer. Interview the manager and talk to the residents:

One of the best ways to get to know a community and their business practices. Search for the community on the Internet through search engines to see if any blogs have been written. I found once by a group of park model home owners which formed their own HOA to try and figure out how to make things bigger. They indicated in the blog that they understand they have no real say but it makes them feel better to talk about it. Attend a community event, meet the manager and staff and speak with several residents that live within the community. Find out who the land owner is and who runs the show. Search for their names in search engines which may indicate search findings of legal proceedings or articles written about their communities. I found an artice that featured a well known community ownership who was fined a $1000 per day because they did not correct a problem related to toxic drinking water for their residents for over 6 months. Calculate the risks: Despite the oligarchy which exists in many of these RV Resorts, snowbirds still flock to them. Many of these communities are well managed and do not impose these unfair business practices.

Many actually cater to the concerns and needs of the people who live there. Just understand that there are currently no safeguards to protect your rights in RV parks. If management or ownership changes anyone could find themselves prey to this because the law allows it. Many residents who buy these types of homes understand this and simply “do not spend more than they would be willing to lose” after considering the risks. Historically, park Model RV Resorts have offered more competitive annual space rents because the lots are smaller (Home must be 320-399sq' to be considered a park model-unless they have had a room added to them ie. Arizona Room) than the typical lot sizes to accommodate the larger manufactured homes.

Manufactured Housing Communities often require more stringent background and credit checks and many do not allow subletting which is a popular option for snowbirds who may wish to use their home for rental income when they are not using it and/or to cover annual costs in case of health issues or other interests. For years various advocacy groups have tried to get park model legislation passed to essentially place park model land renters under the care of the MH Act. Proposition 207 was a voter initiative passed in 2006. It was approved by Arizona residents to curtail the abuse of regulatory power by government agencies regarding private property rights. According to legal various legal review, "it prevents regulatory takings unless the government first compensates the land owner for the amount by which the regulation reduced the value of the land at issue."

Any land owner with park model space rentals may have a claim against the state for damages should park models be transferred under the MHP Act. So what! This isn't just about land or money or even the poor uninformed snowbird. This is about the principal of it. It's not fair and it's not right and somebody needs to make a big deal about this. Just like one of my customers once told me: "I never did see a hearse pullin' a U-Haul." In the meantime remember this: "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart: wait I say on the Lord".(Psalm 27:14) Please contact me at azrv@cox.net or feel free to click the link above to share your story or interest. Our office may be reached at: 1-800-478-3864

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a woman in Maine who was having difficulty accepting the "new rules" her community was imposing in regard to her ability to sell her park model. Since the park model concept is relatively new in her state, she was having some difficulty understanding where she could go for help to understand why her right to dispose of her property was being oppressed by the community management.

She indicated that she was going to peaceably appeal in letter form and would keep me posted as to the outcome. Yesterday we spoke in length after she received notice that the rules were non-negotiable and that if she did not remove the sign from her window, she would be in violation of the community rules.

Since Arizona set a precedent in 2012 with SB1146 and HB2255 in regard to "park model rights to sell" and changed the language of the Arizona Revised Statute pertaining to eviction "without" cause (see links below), Maine may just have a leg to stand on. Although the magnitude of park model ownership in Arizona is much larger, the bigger issue is individual liberty and equal protection under the law.

It is my understanding in speaking with this Maine resident that there is no statute or act which pertains to park model owner rights in her state. She states that park models are still defined as "camping trailers" without any differentiation between these types of recreational vehicle properties which most closely resemble a manufactured home instead of a typical camping trailer or other recreational vehicle such as a motor home, travel trailer or fifth wheels.

Unlike Most RV's, park models cannot simply be unhooked and pulled out without considerable expense because of the costly process of dismantling the improvements made on the lot as park models are not built to travel from site to site and require direct hook up to sewer and utilities and often have on-site improvements which normally cannot be moved without considerable expense and damage to such improvements.

I love the fire in the spirit of the woman who is trailblazing for others in her state. Hopefully we can set the record straight about what type of authority land owners have over the individual liberty of it's residents.
We will keep you all posted. Please help us review the Maine Constitution Declaration of Rights;

According the an excerpt of the 5000 Year Leap p.172 Justice George Sutherland of the US Supreme Court once told the New York State Bar Association: It is not the right of property which is protected, but the right to property. Property, per se, has no rights; but the individual-the man- has three great rights, equally sacred from the arbitrary interference; the right to his LIFE, the right to his LIBERTY, the right to his PROPERTY...The three rights are so bound together as to be essentially one right. To give a man his life but deny him his liberty, is to take from him all that makes his life worth living. To give him his liberty but take from him the property which is the fruit and badge of his liberty, is to still leave him a slave. (Principal or Expedient? Annual Address to the New York State Bar Association, 21 January 1921, p.18)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Crime and Scam Prevention Seminar for Seniors (Hosted by the Moms and Pops of America)

Moms and Pops of America

Kara Holt
Tel: 480- 218-1112
Cell: 480-299-7236
Email: info@momsandpopsofamerica.com

visit: www.momsandpopsofamerica.com

Seminar to feature Speakers Bureau to Empower and Defend Seniors in Apache Junction

Thursday, August 3 – Mesa, Arizona. The Moms and Pops of America, a not for profit grassroots organization, is co-sponsoring a senior seminar that will focus on presenting Crime, Scam and Identity Theft prevention experts to offer free information and workshops specific to seniors most vulnerable to these incidents.

This event will facilitate guest speakers who will discuss and present live demonstrations, safety tips and learning opportunities to assist seniors in protecting themselves from Identity Theft, Scams, Physical Assault and Burglary. Attendees will have access to Senior Advocates, Self Defense and Self Awareness training, Business Vetting tips and access to support through the Pinal-Gila County Council Area Agency on Aging Region V if they have already been or become a victim of one of these types of crimes. There will also be discussion on incorporating neighborhood watch programs within their communities.

The four hour event will feature TRIAD- Pinal County Sheriffs Office, Pinal County Attorney General’s Office, Apache Junction Active Adult Center, Second Amendment Sisters, Life Lock, Bob Ross, Self-Defense Instructor and the Moms and Pops of America.

The location of The Crime and Scam Prevention Seminar for Seniors is the Multi-Generational Center located at 1035 N. Idaho Rd. in Apache Junction, AZ 85119.

Date of the event will take place on Saturday August 13, 2011, from 9am - 1pm. Light lunch, refreshments and a morning muffin will be offered to all attendees along with door prizes which will include surprise giveaways from local sponsors.

Moms and Pops of America is a volunteer based grassroots advocacy organization made up of men and women with a special emphasis on issues which affect small businesses and seniors.

For more information contact Kara Holt at 480-218-1112, 480-299-7236 or email for more information: info@momsandpopsofamerica.com or visit our website at www.momsandpopsofamerica.com.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Rules are About to Change in Arizona’s RV Resort/Park Model Communities. Should a few inches really make that much of difference?

Historical Perspective

Modifications to the Long Term Space Rental Act (RV Act) (Title 19 Ch. 33 2101-2141) in Arizona’s last controversial legislative session, may mean more peace of mind and higher values for park model owners in Arizona’s RV Resort Communities. For those not intricately involved in the RV/Park Model world, it may come as a surprise that even though park models look like miniature manufactured homes, because of their size (less than 400 sq’), these snowbird winter play homes have been legally classified as recreational vehicles (RV’s) for over a decade. At first glance this may not seem like that big of a deal, but a few inches really can make a big difference.

Even though park models are produced with the same materials, on the same assembly lines and by the same manufacturers as “manufactured homes” (over 400sq’) their governing community oversight and consumer protection agencies offered by the State of are the same as those pertaining to communities for travel trailers, motor homes or fifth wheels…None. Looking a bit closer, it is easy to see how the lack of accountability in an industry can be the breeding ground for a misuse of power. Tyranny can begin with just one legal definition.

Unlike most recreational vehicles which are removed from communities during the summer months, park models are set up and maintained on the same location on an annual basis. Besides the fellowship, amenities and facilities offered by these multi-million dollar communities, there are many benefits of park model ownership. One of these is that park model owners (who often transition from a regular RV) get the benefits of a fun and active lifestyle with some of their dearest friends while at the same time, get to escape the risks often associated with pulling tons of metal behind them down winter winding roads covered in ice from their home towns to get to our sunny destination.

Park model owners typically buy and/or keep their little dollhouses fully furnished and can fly or drive down to use them and them “button them up” (as one Canadian friend put it) when they leave until the following winter season. These typically 11’ X 35’ one bedroom vacation homes offer full kitchens and baths and can be modified to incorporate larger amounts of living space with room additions often referred to as Arizona Rooms, sun patios, workshops and the like. Since many park model owners have previously lived in even smaller spaces for months at a time in their RV days, 400sq’ plus is plenty since they these folks are mostly busy outside of their homes; dancing, shopping or spending their money. They enjoy being outside getting sun or participating with others at their clubhouse community center volunteering, singing, dancing or making crafts and most importantly spending their money with our local businesses. They do this in our sunbelt state for about six months (up until around April) until they go home to be back with their families in Minnesota, Iowa, Canada or wherever else they might call home base.

According to Arizona’s Secretary of State, Ken Bennett, during the budget negotiations within Arizona State Legislature, visitors to Arizona constitute more than 3 Billion dollars in annual sales tax revenue to Arizona to support our schools, roads, educations system, and businesses. That doesn’t even include the millions of dollars collected in property taxes which are paid by winter visitors who own park models and manufactured homes even though they may not be residents of our state. That’s quite a big piece of the Arizona financial pie considering our total annual revenue doesn’t exceed 13 Billion from all sources*. Even though the majority of park models are owned by winter visitors, over the past few years of unsettled financial hardship for many, these little homes have proven to serve as an affordable housing option for many year round residents (seniors on fixed incomes) who can buy a home for as little as a few thousand dollars and pay as small of an annual fee at $2000 per year for annual space rent cost. Because these types of RV Park residents are often on fixed incomes, they cannot afford anything else or to move. They often offer services to other residents as a way to supplement their incomes by caretaking or cleaning homes for their more affluent “snowbird” friends. This is where the property rights of a resident who own a park model versus those of manufactured home owners get a little more complicated. If someone wants to exit an RV Resort and/or sell their RV such as a travel trailer, they just unhook the unit from utilities and off they go. It’s an entirely different story with Park Models.

Park Models are basically stuck wherever they have originally been placed. Park model are not built to be readily road worthy and are not easily transportable like other RV’s. They are not self contained and not meant to be pulled from location to location such as a motor home or travel trailer which may often be seen driven down the Hwy or pulled behind a truck. Once a park model is delivered to a site from the factory or sales lot, they are permanently set up, tied down and attached to permanent structures in their destination community. They can be moved but it can be a very messy and expensive process. Due to the tremendous expense associated with moving a park model to another location (which often requires the dismantle and destruction of the Arizona Rooms which have been built on to them), sellers of park models face the same challenges as manufactured home owners when it comes to selling.

Just like manufactured home owners, park model owners are bound to the rules and regulations of the communities in which they are located. RV Parks helped to create and take advantage of the loop holes in the original legislation which have given more authority to RV parks than those found in laws associated with manufactured home communities. One of these relates to the rights of an owner of a park model when selling. Because a park model is most often found on leased land (not real estate), they do not have access to a multiple listing service such as those offered on residential real estate by regional real estate listing services. Park model owners become entirely dependent on drive in traffic and word of mouth to market their properties. Corporations and partnerships which have purchased these communities have imposed community rules which prevent the home owner from posting a “for sale” sign and/or require that the resident use the internal sales office (often owned by the community) to sell their home. It is not surprising that the homes which are marketed the most are the ones owned by the community and not the ones listed that have “already paying space rent residents” in place.

Because of this, these individual sellers have been limited in the amount of outside exposure they need to reach buyers. In most cases there is a conflict of interest because their landlords are their competition. This fact intimidates many who feel obligated to list their home to stay on the good side of the community and/or feel afraid to confront the lack of showings of their homes because of their fear of being evicted or ostracized. Many communities have passed rules which state that residents are not allowed to post their own for sale sign in the window of the home they are trying to sell thus not attracting buyers who might be driving through the community looking for a prospective purchase.

In addition, if a park model resident becomes incapacitated or deceased, out of state family members are often left to face the dilemma of liquidating the property. They face the option of “giving the home away”, turning over their titles to the community ownership, or maintaining the annual liability ($3000-$10,000). The other option is to pay thousands of dollars to remove the home from the community. If a home is removed from a community the resident or representative of the resident are most often required to return the lot from which the home is removed to its “original condition” (tearing up concrete, tearing down Arizona Rooms, removing plants and trees, etc.). It is much more difficult to leave an RV Resort if you don’t own the type of RV that can be unhooked from utilities and simply driven or pulled out of the community.

Senate Bill 1146 (SB1146) amends ARS 33-2102 and 33-2132 C,6 to say that “A landlord shall not: prohibit a tenant from advertising the sale or exchange of their property including the display of a “For Sale” or “Open House” sign on the recreational vehicle… Further ARS 33-2132 states amends C to ad #7 which now says that” A landlord shall not: 7. Require a tenant or prospective tenant to use any specific agency, manufacturer, retailer or broker.

Another problem in many communities is that because of the language in the original legislation (passed by community owners and community owner advocates in 1999), park model owners have been able to evict an RV park resident “without cause”. The RV act drafters copied much of the language found the Manufactured Home Landlord Tenant Act (passed in the mid-80’s)which states that a manufactured home community must have “cause” (i.e. Non-payment of rent, breaking the law, change if use of land, repeated violations of the rental agreement, etc) to evict a tenant. Instead, the makers of the RV Act created a half hearted version which contained the words “without cause” and the parks have run with the implication of this power to evict for no reason for over ten years.

Up until this most recent legislation was passed, a manager/owner of an RV Resort could evict someone without cause which gave them a carte blanche “big stick” to keep residents “in line”. If someone opposed a new rule or questioned a particular park’s unfair business practices, they were often told to shut up and sit down or get out. This original “without cause” language (in the previous legislation) was also known as “subparagraph F”.

Fortunately for RV Park/Park Model residents this new legislation now has changed the rules for the park managers/owners. House Bill 2255 (HB2255) amends ARS 33-2143 to exclude park trailer (park model) residents from the “without cause” clause. This means that a manager of a community cannot “non-renew” a lease without a good cause. (See ARS 33-2143 G. 1, 2, 3, 4)

There is still much work to do to level the playing field for residents of RV Resort communities and stop some of this abusive misuse of power, but at least the stage has been set. Even one of the legislators who helped to pass the legislation indicated that when she first moved to Arizona she thought of buying a park model. They are so cute!

Please visit our website to see entire bills: ParkModelOwners.comOr call our office: 480-699-4424
E-mail: KaraKHolt@gmail.com

We hold these truths:
According the an excerpt of the 5000 Year Leap p.172 Justice George Sutherland of the US Supreme Court once told the New York State Bar Association: It is not the right of property which is protected, but the right to property.
Property, per se, has no rights; but the individual-the man- has three great rights, equally sacred from the arbitrary interference; the right to his LIFE, the right to his LIBERTY, the right to his PROPERTY...The three rights are so bound together as to be essentially one right.
To give a man his life but deny him his liberty, is to take from him all that makes his life worth living. To give him his liberty but take from him the property which is the fruit and badge of his liberty is to still leave him a slave.
(Principal or Expedient? Annual Address to the New York State Bar Association, 21 January 1921, p.18)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Victory for Park Model Owners!

New Arizona Park Model Laws Effective July 31, 2010

Active Resort Properties is the premier sponsor of the Moms and Pops of America (MAPOA). MAPOA is a volunteer based grass roots advocacy organization founded to represent a voice in Arizona State legislature for seniors and small businesses. Membership is FREE and encouraged by all winter visitors who wish to stay informed about legislation which could affect their lives and investments in Arizona. For more information about MAPOA, please visit http://www.momsandpopsofamerica.com/ or email our lobbyist at: karakholt@gmail.com.

During the 49th Second Regular Legislative Session, we were able to successfully pass two very important bills which substantially amend the Long Term Space Rental Act pertaining to the property rights of park model/park trailer owners in Arizona. The enforcement of these bills through the Arizona Judicial system should ultimately help owners of park models maintain higher values for their properties and certainly grant some additional peace of mind for those currently living in or anticipating residency in one of these types of communities.

These two bills (SB1146 and HB2255) were signed into law by Governor Brewer in April and May of 2010 and have an effective date of July 31, 2010. Once these laws become effective, it will be against the law for a community to prevent a park model owner from hiring an outside broker to assist them in selling their home, prohibit for sale signs and open house signs including those which display their or their agents name and contact information and will not be able to essentially evict residents when they feel like it. For the past decade, park model owners have been denied the same rights under the law as manufactured housing owners in regard to their Constitutional Rights to dispose of their property.

Over the past ten years various groups have attempted to get this modified in legislature and it wasn’t until this last legislative session that this actually happened. Now, park model owners will no longer have to bow down to unfair and unethical practices of many community ownership that have leveraged the legal loopholes to their financial advantage making it nearly impossible for a park model owner to compete with their landlord for buyers.

As anyone knows that has ever lived in a park model/RV resort, the lifestyle, friendship and fellowship of these types of communities is unparalleled. Now fun in the sun has a little bit more level playing field. The softball players should like that!


SB1146 amends; Title 33 Ch.19 Article 1 ARS 33-2102. Definitions 17(c) defining a park trailer as a PARK MODEL interchangeably which refers to an RV that was originally mounted on wheels and which the wheels have been removed and whose gross trailer area is not less than 320 sq’ and not more than 400 sq’ when it is set up.



Hb2255 amends; Title 33 Ch.19 Article 4 ARS 33-2143. Termination or nonrenewal of rental agreement by landlord; noncompliance with rental agreement by tenant: failure to pay rent: notice: damages: definition. “SUBCLAUSE F” EXCEPT FOR THOSE RECREATIONAL VEHICLES THAT ARE PARK TRAILERS AS PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 33-2102, a landlord may refuse to renew a rental agreement without cause by serving written notice to the tenant to renew a rental agreement without good cause by serving written notice to the tenant at least ninety days before the end of the rental agreement. Besides this language, there were limitations placed on the percentage of fees landlords may charge for utilities. Please visit the http://www.azleg.gov/ website for a full view of these two bills including a complete history of the progression of the bills as they were passed and ultimately signed by Governor Brewer.


The passing and signing of these bills were a huge victory for park model owners thanks to those who had the courage and willingness to stand up and share their stories before the Arizona State Legislature. A special thanks goes to all the small “mom and pop” businesses that served as distribution points for our literature to make these issues known to voters in Arizona who were willing to stand by their winter visitor friends. Much gratitude is owed to Senator John Huppenthal and Senator Barbara Leff for their sponsorship and assistance to get the bill passed and to Governor Jan Brewer for signing the bill into law.

Thanks also to Representative Cecil Ash, the previous owner of Viewpoint RV Resort, for helping to get the votes in the House and all of the other legislators who were willing to vote in favor of these bills. These are very big first steps which now set policy to give our winter visitor friends’ equal protection under the law in some of their property rights. A special thanks to Gerry Adcock, Dan Washburn, Marge Webb and Jean Creagan for their guidance, support and testimony. An of course Earl Lundin, my initial one and only live testimony that made all the difference in the hearts of our legislative gate keepers.

Thank you for this opportunity to serve you!

Please feel free to contact our office for more information: 1-800-478-3864

According the an excerpt of the 5000 Year Leap p.172 Justice George Sutherland of the US Supreme Court once told the New York State Bar Association: It is not the right of property which is protected, but the right to property. Property, per se, has no rights; but the individual-the man- has three great rights, equally sacred from the arbitrary interference; the right to his LIFE, the right to his LIBERTY, the right to his PROPERTY...The three rights are so bound together as to be essentially one right. To give a man his life but deny him his liberty, is to take from him all that makes his life worth living. To give him his liberty but take from him the property which is the fruit and badge of his liberty, is to still leave him a slave. (Principal or Expedient? Annual Address to the New York State Bar Association, 21 January 1921, p.18)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

New Law Passes Protecting Property Rights for Park Model Owners

All mankind... being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.
- John Locke

Park Model Owners Rights When Selling! SB1146 is now law. Leff Makes Right.

On April 20, 2010, SB1146 was signed into law by Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer. This bill amends ARS 31-2102 of the Long Term Space Rental Act AKA RV Act (LTSRA). The RV Act pertains to leases of land to park models owners (RV Resort residents who rent annual spaces containing permanent homes) which exceed 180 days. This new law change addresses the discrimination that many RV/park model owner residents have faced over the last decade in regard to their private property rights. When the RV Act was passed by state legislature in 1999 certain provisions were left out that could have protected thousands of residents from losing their homes over the last 10 years.

A few land owners who own RV/Park Model communities (mostly out of state corporations) have taken advantage of these loop holes in the law and implemented rules and regulations in their communities slanted to the financial benefit of the land owner. This has contributed to the diminishment of value of a certain type of housing which is called a park model. Park models are considered personal property and like manufactured homes which are placed on leased land lots, this type of chattel are titled like cars and ownership transfers are currently facilitated through the Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). A resident of an RV/Park Model community and who holds title to this type of home also maintains a home owner’s insurance policy, pays property taxes and an annual space rent to the land/community owner.

SB1146 helps to “level the playing field” between the interest of the land owner and the park model (chattel) owner. This law prevents a community from prohibiting individual for sale signs and the common practice of forcing a resident who owns a park model to list their home with the internal community owned sales agency as their only alternative for professional representation. Park model owners will now have more options when attempting to sell their homes than having to compete with their own community for buyers, paying costly tear down, transport and relocation fees and turning over their titles to the land owner or paying on-going annual space rent while they wait for their home to sell.

During this 49th Legislature Second Regular Session hearing and floor voting process, it was clear that many of our state legislators had never heard of a park model or understood the difference between the laws that govern them versus manufactured homes and why this bill was necessary. Since their inception in the mid 80’s park models have been categorized and legally defined as a “Recreational Vehicle” (RV). In order to maintain this definition these types of dwellings must leave their factories with a total interior square footage of 400 or less. Park models can mostly be found in RV Resorts which are not covered by the Arizona Manufactured Home Landlord Tenant Act which came into existence in the late 80’s. They do not enjoy the same protection under law as a similar factory built housing product (over 400sq’) which is legally defined as a “manufactured home”.

Perhaps park of all the confusion in understanding the difference between the two types of manufactured housing products is that to the naked eye park models look just like manufactured homes so why would they be treated differently to begin with? That’s a good questions and one that upon research can be answered by two words; lobby power. In the minutes of the committee meetings during the original legislation which created the Long Term Space Rental Act, language in the bills originally provided for the same types of protection though certain special interest associations and government lobbyist opposed their categorization as a manufactured home. A bill was introduced in the late 90’s that would have included park models under the manufactured housing laws but was defeated because their was no advocacy for the park model owners with a big enough stick to fight off their being grouped in under other laws pertaining to travel trailers and motor homes.

These typically 1BR/1BA homes are set up in communities on an annual basis with attached carports, workshops and room additions. Similar to manufactured homes, they are most often anchored to the ground, have cement driveways, and are connected to utilities, set up permanently on a lot with a necessity for on-site utilities including sewer /septic lines, water and electric. Unlike other types of recreational vehicles, park models do not contain components typical to RV’s such as holding tanks, electric jacks, hydraulic brakes, roof air conditioning, generators, etc. and are not designed to be towed behind a truck to multiple locations. Other types of RV’s such as fifth wheel trailers, motor homes and travel trailers are built to be road worthy and are self contained with no need for on-site utilities to function.

Most Park Models are manufactured in the same manufactured housing plants as manufactured homes, with similar construction specifications such as 2’ X 4” centers, drywall interior walls, cathedral ceilings, shingle roofs and built-in appliances which must be connected to on-site utilities for their operation. Since their inception, however, park models have legally been defined as a “Recreational Vehicle” (RV) and therefore are not mandated by law to be constructed according to “HUD code” as defined by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Rather the standards for construction must only meet ANSII standards which pertain to recreational vehicles and other non-habitable structures.

Manufactured homes are required to have HUD insignia’s and their production, installation, broker/dealer licensing and Manufactured Housing Landlord Tenant Act is administered through the Department of Administration and is maintained and enforced through the Department of Building Fire and Life Safety through the Office of Manufactured Housing. These agencies fall under the Executive branch of the Arizona government responsible for the administrative and enforcement functions required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Executive Branch of the Federal government.

During its journey though our state legislature SB1146 became an interesting hearing to witness as it brought forth questions from committee members and others which helped to clarify this type of hybrid home indigenous to certain regions of the US and owned in great part by our winter visitor population known as snowbirds. Park models became an answer to those demanding the RV park lifestyle but were unwilling to deal with the work it takes to own an actual RV. Snowbirds could still escape the cold winter months, come and play with their friends, keep a low maintenance relatively inexpensive winter home without the ongoing stress of hauling tons of steel behind their vehicles or having to face the hazards associated with winter road travel. Many have purchased second vehicles they would keep covered under their carports rather than drive on icy roads at all.

Beginning in the early 80’s park trailers became the first popular alternative to travel trailers and could be kept in the same location on an annual basis. The demand arose from many snowbirds staying for longer periods of time and wanted more space than just an 8’ portable road vehicle. The industry demand created this first type of park model that contained extra living space in the living room and bedroom areas. Once these got approved by legislature, the home owner would have an extra 80’ of living space. Many snowbirds began trading in their travel trailers, fifth wheels and motor homes for these more attractive park trailers, which were a precursor to our new modern day park models.

Once again, trailer park owners lobbied legislature to allow the larger park models in their communities while still allowing the RV parks their status and self rule under existing hotel/motel laws. This encouraged guaranteed annual income for the community owners since these types of RV’s would not be removed from the community like other RV’s winter visitors would unhook from sewer and take home with them when they would leave in the spring. Soon the demand for Park Models abound as land owners relished in their massive guaranteed annual incomes while park model manufacturers revved up production and park model “street dealer” retailers began lining their pockets.

Since the early 90’s over 150,000 park models have been sold in Arizona. Park models can range in price from $10,000 to $200,000 depending on the bells and whistles, room addition and community location. Park model communities are concentrated in the Mesa, Apache Junction, Sun City, Yuma, Show Low and Casa Grande, Arizona. They are also popular in other winter destinations such as Texas, Palm Springs, CA, Florida and certain parts of Colorado. Annual space rentals for park models range from $3000 to $10,000 per year. These homes have been manufactured by such big names as Cavco, Palm Harbor, Fleetwood, Skyline, Hallmark and others. They are produced in the same factories as “manufactured homes” by the same assembly line workers with the same materials.

Expert testimony was submitted during the Senate and House Commerce and Economic Development Hearings from professionals representing various segments of Arizona’s industries which are affected by park models including banking, transport, lending and appraisal organizations. They all substantiated that a park model is considered a manufactured home by most segments of these industries. Park model owners also testified of the many instances they or their friends where their efforts to dispose of their property were impeded by the park owned sales office. In an original testimony by Earl Lundin from South Dakota, one of his friends lost not only his home but over $30,000 from his farming operation when he had to fly back to Arizona to tear down his park model and Arizona Room to move it out of the community where he lives because he was evicted for letting one of his friends use his home without going through the park owned rental and sales office. These communities can currently evict without a cause.

One of the original provisions of the RV Act was that a landlord could non-renew a long term annual lease “without cause”. What this essentially meant was that for any reason they wanted, a landlord could request that a resident who paid annual rent on a park model could evict that resident without cause. As a result of this power, many landowners have implemented rules and regulations at their discretion and without input from the resident that if the resident doesn’t like or weren’t in place when the park model was moved into the community, the resident could be forced to leave. Tearing down and moving a park model, similar to the moving and set up fees associated with manufactured home relocation, can be a very costly and arduous process.

Once unique to winter visitors these types of homes have also become an affordable housing option for many seniors who now live in these on a year round basis and who survive solely on their social security checks and Medicare. Recreational vehicle/park model communities now report that up to 30-40% of their annual park model spaces are resided in by annual residents. Many of these annual residents offer summer care and other services for those who are gone “back home” during the hotter months and derive extra income from offering their services to those with more disposable income.

Since most park model owners are senior citizens on fixed incomes, they would rather turn over their titles to the land owner than face the stress of standing up for themselves or face the prospect of constructing their homes on another location in a different community where they could face the same dilemma. Others suffer silently not wanting to give up their friends and are forced to endure emotional, mental, physical and psychological abuse by tyrannical management than move away from their support system.

During one of the committee hearings on a related bill (HB2255), one of the Senators asked why someone would even want to live in a community where this kind of thing was happening; “Why wouldn’t a they just go get an apartment instead rather than deal with these horrible management practices”? For those unfamiliar with the type of fellowship and the active lifestyle the people in these communities experience because of their unique supportive relationships and active lifestyle, apartment living might seem like a reasonable solution. But for those who have experienced the joy of an active 55+ community, there is no doubt; this lifestyle is worth fighting for.

I once interviewed a widow who was being required to give her manager over $3000 to bring her home “up to code” for a supposed City setback violation. She and her husband had originally purchased the home from the park sales office run by the community manager. The fire code violation had not been disclosed to her when they had originally purchased the home. In fact she had a letter from the management when she and her husband bought the home that stated specifically that the home met all of the City of Mesa set back requirements and had been approved for resale in the community, signed by the manager.

This elderly woman was told that either she would pay the fee to the manager for the “upgrade” or she would not be allowed to sell her home. Her plan was to sell her smaller park trailer and upgrade to a larger full size park model with a room addition she had her eye on in the same community so she would have room for her kids to come visit. I offered to help her challenge the discrepancy in the parks disclosure of the violation and she hesitated. She said that since her husband died she didn’t know what she would do if she couldn’t escape the horrid Minnesota winter and come here to be with her friends. She would just give in to the unethical demands of the manager and “just be done with it”. She didn’t want to stand up for herself in fear of the possible retaliation.

In a recent survey of Maricopa County tax records of 6 communities, over 75% of the homes featured for sale on the communities’ website were actually owned by the community or others related to the management/ownership interest. These park owned homes are often advertised with “rent specials” and other special incentives on selected new and pre-owned “units”. The specials of course are not extended to the listings of existing residents who struggle to compete with their own community for buyers. The land owner’s main goal in most cases is to fill the community so it may generate as much income as possible. If a space is filled by an existing resident and park model, the sense of urgency is less since that resident has to pay their space rent regardless of whether they sell the home or not. Of course all home sales must be approved by management prior to the consummation of any transaction, even if the home owner is selling his own home.

Some communities have restricted free trade within their properties by requiring residents to utilize services such as carpet installation, roofing companies and other services that are “approved by management” often owned by management themselves. This has hurt dozens of local mom and pop businesses who once having a strong business presence in certain communities have been denied entrance to communities and threatened with trespassing violations they should continue to service their clients once the park has determined they are no longer authorized. Communities have taken the position of judge and jury claiming the right to void business contracts to which they have no interest.

Kara Holt, the President of Active Resort Properties Management Group, LLC a firm which specializes in manufactured home and park model sales to retirees in Arizona, formed a grassroots lobby organization called the Moms and Pops of America to address legislative issues affecting seniors and small business. She and others were the proponents of this legislation which became sponsored by Senator John Huppenthal and amended in the CED Committee by Senator Barbara Leff. Senator Leff also amended HB2255 which would limit the administrative fees imposed by communities for utility charges and remove the ability of these types of communities to evict “without cause”.

If HB225 passes it would empower park model residents to not live in fear of being evicted or losing their homes. If this legislation is passed some of the misused power could be taken away from unscrupulous management teams currently fueled by existing statute which allows the “without cause clause” to be used as an imminent threat to the elderly. This threat is often used (like a switching stick shown once in a while to a disobedient child yet kept in the closet) just to remind residents of what could happen to them if they are not compliant to whatever demands the manager deems appropriate; disclosed, written or not. Even though there are many well run, ethical communities which do not allow these practices in their communities, these problems remain with the ones that do. I guess what I heard once is true; “Laws aren’t made for the good apples”.

Support can be shown for this bill to our Arizona State Legislators by visiting the www.momsandpopsofamerica.com website and clicking on SUPPORT HB2255.
To support the volunteer lobbyist, please visit www.azActiveResorts.com to buy or sell your pre-owned park model or manufactured home.


Thanks to my son for being so patient, helpful and for filming the initial hearing of this bill. Thanks to Earl Lundin for being the one testimony in the beginning that made all of the difference. Thanks to Senator John Huppenthal, the bill sponsor and Senator Barbara Leff for allowing her committee to hear this bill. Thank you to all of the Senators who voted unanimously for this bill and those Representatives who voted to pass this bill. Thanks to Governor Brewer for signing this into law. Thanks to my office staff that put up with the endless deadlines and extra workloads; Peter Avery, Linda Luna and others. Thanks to the Phillip Austin Law Firm, Gerry Adcock, Jean Creagan, all the local businesses which let me put up posters and announcements including the Wild Berry Café, Weiss Guys Car Wash and the Bavarian Point Restaurant. Thanks to the experts who provided their testimony and the dozens of others who were willing to trust me enough to share their stories despite their fears. Thank you to Margaret Webb, the owner of the Raindance and Sundance Mobile Home parks for your testimony, speaking your mind and standing up for what is right and for being an ethical park owner. Thank you to Margaret Michelin for your encouragement and support. Most of all I thank God for his grace and promise to make a way for his people.

Senator Huppenthal is running for Superintendent for Public Instruction and Senator Leff is running for State Treasurer; please visit their websites: www.johnhuppenthal.com and www.barbaraleff.com and vote for them.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Call to All of the Chickens from The First Hen of The Speckled Bird Society

Attention all you foxes (Red or not) who are in our hen houses;

This puts you on notice that we are tired of your invasions regardless of your twisted reasoning.

You have taken our property rights, insulted and demeaned, as well as threatened us.

Didn’t your sly FOXY MOMMA ever tell you not to mess with speckled birds!?

You have been responsible for deaths of some of our flock. NO MORE, NO MORE…

Get out of our hen houses, our coups.

Get off our property and find someone else upon whom to perpetrate your “fowl” deeds. We are going to peck you to death.


Come on you speckled birds! It is time to let the world know what these sly and not so sly foxes have been doing while no one has been watching. Join in, tell us your stories.

Lets unite and peck them out of our houses and coups.

First Hen of the Speckled Bird Society