I’m sitting in my office on a chilly Saturday morning, reflecting on LIFE, as we head into an uncertain and somewhat scary New Year.
Music playing (serendipitously) in the background is “Hotel California” by the Eagles. The song finishes with the lyrics “You can check out any time you like but you can never leave.”
I have hung around California for 30 years. It’s a great place. Beautiful scenery, lots of sun, beaches, mountains, deserts, every kind of interesting environment anyone could want.
Trouble is, we all have been spending so much time enjoying life in California, we have created an opportunity for lots of selfish idiots to drive the State into the dumper. (You can make your own choice as to which group of selfish idiots to blame, there are way more than enough to go around.)
We may have actually reached the “Tipping Point” where we can’t go back to the California as we knew it (or maybe, as we imagined it.)
Mobile home park residents often fall into that category of “you can never leave.” Many residents don’t have options – too poor, struggling with life, under employed, retired, limited money, and no where to go (unless they are forced.) As John Wayne said in “In Harms Way”, “It’s a lousy situation, Mr. Eddington.” Mr. Eddington’s (Kirk Douglas) only reply was “the bastards”.
Seems to capture the essence of the situation.
Some residents mentally choose the “You can check out any time you like” option. But that is somewhat like the frog in the cooking pot. Turning up the heat too fast and the frog jumps out. Turn the heat up more slowly and the frog simply becomes dinner.
However, I have always thought that if mobile home park residents can purchase their park, they can gain some degree of control over their lives and some degree of security in an uncertain and scary world.
Ownership of the park means never having to worry about rent control attacks by avaricious park owners, never having to worry that some owner is going to do a ‘cram down’ subdivision, never having to worry that some idiot politician is going to cave into park owners pressure (and/or money) to change the basic deal under which residents choose to buy a home in their park.
True, ownership of your park brings other issues. You have to run it. You have to keep it financially strong. You have to balance out the interests of your members (and your tenants). These are still tough issues, but they are better issues than dealing with greedy park owners.
Deane Sargent and PMC Financial Services have been helping mobile home park resident groups and cooperatives to organize and find financing to buy their parks for over 20 years.