With Elizabeth DeArmond of the National Consumer Law Center, and Andrew Kochera of the AARP Public Policy Institute
Manufactured homes (frequently referred to as “mobile homes”) are a major source of housing for older Americans. In 2001, owners age 50 or older accounted for 43 percent of the 7.2 million manufactured-housing units occupied year round as primary residences. Manufactured-home ownership does not necessarily imply ownership of the lot on which the home sits. In fact, nearly one-third of occupied manufactured homes are in land-lease communities. This type of housing arrangement is appealing to people with low or moderate income who may find it difficult to acquire land. However, the cost and risk of moving a manufactured home from one rental community to another create significant barriers for homeowners who need or want to move. These barriers make it possible for a segment of community operators to adopt exploitive rules and practices that are unique to this type of housing arrangement.