Cape Gazette

Support the rent justification bill

By Dennis B. Steigerwalt | May 02, 2013

We regularly pledge allegiance to our flag and our nation, a nation that supports the expectation of “liberty and justice for all”. But as we strive to attain the” justice” part of this equation, we sometimes need to remind and ask our elected officials to vote accordingly. The recently introduced Senate Bill 33 is one such example.

This rent justification bill states:

Senate Bill 33 provides that if a community owner desires to raise the rents charged to home owners in a manufactured home community more than the increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers [CPI-U] for the proceeding thirty-six month period, the owner must seek approval of the Delaware Manufactured Home Relocation Authority.

The Authority will consider evidence regarding increases to the cost of operating and maintaining the affected community. If the Authority finds that the owner has demonstrated that the cost of operating and maintaining the community has exceeded the CPI-U without justification, it will deny the applicant’s request. An appeal may be made by either party to Superior Court, on the record.

Starting in 2003, Delaware law allowed owners of leased land in manufactured home communities to raise the ground rent as much as they wanted once a year. In some communities ground rent increases have gone up $1,500 per year. This type of action creates an undue and unfair burden on these home owners.

If you rent an apartment, you can move if the rent increases too much. Most manufactured homes cannot be moved, so these home owners are caught in a serious and unfair bind if rents get too high. Land owners do have a right to make money off their property, and they are making money. Under SB 33, they will be able to raise the rent, but in accordance with the cost of living.

Contact your elected officials and encourage them to support Senate Bill 33.

Dennis B. Steigerwalt

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The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.