Fetterman, Shaheen, Blumenthal introduce bill to give manufactured home tenants a “Bill of Rights”

29 June 2023- Pennsylvania U.S. Senator John Fetterman, along with Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), today introduced the Manufactured Tenant’s Bill of Rights, legislation that would provide tenants and owners of manufactured (mobile) homes with enhanced protections against predatory landowners in federally backed Manufactured Housing Communities (MHC).

“The bottom line is that Pennsylvania needs more good, affordable housing options —including manufactured housing,” said Senator Fetterman. “But right now, too many people are taking advantage of the system and lining their own pockets. This critical bill will help protect residents of manufactured housing communities and keep more Pennsylvania families in stable affordable homes.”

“All too often, tenants are faced with predatory practices meant to deprive them of their homes and hard-earned savings. Mobile home tenants deal with an increased risk of eviction as their housing costs soar without adequate legal protections, and to make matters worse, the communities they live in are often bought with federally-backed financing,” said Senator Shaheen. “The Manufactured Tenant’s Bill of Rights would directly address that concern, ensuring that tenants receive equitable protections under the law to provide them with housing stability and peace of mind.”

“Mobile home owners deserve rights—real, enforceable protections against rising rents, unfair practices, and exploitative evictions,” said Senator Blumenthal. “Our measure will assure security to tenants who own their mobile homes but not the underlying land.”

“Manufactured Housing tenants are often overlooked and are exceptionally vulnerable to predatory land owners, lack explicit tenant protections, and face egregious rent hikes or loss of equity. The National Housing Law Project celebrates Senator Shaheen’s Manufactured Housing Tenant’s Bill of Rights as an important step toward protecting manufactured home owners and renters in federally-backed manufactured housing communities,” said Shamus Roller, Executive Director of the NHLP. “Additionally, the bill will allow FHFA to hold owners to account and create stronger oversight over its portfolio of manufactured housing. Manufactured housing residents deserve safe, decent, and affordable housing; and Senator Shaheen’s bill will ensure higher standards and more transparent transactions in manufactured housing communities.”

“More than half of all manufactured homes are located in rural areas around the country. These homes are a frequently overlooked and unfairly maligned component of our nation’s housing stock, and are often characterized by unique financing and land tenure challenges,” said David Lipsetz, CEO of the Housing Assistance Council, “We applaud Senators Shaheen, Blumenthal, and Fetterman for championing the rights of families living in manufactured housing communities with this important legislation.”

“Residents of manufactured housing communities are facing rising eviction rates, affordability challenges, and the added risk of outside investors purchasing the land on which their home resides,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “The Manufactured Housing Tenant’s Bill of Rights would establish vital protections for manufactured housing residents, setting important standards for tenant rights and encouraging adoption of even greater protections. I applaud Senators Shaheen, Blumenthal, and Fetterman for their leadership in introducing this important bill.”

Currently, more than 3 million Americans live in MHCs, which often represent one of the few naturally occurring sources of affordable housing. However, because residents typically own the home itself, but not the land it sits on, they often struggle with unexpected cost increases and face a heightened risk of evictions. Outside investors have often purchased MHCs and pushed residents out, raising rents as much as 70%. Because of the unusual ownership structure, manufactured housing residents can fall through the cracks, where residents often lack the protections of either homeowners or other renters.

The Manufactured Housing Tenant’s Bill of Rights would establish a set of minimum standards for tenants in MHCs that receive federal financing through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the Federal Housing Administration. These protections include:

  • The right to a one-year renewable lease absent good cause for nonrenewal.
  • A 5-day grace period for late rent payments.
  • A minimum 60-day written notice of rent increases or new added charges like water or sewer of up to 5% of the prior rent, with longer notice for larger rent increases (an additional 30 days required for each 2.5% rent increase above 5%).
  • Rights for the tenant to
  • Sell the manufactured home without having to relocate it.
  • Sublet the home or assign the lease to a buyer of the home provided the buyer meets the MHC’s rules and regulations.
  • Post “for sale” signs on the home.
  • Sell the manufactured home in place within 45 days after eviction, to prevent the homeowner from losing their equity.
  • Receive at least 60 days advanced notice of the MHC’s planned sale or closure. Giving tenants the opportunity to purchase the community in the event of a sale.

The bill also requires public disclosure of MHCs that receive federal backing to ensure residents are aware of their rights. FHFA would also be required to create a standard lease agreement which allows Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to finally begin purchasing manufactured home leases through their single-family mortgage programs, which could significantly lower interest rates.