Letter to the Editor: Resident: SB 317 will negatively affect seniors in land-lease communities

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Editor’s note: This letter was sent to the Delaware General Assembly House leadership, Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, Rep. Valerie Longhurst, Rep. John Mitchell, Rep. Daniel Short and Rep. Timothy Dukes, and also to Wild Meadows/RHP.

I am sending this to implore you to oppose Senate Bill 317, “An Act To Amend Title 9, Title 16, Title 25, And Title 29 Of The Delaware Code Relating To Manufactured Home Communities.”

The legislation seeks to change the determination method for market rent to include “relevant considerations include rents charged to recent new homeowners entering the subject manufactured home community or by comparable manufactured home communities, or both. To be comparable, a manufactured home community must be within the competitive area and must offer similar facilities, services, amenities, and management.”

This means if the most recent land lease signed is at a higher amount, everyone’s land lease rent can be increased to that higher amount.

The bill also includes a safety clause: “The community owner, during the preceding 12-month period, has not been found in violation of any provision of this chapter that threatens the health or safety of the residents, visitors, or guests that persists for more than 15 days, beginning from the day the community owner received notice of such violation.”

I have been in a battle for approximately three years to get Wild Meadows/RHP to take of a tree on my property. Its roots have cracked the concrete walkway, making it dangerous and costly to repair, and the steps to the front porch. The roots are also upending my garden bed brick trim. The tree is dropping dead branches, including one that was 10 feet long.

If you pass this legislation, many seniors on fixed incomes will no longer have any protection from bad-neighbor corporate citizens like Wild Meadows/RHP.

Passing the bill will give them license to do nothing to prevent the communities they own from having rates much higher than the CPI-U (the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington region). There is evidence they have done nothing to ensure the health and safety of the community, let alone the homeowners.

Please consider this issue. If this bill is passed, many senior homeowners in land leased communities will be forced into foreclosure. 

Michael A. Carrozza

Dover