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News Release: Private Equity Threatens Manufactured Home Residents

Submitted by on February 14, 2019 – 1:35 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

February 14, 2019

Contact:

Jim Baker, jim.baker@PEstakeholder.org, 312-933-0230
Carter Dougherty, carter@ourfinancialsecurity.org, 202-251-6700
Elisabeth Voigt, evoigt@mhaction.org, 202-997-6171

Private Equity Threatens Manufactured Home Residents
New report details industry’s threat to communities needing low-cost housing

New report from MHAction, Private Equity Stakeholder Project, and Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund details private equity convergence on manufactured housing

Many of the largest private equity and real estate investors in the world, managing more than $1.77 trillion in assets, have bought up manufactured home communities at a rapid pace and raised rents and fees sharply, posing a dramatic new threat to the economic security of millions of seniors, people with disabilities, families, and immigrants in need of low-cost housing, according to a new report.

The report, titled Private Equity Giants Converge on Manufactured Homes, also details how Fannie Mae, the U.S. government-controlled mortgage backer, has provided more than $1.5 billion in mortgages to support private equity-backed acquisitions of manufactured home communities.

“Private equity companies and predatory real estate investors are buying up mobile home communities, raising rents, and getting richer off the backs of poor people,” said Sabrina Ramirez, manufactured home resident from Palo Alto, California.

“The growing reach and impact of private equity in many parts of the housing market, and of the U.S. and global economy calls out for attention from lawmakers and regulators,” said Linda Jun, senior policy counsel, Americans for Financial Reform.

“The federal government should be helping mission-driven nonprofits and resident-owned cooperatives buy and run manufactured home communities, not private equity groups that are promising huge returns to their investors,” said Elisabeth Voigt, Co-Director of MHAction.

In most communities, homeowners own their dwellings, but the ground is privately held. For most residents, it is nearly impossible to move their homes, even though manufactured homes are commonly known as “mobile homes.” Real estate investment groups seized on this vulnerability and built a highly profitable business model with devastating effects on low-income seniors and families.

“In my community, my corporate owner has upped my costs by charging for water separately, passing on other fees, and increasing lot rent. That means sometimes I can’t buy groceries or put gas in my car or go to the doctor because I don’t have the copay,” said Pat Bohlen, resident of a TPG Capital-owed community in Urbana, Illinois.

The world’s largest private equity firms are now piling into the sector. “These firms invest capital from institutional investors into businesses, increase cash flow in a short-period of time, and sell the businesses or take them public through an IPO after four to six years,” explains Jim Baker, a researcher with the Private Equity Stakeholder Group. “Private equity investors are relying on manufactured home residents’ limited mobility to dramatically increase rents and fees with bare minimum investments in the communities.”

The private equity and institutional investors in manufactured homes covered in this report include:

  • YES! Communities – Stockbridge Capital, Government of Singapore Investment Co, Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System
  • RHP Properties – Brookfield Asset Management
  • RV Horizons/ MHP Funds – TPG Capital
  • Inspire Communities – Apollo Global Management
  • Kingsley Management Company
  • Horizon Land Company – Federal Capital Partners/ Texas Employees Retirement System
  • Carlyle Group
  • Treehouse Communities – Blackstone Group
  • Carefree Communities – Centerbridge Capital

To demand action by corporate owners and government officials, residents of manufactured home communities across the country are organizing their neighbors, establishing resident associations, collaborating with tenants, and fighting to protect their homes and communities.

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