Select Board supports residents’ bid to buy mobile home park

May 3, 2022

The Select Board voted Monday night to write a letter supporting a bid by the residents of the Royal Crest Mobile Home Park to purchase the park themselves, rather than allowing the park to be sold to a large Arizona-based corporation.

That company, Legacy Communities, has already purchased three parks in Wareham: Mogan’s Mobile Home Park, Great Hill Estates and Red Wing Estates. The Arizona-based corporation owns more than 45 parks across the country.

While mobile home park residents own their own homes, they rent the land those homes sit on. 

“Those mobile home parks can be cash cows, so rather than an outside owner making money, the residents can own the park,” Town Administrator Derek Sullivan said.

Bob Costa, representing the residents, said that there is “a great deal of support” for the idea of buying the park as a coop — roughly 75% of the residents have signaled their interest in the idea.

The park’s $12 million price tag means the residents will need help. They’re working with Resident Owned Communities USA, a non-profit that helps residents buy the mobile home parks they live in. That means the residents will need to finance 80% of the purchase price. To do that, they’re applying for a variety of grants, and Costa said the board’s support will help aid their applications. 

If the residents are successful, Costa said the park would be run like a small town. Everyone would get together once a year to vote on major issues, while a board would meet regularly. A professional management company would be hired to run the park.

Royal Crest hosts 154 lots, 144 of which are currently occupied. While residents own their own homes, they rent the land. If they purchase the park, the land would be collectively owned.

Costa said that he and other residents have met with representatives of other resident-owned parks. 

If the residents buy the park, their intent would be to keep that housing affordable for those who live here — many of whom are senior citizens on fixed incomes. If Legacy purchases the park, the residents will have no control over how much rent they’re charged each month, Costa said. 

Several officials brought up past efforts to have mobile homes categorized as affordable housing. Select Board member Peter Teitelbaum said that one barrier to that change has been that mobile home owners don’t have control of the land they live on, and he said resident ownership of the park could mitigate that concern.