Friday, May 19, 2017

Over 200 Lot-Leasing Homeowners Get Help From Non-Profits To Form Co-Op, Then Purchase & Finance Buyout Of Mobile Home Park Landlord

In Kingston, Massachusetts, Wicked Local Kingston reports:
  • The residents of the 212 homes at Town & Country Estates can say they spent Wednesday [April 26] buying a mobile home park.

    The applause at the announcement “It’s done, It’s done” spoke for itself as the new owners of the mobile home park celebrated one of the most significant purchases of their lives.

    It was also a significant day for the nonprofit Resident Ownership Capital LLC (ROC USA) and its affiliate Cooperative Development Institute (CDI) celebrating their 200th resident-owned community.

    Joe Mauriello, president of the Town & Country Mobile Home Estates Tenants Association, joined by secretary Roberta Love and treasurer Mary Hayes, represent the seven-member board that has been hard at work on this deal. Just signing the papers Wednesday took several hours.

    Mauriello said they have been working on this off and on for 10 years now, and had tried once before to buy the park, but this time with the help of ROC USA and CDI they were able to finance the park. He said owning the park means they have control over their future.

    “We don’t have to look for a landlord, we are the landlord, so that being a co-op and a nonprofit we’re not out to make any money so the only rent that we’re going to be charging ourselves is that which is enough to sustain the place.” he said.

    He said resident Joe Bruno heard about ROC USA and CDI, the part of ROC that helped the association get organized, and contacted CDI’s Andy Danforth. ROC has been working with them for the last three years, he said, including the last year of actively working on the purchase. Love described the process as intense.

    The only cost to the residents is a $100 fee to join the co-op because ROC USA is nonprofit and a member-owned corporation. A website will be created by ROC and CDI for anyone who wants to live there to look for information. About 300 people live at the park.

    “Without ROC or CDI, we would not be owning this park today,” Mauriello said.

    When a property is for sale, ROC and CDI help the residents form a corporation, in this case the Town & Country Kingston Estates Cooperative Corporation, ROC Network’s Director Mary O’Hara explained. ROC approved two loans to the co-op. She said they are celebrating a real milestone.

    “We are really excited for this community and excited for the whole network of communities because they’re a great addition,” she said.

    She said members gain security, control over rents and control over decisions about any improvements they want to make under the direction of their board of directors. When Mauriello steps down as president, Donald Ducharme will take on that position starting July 1.

    Ducharme said they all appreciate the work that has been done by the board of directors and are looking forward to having the ability to make decisions for the people who live there. He said there’s a lot of talent among the residents and now their talents can be appreciated.

    An offer to purchase the park from the previous owner gave the residents the opening they needed to buy the property for $6.2 million. They had the right to match the offer. While there will be an increase in rents, from $346 a month to $410, the stability factor is huge.

    Housing specialist Colleen Preston works for CDA and lives in one of the Carver communities that was purchased by residents in 2012. She can speak from experience about the stability factor. Town & Country residents were convinced. O’Hara said 100 percent of them wanted to buy the park.

    The two cakes decorated with the words “We own it!” and the sign that reads “Hooray! Tis the day, to ourselves we now will pay. Congrats family!” say it all.
Source: Mobile home park purchase gives these Kingston residents stability (The residents of the 212 homes at Town & Country Estates can say they spent Wednesday buying a mobile home park).

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