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Colorado’s mobile home oversight program feels out-resourced by large companies buying up parks

Mobile home park owners, she suspects, aren’t always doing everything by the book. For example, mobile home park owners are required to give residents notice before listing the park for sale so that residents have a chance to buy the park themselves.

[Related: A triumph for residents in Durango shows the high stakes of buying a mobile home park]

“We’re aware of about 30 parks since mid-2020 that haven’t followed all the rules around providing notice to all the residents and the full opportunity to purchase,” Postolowski said. “But right now, we don’t have the ability to investigate those issues on our own.”

This means mobile homeowners all over the state are still not getting a fair chance to fully own the place where they live. Instead, a lot of transactions include big corporations as buyers. The state’s oversight program keeps a running list of park sales in the state. We analyzed the data and found that large, out-of-state companies have made most of the purchases since the state started recording.

“It is challenging when you see multi-million or multi-billion dollar corporations that are in this space and have a lot more money and resources than perhaps we do at the state,” Postolowski said.

Her program keeps a running list of all the mobile home park sales in our state. At any given time, there are a handful of listings.

“I am concerned for residents and their ability to find housing that they can pay for, particularly the residents who are on fixed incomes,” Postolowski said.

Cesiah Guadarrama, associate director for the statewide economic justice organization 9 to 5worked to include rent-stabilization in the mobile home bill that was signed into law earlier this year. Although rent-control efforts failed because Governor Jared Polis threatened to veto the legislation, Guadarrama said landlords can only increase the rent once per year. However, there is no cap to the amount of the increase.

“They’re immigrant communities; they’re veterans; they’re elderly seniors,” Guadarrama said about the people who live in mobile home communities.

In a time when many people across the state are being priced out of their neighborhoods, Postolowski said Coloradans need to think about what our state is doing to protect one of our largest sources of affordable housing.

“All Coloradans need to think about: what do they want their communities to look like? Do you want only millionaires to live in your community?” asked Postolowski. “Do you want nobody who works in your community to be able to live there?”

Sonia Gutierrez is a multimedia journalist with Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach her at [email protected].