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Mobile home park residents would get purchase opportunity, under approved bill

Before selling a mobile home park in Minnesota, an owner could be required to give tenants a chance to collectively purchase it.

HF112, sponsored by Rep. Connie Bernardy (DFL-New Brighton), would require park owners to notify tenants before accepting a sale and give them 60 days to submit a purchase proposal.

At least half of a park's residents would need to support the move.

Property owners wouldn't be required to accept tenants' offers. But if they didn't, tenants would get another 31 days to make counteroffers. If at that point the property owner still wanted to accept another offer, they would be free to do so.

Housing committee approves HF112 02/23/21

Properties sold to tenants would need to remain mobile home parks or be affordable housing for at least 50 years.

HF112 was approved on Tuesday by the House Housing Finance and Policy Committee on a party-line vote and referred to the House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee.

Its companion, SF1282, is sponsored by Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Marys Point) and awaits action by the Senate Housing Finance and Policy Committee.

Minnesota's mobile home parks, which house more than 180,000 people, are a valuable source of affordable housing, according to advocates. Typically, tenants own their houses and rent plots in the parks.

Owners are required to notify tenants that properties are for sale when they advertise them as such in newspapers or list them with real estate brokers. But most sales are made without such listings, according to Dave Anderson, executive director of All Parks Alliance for Change, which represents mobile home park tenants.

Owners are only required to give residents time to submit an offer if a buyer plans on closing a park or redeveloping it.

Still, owners say existing state law gives their tenants enough notice. They also say park owners should be free to sell their properties when and to whom they want and that delaying sales by up to 91 days could hurt their chances of completing sales.

Mark Brunner, president of the Manufactured and Modular Home Association of Minnesota, said park owners who negotiate in good faith but accept other offers wouldn't be immune from lawsuits alleging noncompliance with the bill. Those suits could further delay sales.

Rep. John Heinrich (R-Anoka) said he doesn't think the bill could pass in the Senate, for which he is thankful.

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