By TIM O’CONNOR Journal & Topics Reporter | Posted: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 1:00 am
Several bills seeking to protect residents of manufactured home parks are making their way through the Illinois legislature.
State Rep. Marty Moylan (D-55th), who has authored one such piece of legislation, said he was spurred on by the complaints from residents in such communities. There are eight mobile and manufactured home parks in Moylan’s district that includes parts of Des Plaines, Park Ridge and Elk Grove Village.
Moylan has heard from residents who are unhappy with the rates for well water in the parks or whose leases prevented them from taking landlords to court over disputes. The former Des Plaines mayor even recalled one instance where city of Des Plaines staffers conducting well-being checks were denied entry by staff at one community.
To combat those kinds of incidents, Moylan wrote his bill, HB4123, to act as a “bill of rights” for manufactured home tenants.
“We’re trying to protect them and give them the same rights as renters of single family homes — which they are,” Moylan said.
The bill would require residents to be notified of any health violations at the park, prohibiting community owners from including language in leases that would waive a tenant’s right to trial by jury, and ensure residents who left received their security deposits.
Moylan said he is working to get the bill before an Illinois House committee.
But Moylan’s “bill of rights” isn’t the only piece of legislation that would benefit manufactured home tenants. Two other bills are now winding their way through the Illinois State Capitol building.
SB2867 and SB1043, — the latter of which is sponsored by Moylan and State Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-57th) in the House — would create the Manufactured Home Owners Relocation Trust Fund. The fund would collect a $1 monthly fee for each occupied residence in a manufactured home community. The Illinois Dept. of Public Health could raise that fee to $3. Community owners would collect the fees from residents as part of their rent and then submit the money to the trust fund on a monthly basis.
The fund would help cover the cost to relocate a home when a community owner ceases operation of all or part of a park. That would include the actual relocation expense plus temporary lodging, security deposits and other moving expenses. Alternatively, residents could elect to abandon the home in the defunct park and instead receive $3,500 for a single-section home or $7,500 for a multi-section home from the trust fund.
Under the proposed law, the community owner must pay 50% of those moving expenses if they cease operations. The trust fund would cover remaining costs.
Some mobile home parks in the area have been urging their residents to fight against the creation of the Manufactured Home Owners Trust Fund. A flier distributed at the Town & Country park, 815 E. Oakton St., Des Plaines, warned residents the $1-$3 monthly fee could lead to more taxes on their homes.
The flier did not explain that the money would benefit homeowners in the event that the community closed and they had to move.
Representatives of Town & Country and Zeman Homes, the park’s owner, did not return phone calls or emails prior to the Journal & Topics deadline. Zeman also owns Blackhawk Estates in unincorporated Des Plaines and Willoway Terrace in Arlington Hts.
Moylan said he’s experienced push back from the manufactured home parks against his piece of legislation.
“That has to be expected,” he said. “As one resident said, these are cash cows for the owners.”