116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — New, limited protections for Iowa mobile homeowners who rent their lots will become law after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed off on the legislation Tuesday.
The new law requires an extra month’s notice of a rent increase or when a landlord cancels the lease agreement.
Advocates have said the new requirements do not go nearly far enough to add protections for mobile homeowners, and thus do little to address the recent proliferation of out-of-state companies that have purchased mobile home lots and parks and increased rent and fees on tenants.
In 2019, nearly half of mobile home lots in Iowa — 45.6 percent of the lots identified by the state’s nonpartisan legal and fiscal analysis agency — were owned by out-of-state companies, according to an analysis by The Gazette. That year, one out-of-state owner of several parks in Iowa increased rents 24 to 69 percent.
Iowa Sen. Zach Wahls, leader of the Senate Democrats from Coralville, has worked since 2019 on legislation that would offer stronger protections to mobile homeowners. He asserted that majority Republican state legislators sided with the manufactured housing industry and landowners over the mobile homeowners.
“(The proposal) surely does do some good things for homeowners,” Wahls said during Senate debate on the bill last month. “But those improvements are so common-sense that to try to sell them to this body as a material improvement is an insult to the people who need more protection.”
Among lobbying groups, the proposed legislation that is now law was supported only by the Iowa Manufactured Housing Association, which represents the state’s manufactured housing builders and retailers, according to state lobbying records. No other group registered in support of the bill.
House File 2562 passed the Iowa Legislature on mostly party-line votes, with Republicans supporting and Democrats largely opposing.
The Iowa Attorney General’s Office had recommend the legislation include limits on how often a mobile home landowner can increase rent and fees, and require landowners to provide a legitimate reason for terminating a residency. None of those recommendations were in the new law.
During Senate debate, Sen. Amy Sinclair, a Republican from Allerton, said the legislation attempted to strike a balance between the rights of mobile homeowners and landowners.
“We’re striking the balance between those two classes of property owners,” Sinclair said during debate. “I understand that it might not be everything that everybody wants, but sometimes striking that balance means not everybody gets everything they want.”
Reynolds’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Comments: (515) 355-1300, firstname.lastname@example.org