Cape Gazette

Senator has three concerns about SB33

By Sen. Brian G. Pettyjohn | Jun 07, 2013

I have had the opportunity to review the recently drafted substitute SB33. Upon review I see at least three immediate concerns. If successfully amended, I would be comfortable to support this substitute, especially since the principle of the legislation is something I agree with.

First, it is my understanding that the CPI-U is published every three months. The substitute SB33 appears to give the benchmark based upon potentially stale and adverse data. This would be the case should change/increase occur within the time period between publication. Perhaps the DMHRA should publish a rolling ‘Approved’ CPI-U on a monthly basis. This would benefit both the owners and the residents.

Second, the substitute SB33 does not provide for an appeals process. I strongly believe that one should be established, again to benefit both owners and residents. This addition can be set with parameters; for example, an owner or resident has 10 business days to file a formal, written request for an appeal to the DMHRA with a written response of receipt and subsequent hearing notice within 15 business days. (Examples are for illustration purposes only. The exact appeals process would need to be established through discussions with DMHRA).

Third, in review of the three-month rent-free period, it seems excessive for violations, even if it is limited to the number of residents affected by the unauthorized rental increase. It is my proposal that a rent reduction of double (or even triple) the violation be considered, but should not exceed 50 percent. For example, if the violation was an increase of $20 then the resident(s) would be entitled to $40-$60 rent reduction for the subsequent three month period following the violation. Should there be continued violations then I would propose a tiered penalty that could eventually result in a forfeiture of three months of rent by those who were affected.

I would like to commend all of those who have worked so hard to draft this piece of legislation which I find to be a good starting point and that holds protections for both the home owners and land owners alike.

I submit these concerns for both my colleagues’ and the public’s review since I will not be able to be present for the Senate debate due to a pre-scheduled, Senate approved conference relating to Rural and Agricultural issues that impact Delaware and several surrounding states.

Sen. Brian G. Pettyjohn
19th Senatorial District

Comments (1)
Posted by: Pat Weyl | Jun 07, 2013 12:29

Senator Pettyjohn, thank you for reviewing SB33. It has many issues and if it passes it will most definitely be taken to the courts because it’s unconstitutional.

For years I have testified that I am a caretaker for family members in manufactured housing. When rent control came up years ago, I did my due diligence on the subject. I did my research and have 3 huge binders of information from Florida on how their process works. I set up 11 different conference calls with Florida people directly involved and did my homework to be able to stand in front of our elected officials to ask them instead of passing rent control to please establish a task force or panel to review how Florida set it up and do the same.  I have also met with subject matter experts at the University of Delaware to review the Florida info and sadly the bill last year and SB33 are not good bills.

Rents have gone up everywhere. I have 2 elderly relatives that if rent control does go through, their park will sell. And I can't say I blame them. I don’t want any elected officials pushing rent control on me or anyone else. People can’t have the rents the same price as 1979 simply because they can’t afford it anymore. This isn’t your Daddy’s trailer park anymore. It’s a business. My aunt’s landowner’s family runs a business. If this issue is not mutually agreed upon by letting both sides sit down and come to an agreement, I am concerned it will be fought in the courts and people like my aunt will be made to suffer. She pays $425 a month for rent which is affordable. Try finding another place to live for that amount. My aunt and uncle have beautiful homes and pay far less than they would in an apartment. Simply because there are bad guys out there doesn’t make my aunt and uncles’ landowner a bad guy. But if this rent control bill goes through, my aunt and uncle will lose their home.

A resident should not be entitled to know the profit margin of a landlord simply because they write a rent check. The next thing you know we will hear from these groups fighting for rent control that this is a partnership!  I’m sorry, residents are renting a lot! They didn’t invest in any landowners business.  And by placing a mobile home on the landowner’s lot does not add value to their land! Residents chose the park, residents chose the home, and it’s their choice.  None of these landowners are chasing down people to come to their park, residents elect to make that move.  Residents don’t increase the landowner’s portfolio simply because they have a mobile home on the rented lot.  The portfolio is the property!  And every resident is a leasee period!  No partner, a leasee.

Senator Ennis throws out figures of increases of 50%. But what he fails to tell people is that means, the 50% increase recently for one park means the rent is now $425.00 a month! Where can you rent an apartment or home for that matter for $425.00 off the Rehoboth Bay? No one likes increases, but I think the people who state these figures for affect should be honest with people when you state that rents have gone up 50%.  Tell people what the rents are since the increase.  Some of these vocal folks are paying $400 a month for rent?  And they seriously want to control the landowner’s books and records because they can’t afford it?

What’s next, rent control in apartments? We rent out my mother’s home in New Castle County after she passed, are you going to add that to rent control too? How about groceries, I don’t like what I pay for groceries, should they open their books and records? And another high expense is day care, should they open their books and records for justification?

The Florida bill is a great bill that took a lot of painful, emotional time and it works! And if our elected officials accepted this it would save all of us a lot a pain and suffering. The sides are working together thanks to Senator Peterson and hopefully a substitute which is like the Florida bill will be the compromise.

Pat Weyl

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