How To Properly Enforce Rules In A Mobile Home Park
|Many park owners feel that it is their duty as the owner to rule with an iron hand. They think that they can cure all of the park's ills with rule after rule. At many parks, the rules section is longer than the lease itself. But is the park any better off with "rules phobia"?|
I have tested operating parks with extreme rules enforcement, and also with virtually no rules enforcement at all. And I think I have found the solution to successful park rules.
For inspiration on proper rules enforcement, look no further than the nearest residential subdivision. These rules are found in the city's code enforcement manual, and are monitored and enforced by the code inspector. They must be important, since most of the city lives under these guidelines. And what do they focus on? Only a few, very important items such as:
Is there really any reason for a mobile home park to expect, and enforce, greater rules on their residents? I would argue that there is no possible way that you can expect a park resident to be more proactive on rules than someone who lives in a subdivision.
- No non-running vehicles in yards
- No big trash or debris in yards
- Grass mowed to a certain maximum height
- Reasonable maintenance of your property.
Be Reasonable With Park Managment
If a tenant has a car up on blocks while he is fixing the radiator for a few days, you cannot count that as the same offense as someone who has a car up on blocks for ten years, waiting to sell it off part by part. When you fail to see the gray areas, but only black and white, you will begin to really offend residents - and rightfully so.
You would never accept such treatment yourself. You need to allow room in every rules problem for extenuating circumstances. These are another reason not to micro-manage. You will get caught up in too many special cases if you go crazy over hundreds of rules.
Enforcing Rules Costs You Money
The more rules you write and enforce, the more money it costs you. How? Every time you spend your time, or your manager's time in writing letters and following up and meeting with tenants regarding rules violations, it costs you money. In addition, when you have to kick tenants out to set examples that you won't allow your rules to be pushed around, you cost yourself legal fees, filing fees, and opportunity cost of a lot income lost. Remember that the average park as a multiplier of 10 times the net income in valuation, so that tenant you just kicked out for too many loud music violations cost you $200 x 12 x 10 = $24,000. Was it worth it?
Nothing Scares Tenants Away More Than Overly Tight Rules
The number one reason I've found for a tenant to come to our park and talk about moving their mobile home over, is ridiculously tight rules enforcement. To many tenants, you create a "prison" atmosphere when your rules are too intrusive. Would you want to have that kind of rules enforcement by the code officer in your subdivision? Or would you go nuts and tell the wife and kids "that's it - we're out of here, I'm putting the home on the market" after you receive your fiftieth code violation ticket?
How To Properly Enforce Rules In A Mobile Home Park Conclusion
Rules are important. But they can be taken too far. Remember that it's pretty crazy for you to expect more than a subdivision. And every minute spent on rules is costing you, not making you, money. So ease up, and let those tenants alone. You will be richer and happier, and so will your tenant base.
|Dave Reynolds is a successful real estate investor that has specialized in the purchasing of Mobile Home and RV Parks for the past 12 years. He has the keen ability to quickly assess deals, cut through hype, measure upside vs. downside risk, and make sound decisions. He has owned and operated over 55 Mobile Home & RV parks over the past 12 years in 16 different states. He currently owns over $10,000,000 in mobile home park real estate.|
Dave Reynolds received a B.S. in Accounting from Mesa State College in Colorado in 1992 and attended graduate school majoring in Accounting and Taxation at Colorado State University in 1993-1994.
Frank Rolfe was born in Missouri, the "Show Me" state, and has been starting up businesses since high school. He has had two big successes: a billboard business that he sold to a public company in 1996, and a mobile home park business that he sold to various buyers beginning in 2004. He always has several start-ups in the hopper - currently an old time photography business, a web-based educational products business, an art school, and a return to the billboard business. Frank Rolfe holds a B.A. in Economics from Stanford University.
Dave Reynolds and Frank Rolfe have combined forces to bring the real estate market a better perspective on the multiple successes you can have with Mobile Home Parks. Together they have a combined experience of 20+ years and over $100,000,000 worth of deals under their belt.
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