Posts Tagged ‘House Bill 107’

Manufactured housing advocates say laws being ignored

May 1, 2009

POPULAR Rep. John Atkins, D-Millsboro, who switched from the Republican Party to the Democrat Party, and won re-election in his disrict last year, has introduced two new bills to protect the rights of manufactured homeowners.

As a Republican, Atkins was thought by many homeowners to be their enemy. He was also said to ignore their concerns. Keep in mind Atkins is a former business partner of Robert Tunnell, owner of the Pots Nets communities. Last year Atkins denounced his relationship – business and friendship – with Tunnell at a manufactured homeowners’ association meeting.

As a Democrat, however, Atkins has become a poster boy for manufactured homeowner rights.

Manufactured homeowner lobbyist Bobbie Hemmerich now says it’s the park owners – again – who are now ignoring laws passed to protect homeowners. Hemmerich also said Rep. Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear, brought in on Wednesday, April 29, Department of Justice Senior Director of Consumer Protection Tim Mullaney to meet with homeowners at a House Manufactured Housing Committee meeting. Perhaps, homeowners will gain momentum. One measure Atkins introduced passed in the House recently and is now sitting in the Senate Small Business Committee. A second measure is still be discussed in the House Manufactured Homeowners Committee.

Find more information published in the Tuesday, April 7 edition of the Cape Gazette:

House passes monthly rent bill

House Bill 107 gives tenants of manufactured homes the opportunity to pay their rent monthly instead of yearly. The measure, introduced by John Atkins, D-Millsboro, just two days after it was introduced passed in the House, Thursday, April 2, [with a 22-16 vote and three no votes]. It is now headed to the Senate.

Delaware Manufactured Home Owners Association (DMHOA) President Ed Speraw said he was disappointed by those opposed to the measure. Still, he said he was pleased the bill passed, especially in this economic climate with many tenants unable to pay their rent for an entire year all at once. “I think it shows the people who got elected know how they got elected and why they’re there,” said Speraw.

Atkins said 90 percent of his constituent calls came from manufactured home tenants living in the Tunnell-owned Pot-Nets parks that charge tenants yearly.

“In this kind of economy, in a month or two after Christmas and the New Year, I’ve found this to be a time when people are losing their mortgages and being foreclosed upon,” Atkins said.

Park owner Robbie Tunnell said he’s looking forward to tweaking the bill before it goes before the Senate for a vote. “We’ve been looking at implementing a policy recently that is somewhat similar to what H.B. 107 does,” Tunnell said.

In 2010, he said, Tunnell parks plan to offer monthly, quarterly, semiannual and annual payment options.

“H.B. 107 limits options to either monthly or annually,” Tunnell said. “It was fast-tracked through the House. There was no testimony from residents whom the bill affects,” he said.

Atkins, now a Democrat, changed parties and was re-elected last year. The former Republican said he would vote conservatively and on behalf of constituents.

Owners to remove fallen trees?

House Bill 105, also introduced by Atkins, requires park owners to remove fallen trees. In the past, Atkins said some homeowners had been charged for removing and cleaning up trees that fall near their homes. “House Bill 105 stems from the same constituent concerns residents have with their landlords,” Atkins said. DMHOA lobbyist Dixie Boucher said H.B. 105 is needed because of an unfair burden sometimes put on tenants. “When people move into a community and onto a lot, since they are the ones who didn’t finish the lot or put up the trees in the first place, why should they be responsible for the trees?” she said.

Boucher said the problem developed because community owners made the tenants responsible for trees even though the property belongs to park owners. The bill is currently in the House Manufactured Housing Committee.

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