Washington Visit, Mystery Solved, Bloom Gone!

COBA8® present Blog # 353 via community-investor.com Copyright 21 June 2015

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle Communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press) , research reporter, & online communication media for all LLLCommunities in North America!

To input this blog & or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

COBA7® Motto = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

Introduction to blog posting # 353. This past week has been filled with traveling, meetings, networking, and pondering what to include in this four part blog posting. Yes, Spencer Roane, MHM® and I made it to Washington, DC., via OH, PA, NJ, DE, & MD. Once at the expensive Capital Hilton Hotel, (Part I) we met with influencers from government and the MHIndustry. (Part II) Everyone enjoys a mystery, but fewer the better in business environs! One is about to be ‘splained’ and resolved in the Allen Letter professional journal. Part III, in a word, was ‘difficult’ to write. Kinda like criticizing a loved one; but if they’re – in one’s opinion – headed down the wrong path, we have a responsibility to speak out. So…And finally; (Part IV) if you’ve ever wanted to showcase your firm’s product or service, in person, before 200-250 LLLCommunity owners & operators, here’s your unique opportunity to do so! And hey, keep those letters coming!



COBA7® Visits Washington, DC.

Allen & Roane Meet with Regulator, National Advocacy Bodies, & Real Estate Investors Before Talking with Legislators.

Following a relaxing and gastronomically-pleasing weekend dining on fresh seafood (raw oysters, boiled crab, shark steaks, & scrumptious scallops) at Mark’s Place in Cape May, New Jersey, George Allen and Spencer Roane brunched, in Lewes, Delaware, with American Housing Advocate’s Bruce Savage, while enroute to Washington, DC. Bruce is alive and well, free-lancing for several state MHAssociations.

COBA7® affiliates, Allen & Roane, met with Pam Danner, esquire, manufactured housing program director at HUD. Covered a lot of territory in the hour spent together, but the most important, if not exciting topic, came near the end – when we learned of shared interest in promoting HUD-Code manufactured housing as affordable housing!

COBA7® ‘MHInsiders’, Allen & Roane then met with Marc Weiss, esquire, and recently retired MHARR executive Danny Ghorbani. Here the range of topics stretched from inaccurate tallying of monthly and annual new HUD-Code home shipment totals, to affiliating with COBA7®, and our shared interest in needed and adequate – if not new, national representation of all post-production components of the manufactured housing industry, as well as the land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) realty asset class!

Allen & Roane also met with MHI chairman Nathan Smith, near the end of the day, to network and discuss matters of mutual interest.

The busy day ended with Allen & Roane dining with real estate investors not affiliated with any of the entities identified in the previous paragraphs.

Bottom line? This was one heckuva day for COBA7® affiliates. As blog floggers (readers) know, the upcoming 24th annual International Networking Roundtable features keynote presentations by executives representing all major HUD-code home manufacturers, addressing the theme:

‘Selling More Community Series Homes into LLLCommunities Nationwide!’

…and the presence of all the GSEs at this year’s stellar event in San Diego. This COBA7® visit to Washington, DC., frankly, planted seeds for the anticipated theme of the 25th Roundtable in 2016 – yet to be announced.

Decades Old MH Mystery Solved!

Have you noticed & wondered: ‘Why do monthly & annual HUD-Code new home shipment numbers never tally the same, when reported by the manufactured housing industry’s two national advocacy entities?”

Well, they’re not the same! Probably never have been, though they should be! But guess what? This perennial mystery has been solved, and the tell-all expose’ will be featured in the July issue of the Allen Letter professional journal! Not only that, given the existence of a legitimate national source for ‘home shipment numbers’, a practical solution is evident, and will be proposed, to end this decades-long confusing state of affairs! Don’t miss it this truly historic story.

If not already affiliated with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, and receiving the Allen Letter professional journal, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 to do so. Cost? Only $134.95 to join with the other 250 ‘MHInsiders’ already benefitting from statistical research, helpful resources, print & online media, networking & deal-making, property management training/certification, & national advocacy (e.g. ombudsman – press & historian services) available by affiliating with COBA7®.

‘Ah, The Bloom is Off the Rose!’

As a 20 years, direct, dues-paying member of MHI, my respect for the institute in general, and NCC division in particular, wanes!

And that’s not easy for one to say, who’s been a (founding) National Communities Council board member since 1995 – shortly before this MHI division began its’ work in January 1996.

What’s happened? I disagree with the direction the council has taken during the past few years, as attendance at its’ national meetings has dropped from dozens of land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators of all sizes, to rarely more than a dozen today. At last week’s NCC meeting, of the dozen or so board members in the room, half were bona fide ‘owners’; the remainder, salaried executives from property portfolio firms.

Besides the declining participation in meetings,

• Council leadership should not, in my opinion, be dominated –as it appears to be – by executives and owners of large property portfolios. This troublesome issue was underscored twice last week when 1) a council executive expressed his opinion in public, that it’s unnecessary to qualify in writing how certain proprietary rent survey results are representative only of institutional grade LLLCommunities, and not LLLCommunities at large throughout the same local housing market. The problem with not doing so? Large property portfolio LLLCommunity site rents tend to be higher than neighboring properties. And such skewed reporting can provide cover for further rent increases. And 2), a REIT executive bullied attempted opposition to certain pre-decided agenda topics. So, it was no surprise when one meeting attendee opined privately, following the meeting: “Perhaps the time has come for manufacturer floor dues, paid by small LLLCommunity owners/operators, be diverted to an entity that better represents our interests.”

• Ignoring presence of recreational vehicle rental sites in LLLCommunities is, in my opinion, wrong. Ever since the ALLEN REPORT began ranking property portfolios according to total rental homesite count in 1985, all developed and rentable sites have been included in corporate totals, including those for recreational vehicles. And now that LLLCommunities routinely site six different types of shelter (i.e. pre-HUD ‘mobile homes’; post-HUD manufactured homes, modular units, ‘park model RVs’; ‘RVs for a season’; even site-built homes constructed on-site to look like manufactured homes) this TREND of acquiring mixed-use destination (i.e. MH & RV together) properties, is well established! However, the debut of the NCC’s ‘Top 50 List’, signals MHI/NCC’s desire to change this 26 years of precedent. Specifically, the ‘Top 50 List’ does NOT include RV sites. Consequences? Ignoring the obvious business model trend, and reshuffling of some portfolio rankings. In the latter instance, the most significant being real estate investment trust SUN Communities, Inc., supplanting ELS, Inc., as ‘Largest Owner/operator of LLLCommunities in the World!’ So henceforth, while the ALLEN REPORT continues to identify ELS, Inc., as #1, MHI’s NCC division will likely rank the firm as being only #2. This is yet another sorry consequence of the ongoing and unnecessary disunity that so characterizes the manufactured housing industry! Like it or not, let’s be clear: Recreational vehicles, and RV rental sites are part of our present and future business models!

• More encroachment? Announcement last week, of NCC’s intent to imitate more of COBA7®’s SSRD (Signature Series Resource Document) research; specifically, relating to LLLCommunity Operating Expense Ratios, or OERs. COBA7®’s predecessor articulated the Official MHIndustry Standard Chart of Operating Accounts in 1992, and has been reporting/updating appropriate LLLCommunity OERs ever since. But then, perhaps this is yet another self-serving effort to produce one’s own version of another benchmark statistic, as appears to be the case with aforementioned skewed site rent reporting.

• Don’t look for any of this (the preceding) to change anytime soon! In my opinion, two reasons. As long as MHI continues to practice ‘affluence gerrymandering’ (i.e. scheduling its’ meeting venues in high cost locations, e.g. valet parking @ $47.00/night in Washington, DC) – discouraging participation and decision-making by other than the most successful and wealthy of its’ members; and, continued prohibition of proxy voting at annual elections – as was made clear in new NCC operating procedures circulated for comment last week, present day status quo will prevail, and overall meeting attendance will continue to hover at the ‘only 100’ mark..

Conclusion? All this prompts one to wonder about the value and efficacy of one’s institute membership on one hand; and, whether worth the time and resources to attend and strive against established NCC practices, on the other hand. For me? Per the subtitle of this part of today’s blog posting, “As a 20 year direct, dues-paying member of MHI, my respect for the institute in general, and NCC division in particular, wanes!” However, if I and the few other sole proprietor LLLCommunity owners don’t hang around, to make our views known, it’s downright scary to imagine what might be dictated in the future.

Sponsorship @ 24th Networking Roundtable

We announced nine unique sponsorship opportunities in last week’s blog posting. Already, two major opportunities have been spoken for, by mortgage originators and a real estate investment firm.

What are YOU waiting for? When will you have an opportunity again, to present your unique product and or service to 200 – 250 LLLCommunity owners/operators and other registrants at this year’s event in San Diego, CA., 9-11 September 2015. Simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764, to learn details and decide which social networking event to sponsor.


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