Iowa Lawmakers Look at Boosting Protections for Mobile Home Communities

DES MOINES, Iowa - A state senator is leading an effort to protect mobile home community members from sudden large rent increases.

"About a year ago, there was an out of state investment group from Utah which purchased a community over in the west Des Moines area, Waukee, and then increased the rent by nearly 70 percent from one month to the next," said Democrat Zach Wahls of Coralville. "I think that's really what got peoples' attention."

Wahls has 30 Democrats and Republicans in the Senate who are co-sponsoring his measure. He says there's a companion bill in the state House that has bipartisan support.

The legislation would require landlords to have a specific reason for evicting tenants and would call for a 180 day notice of rent increases.

The bill would further limit rent hikes in mobile home communities to one per year and give the state attorney general authority to enforce the new law. It would also gives the same protections to mobile home communities that apartment renters have.

"My concern is, when rather than trying to be a good landlord, take care of your neighbors, you're just in here looking at a spread sheet," Wahls said. "You see a lot of numbers and you think, wow, I can make a lot of money by trying to squeeze some blood out of this stone."

Wahls was a guest on the Jeff Angelo Show on WHO Radio.

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