More than 20 million Americans live in residential manufactured housing parks that provide affordable homes. Most residents of the approximately 50,000 parks in the United States own their homes but not the land underneath them. Instead, they pay a monthly “lot rent” to the park owner.
The sector has historically been fragmented, with individual landlords renting out space and accommodation to tenants. But rising land prices have attracted private equity investors into the sector, buying up parks to consolidate ownership and increase profits from rental in ways that can threaten the security and livelihood of tenants.
Resident-owned communities represent an alternative model, pioneered by Community Loan Fund. State law in New Hampshire gives park residents facing the sale of the land on which their home stand the right of first refusal to match outside bids. In a resident-owned community, residents form a cooperative and buy the land under their homes themselves and managing the park for their mutual benefit. Resident-owned communities benefit homeowners by preserving affordability, improving park conditions, eliminating the threat of park closure, and removing the land from the speculative private-equity driven real estate markets.
Community Loan Fund provides loans, training, and technical assistance to help residents buy and manage their communities. In 2019, SEDF provided the Fund with a 10-year loan to finance the purchase of four manufactured housing parks.
SEDF’s long-term, patient loan provided Community Loan Fund with the type of capital required to finance the parks’ conversions. The investment is being accompanied by advocacy and grant-giving work by the Open Society Economic Justice Program and by Open Society-U.S. aimed at promoting cooperative ownership nationally.Learn more