Homeowners at Colonial Estates in Taunton, MA, now have a new reason to be proud of where they live: they collectively own the manufactured home park. Thanks to a deal closed on August 29th, 2016, residents there no longer pay rent to a landlord, but instead finance their own residents association. There is a visible boost in the community’s morale as they embark on running the park as co-owners.
“I think a big part of it is pride of ownership,” resident Roger Drapeau told the Taunton Gazette. Traditionally, similar parks are owned and managed by a landlord. With the help of Cooperative Development Institute (CDI) and ROC USA, residents at Colonial Estates chose to buy out their landlord and run the park themselves.
The law in Massachusetts gives preference to residents in a sale like this one if a majority of residents vote in favor of buying the park. Residents of Colonial Estates voted overwhelmingly in favor and purchased the park for $10.2 million from the previous owner, Shamrock Redwood Colonial LLC of Delaware. The law was sponsored by Taunton’s own state senator, Marc R. Pacheco, who attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The success of this purchase owes to the technical assistance provided by CDI and ROC USA. Advisors from both organizations helped establish the park’s new rules and regulations, negotiate the deal, and secure financing. Colonial Estates sits directly across the street from Oak Hill, another resident owned community that received assistance from both organizations earlier this year. The neighbors chose to follow suit with similar excitement and commitment; the vast majority of homeowners at Colonial Estates have signed up to participate in the association that will govern the park. Colonial Estates is the 15th resident-owned community in Massachusetts, part of a growing network of 192 communities nationwide.
Rev. Michael Scarlett, a homeowner at Colonial Estates, remarked at the ribbon cutting ceremony that resident ownership was the best deal for their community and others. Residents of this over-55 community have a more secure financial future now that they control the park. They will not be concerned with a landlord who would raise rents or cut services to increase profits. They also rest assured that no one can sell the park out from under them. It’s this sense of security that brought neighbors out to clean up the park, add a fresh coat of paint, and to celebrate their new venture together.