Connecticut (CT) Attorney General William Tong vowed on Thursday, 9.28.2022, to fight for residents of a local manufactured home community owned by prominent Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member Sun Communities. Tong said residents their “are being abused by the property owner,” per Our Community Now (OCN) and the Middletown Press.
— Cassandra Day (@cassandrasdis) October 3, 2022
‘I will fight’ for Beechwood residents
Sunday 2nd October 2022 12:33 PM
KILLINGWORTH — Connecticut Attorney General William Tong vowed Thursday to fight for residents of a local manufactured home park who say they are being abused by the property owner.
“Tong met with more than 60 residents of the Beechwood retirement community Thursday night at the town’s fire station,” per the Middletown Press. “During the forum, residents described how the park’s owner, Sun Communities, offered to raise their rents at an unfair rate while dramatically cutting services.
Sun Communities did not respond to an earlier request for comment.
Beechwood resident Jackie Vece told Tong that the company had threatened to raise rents by 8% this year. That number may not seem like a lot to people, Vece said, but “they don’t live off Social Security like we do.”
“When they’re forcing people out on the streets or forcing people back to work in the 80s and mid-70s, that’s wrong,” Bill Joyce said. “It’s criminal and it’s elder abuse.”
Other residents said they have noticed a drop in services, such as landscaping, snow removal and septic tank maintenance, since Sun Communities took over three years ago.
Vece said many residents have kept quiet because they fear retaliation from the landlord. Another resident, George Albrecht, said Beechwood needed a defender who “has the power to do something” about their issues.
“I think the frustration we all have is that there’s a goliath out there, and then there’s us,” Albrecht said.
Sun Communities bought Beechwood and 30 other manufactured housing communities for $343.6 million in 2019, according to Global News Wire. Since 2011, the publicly listed company has closed more than 300 properties with a transaction value of more than $5 billion, its website says.
By gobbling up smaller housing communities and merging them, Sun Communities “rolls up” properties and presses residents for extra cash, Tong explained.
“Throughout the country, private equity investors are walking around and buying goods … and cutting (services) to the bone,” Attorney General Tong said. “That’s how they make money.”
To help Beechwood residents, Tong said he would support state law that protects those who live in manufactured home parks.
State Rep. Christine Goupil, who attended Thursday’s forum, said she and Rep. Christine Cohen planned to propose legislation similar to a 2019 New York law that limits the amount of rent increases for owners of manufactured parks.
Killingworth recently passed an ordinance establishing a Fair Rents Commission after residents began raising these types of concerns.
Tong said the situation in a manufactured home community is made more difficult because residents have individual tenancy agreements with Sun Communities. That limits the scope of his authority, he said.
“But that doesn’t mean I can’t step in and push them,” he added.
Tong said he would coordinate with various state and local authorities to pressure on Sun Communities and force them to start taking residents seriously.
The goal should be “to try to get across to them that (public officials) are watching them closely and that we’re going to hold them accountable,” CT AG Tong said. “And if they don’t step in and change the way they do business here, they’re going to be in a lot of trouble.” ##
Additional Information with MHLivingNews Analysis and Commentary in Brief
Cavco Industries and Sun Communities are both larger members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Both publicly traded Cavco (CVCO) and Sun (SUI) have prominent board roles at MHI. Cavco recently admitted in a published statement that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) recognizes these issues are problematic for the industry. But then Cavco oddly claimed that these cases are ‘rare.’
Issues involving Sun have been previously reported on MHLivingNews.
Consumer Alert! State Records-“Years” of Negligence, ‘Safety Violations,’ “Greedy, Greedy” – Sun Communities Ripped by Residents, Manufactured Homes Damaged at Manufactured Housing Institute Member Community Owner – Facts and Analysis
Sun and Equity LifeStyle Properties are two different corporate entities, however, both are MHI members. Both Sun and ELS are also members of several of the same state associations. ELS’ Patrick Waite has a board role at MHI on the MHI executive committee. ELS has its own legal and other challenges, as the reports linked below reflect.
With that backdrop, MHLivingNews asked MHI “Executive Committee” board member ELS VP Waite and other MHI officials, attorney, and MHI board members for a comment on the allegations. For outsiders looking in, it should be understood that MHI community operators periodically share information with each other and stay in contact, thus this message on Tue, Oct 4, 9:11 AM which was sent to Waite et al via email. Furthermore, as a board member, Waite arguably has an obligation to others who are members, which would include Sun and others. Under the link shown is the email to Waite as quoted.
Media request #1:
I think you should know the drill by now, but to recap. Kindly provide an emailed comment, reaction, statement, etc. from you or another person at Sun Communities to the article linked above. You are also invited to comment or react to any of the reports linked below from the MHProNews emailed up, or to previous reports published on MHProNews and/or MHLivingNews.
Media request #2:
Then, as you are an MHI board member, we’d like your comments, reaction, or feedback (etc.) to the mainstream media items linked below.
As you should know, MHARR officials have been pressing MHI to join in a litigation to get the favorable federal laws that MHI claims to be providing representation to “all segments” of manufactured housing. Yet MHI has oddly not even mentioned litigation to my knowledge; so, why not? Further, MHARR has pressed publicly for MHI to join in a legal effort to stop the DOE energy rule from being implemented. If there is any evidence you are aware of that:
- MHI is preparing to litigate over the DOE energy rule,
- the failure of HUD to enforce so-called “enhanced preemption” under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000,
- is prepared to sue to get DTS enforced,
- or to get the Ginnie Mae 10/10 rule favorably modified, etc. kindly provide it for publication.
- If not, then as an MHI board member who has fiduciary and other responsibilities to ALL of MHI’s members, kindly explain why there is no such effort to defend, protect, and promote the industry’s legal rights?
Again, please email your reply for our mutual accuracy in communications and for publication accuracy too.
PS: I’ve bcc’d some industry colleagues, a law firm, public officials, and other interested parties. They may provide feedback and/or input as well. As the working plan for our publications – this will be made public at some point in a report(s). I trust you grasp that we want a reply, but will proceed either way, fair enough? Thanks, tk…”
As of press time, no one from Sun, ELS, or MHI is known to have responded. If a response is provided after publication of this report, analysis and commentary, a follow up could be published. MHLivingNews will continue to track such issues and report them. In the meanwhile, for those shopping for a manufactured home, practical advice on how to avoid problematic firms with a reputation for being “predatory” while learning how to fine and do business with ethical companies operating in the manufactured home industry. To learn more, see the recent and related reports. ##
Disclosure. MHLivingNews/MHProNews are operated by political independents. We call balls and strikes based on facts, evidence, historic trends, and objective reasoning. ##
DOJ-CFPB-Record Racial Discrimination-Redlining Case Settled by Warren Buffett-Led Berkshire Hathaway Owned Lender – Clayton Homes and Their Affiliated Lending Named by Seattle Times – Conventional and Manufactured Housing Claims
That’s a wrap on this installment of “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHLivingNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing. For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Recent and Related Reports:
The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.