As mobile homes continue to be displaced by development, a bipartisan bill aims to increase funding to a program to provide relief to those impacted.
Mobile homes have been vanishing across the Valley most often being replaced by luxury apartments or similar developments. The Phoenix City Council earlier this year approved $300,000 for legal services for three mobile home parks facing similar issues but advocates have said it hasn’t been enough.
The proposed legislation would increase the allotments dispersed by the Mobile Home Relocation Fund by more than 60% for some cases. It also increases the amount the landlord must pay to the fund for each tenant filing for relocation assistance.
Rep. Matt Gress, R-Phoenix, told the House Commerce Committee Tuesday that his House Bill 2381 was prompted by a request from the Arizona Department of Housing.
The committee unanimously passed the bill, but not before amending it to ensure tenants will have a longer window of time to make changes to the property. Under current law, tenants have 14 days to find a contractor to fix an electrical issue, Gress said as an example. Under the amendment, tenants will have 60 days.
A mobile home park in Phoenix faced similar issues last year where landlords also engaged in retaliatory measures against tenants who spoke out about safety issues.
Members of the Arizona Association of Manufactured Homes and the Urban Phoenix Project told lawmakers they strongly support the measure, saying that it is needed in light of more and more mobile home park closures that have been seen throughout the state.
“We have a large amount of mobile homes and we are having a lot of redevelopment in my district and a lot of families are being displaced,” Rep. Cesar Aguilar, D-Phoenix, said, referencing mobile home parks near Grand Canyon University development that are being displaced.
“I lived in a trailer house and I know a lot of people who live in trailer houses do so for financial reasons,” Gress said, adding that the bill is a “step in the right direction” to addressing the issue as well as the state’s affordable housing crisis.
The bill next will be considered by the full House of Representatives.