Krummel bill would aid manufactured home owners

A package of bills would make it easier for home owners to get a $10K tax credit
by: Anthony Roberts, Several manufactured homes in the Driftwood park on Highway 99W in Sherwood were torn down in 2006, when home owners were given one year's notice that the park would close.

State Rep. Jerry Krummel, R-26, unveiled a package of bills in February aimed at helping manufactured homeowners whose parks are closed.

"The problem of mobile home park closures continues to be a huge concern especially in hot real estate markets such as the Portland metro area," said Krummel, who drafted the legislation at the behest of the Manufactured Housing Landlord Tenant Coalition. House Bill 2600 and accompanying legislation expand a tax credit created by Krummel in 2005.

Krummel spoke at a Sherwood City Council meeting in 2006, and met with city councilors in an attempt to help Sherwood draft a policy to reimburse homeowners when their parks close. Council failed to agree on a local regulation, but a manufactured homeowners advocacy group that closely followed the Sherwood situation said the new legislation improves on the old tax credit, which it viewed as uneffective.

"Th tax credit thing is going to be different, people are going to be able to get it no matter what," said Pat Schwoch of the Manufactured Home Owners of Oregon. "You don't have to move your house, you don't have to be at certain income."

In the legislation Krummel worked to pass last session, there was a set of requirements that made it difficult for homeowners to get the credit. One of the biggest was that they had to move their homes and then be reimbursed. That proved difficult for many, because their homes were too old to be accepted in the shrinking number of parks still operating in Oregon.

Several residents of the Driftwood Mobile Home Park on Highway 99W in Sherwood suffered that fate as it closed in 2006. They received a buyout from the park owner, but were charged to dispose of their home if they couldn't take it elsewhere, leaving some with as little as $500, Schwoch said. Her group is also looking to expand the bills to include a payment to manufactured homeowners along with the tax credit.

"It's going to give some relief to folks. It's not going to make them whole again; nothing is ever going to make them whole because if they have to move from their community they're going to be effected,' Schwoch said. 'But we just try to do the best we can.'

Seventy-nine representatives and senators are co-sponsoring HB 2600, more than any other measure introduced so far in the 2007 legislative session by the time the Gazette went to press.

In the past two years, 31 parks have closed in Oregon, impacting more than 1500 spaces. A dozen of those parks were in Washington County. Krummel hopes these new legislative proposals will build on the momentum from the 2005 session when House Bill 2389 received unanimous approval. That law established a $10,000 tax credit for low-income homeowners forced to move from a mobile home park, but there is a sunset at the end of 2007.

HB 2600 continues the tax credit program, lifts the income requirements and makes the credits refundable to all residents affected by a park closure.

In addition to HB 2600, Krummel has introduced HB 2601 to create a $10 million loan fund so mobile home owners can borrow money to cover moving expenses. HB 2602 would protect park owners from having to pay back taxes on abandoned mobile homes. Krummel also worked with Representative Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) on HB 2608 to require local governments to notify residents in mobile home parks when a land use action is pending. Under current law only the owners of real property are notified.