Service or Disservice ?

On the way home, along the highway ,I pass two trailer parks: one of fewer than fifty units, all single-wides from the seventies, a park which had been developed many years ago, and the other also with a similar number of spaces, apparently an ‘infill’ project with a mix of single and double wides, and a sprinkle of travel trailers. all quite old and unattractive. The lack of maintenance is most apparent in both. Partial or no skirting, badly patched roofs, with the occasional tarp, the odd window seems to be covered with plywood, and an array of toys and older vehicles add to the picture. But it is not a pretty picture. Rickety steps service the entrance/exits to the homes as well an apparent place to sit for the occupants.The neighbors of the parks are some old shacks and vacant land. Interestingly, the park with only the old single-wides hardly seems to have a vacancy, or at least seems to get a new tenant quickly. Needless to say, people who don’t live there criticize the park and its owner severely and call for governmental agencies’ action against both. But then there are always people whose main focus in life is to control, or call for controls over others, although the others cause no harm to the person or the property of the busybody. If someone offers his services, be it a slum landlord, a lawyer, a prostitute or a minister, or offers a product such as a gun, marijuana, a sack of potatoes, or knitted socks, or anything else, is it not the buyer who decides whether or not he is willing to partake in a mutually satisfactory transaction? Third party busybodies have no utilitarian or a moral claim on a transaction between consenting adults. These unattractive parks service a part of our society that may otherwise have to live in tents or on the streets. Their tenants would probably prefer better accommodations if they could afford them. These landlords provide a valuable service which most of us would refuse to offer, and no one has the logical right to disparage the value of their service to the community. In fact, their service should be appreciated. The parks’ consistent near- full occupancy speaks for itself.

Good post Bernd. Here in my town a second generation MHP operator worked his entire career providing similar housing, he also was involved in many other business and charitable endeavors. For well over 50 years his MHP provided 150 low end housing units, it was non- government subsidized. During this same 50 year time span there have been several publicly funded low income housing developments each costing many times more money than did these MHP’s. Housing authority managers and repairmen were paid a mediocre salary until the buildings were uninhabitable and new ones built, which later became uninhabitable and the MHP keeps on going.
The second generation operator has now died, and his children are now in control. Just as has been the case for as long as anyone can remember, there is much outrage about the looks of this MHP, and strong voices dog it and its owners at every turn.
Many people will never get it, this MHP has succeeded in providing housing and the publicly funded housing that looks the way that the critics say housing should look have failed over and over…they sincerely believe that the next government funded housing development will be different, it won’t fail as those that preceded it, it will be Utopia.


I am curious about one point. Why do you call the MHP “non-government subsidized”? Where is the subsidy?

Great post Bernd. This is the side of the coin that the media does not report. Generally I think satisfied buyers and sellers of goods should be left alone. However I would think that if Tony or some of the other park owners on this board were to buy such a park, they would want to at least make enough cosmetic improvements to keep the neighbors and busybodies from complaining as well as any liability issues under control!

John, the MHP was developed using the investors own money…the government housing was built at the taxpayers expense.

No subsidy; market pricing

[QUOTE=shawnsisco;884051]John, the MHP was developed using the investors own money…the government housing was built at the taxpayers expense.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the reply.

I guess I would say there was no subsidy. The private owner invested in a business and charged the market rent. If the owner was operating at a loss and therefore renting the places at less than it cost to operate then there might be a private subsidy. As we are assuming it was a profitable business the tenants were the ones who paid for the housing and paid the full cost of living there plus the owners’ profit, income taxes, property taxes, etc.

John, the question referred to the ethics, the morality of a certain type of landlord, and to his value to the community. Shawn correctly exemplified the efficacy of a free market enterprise by comparing it to that of the socialized, perennial failure of the government’s efforts to interfere in the housing industry. But, I readily admit that I don’t have much of a history and that my experience is quite limited.



I do not see an ethical issue. Or a moral issue.

Some might think there is a political angle. Or maybe it is a personal preference item (big vs. small government).

I was trying to more narrowly focus on what a subsidy is. To subsidize as a MHP would mean to support financially. The private landlord is not supporting anyone. They are renting stuff for a profit. The tenants are paying the full cost plus the profit to the landlord.

Land use or zoning is a topic some will want to debate. What might be best for the community might not be best for any one land owner. Most people who argue either side of the discussion tend to gloss over the benefits they enjoy from the common services (roads, schools, utility access, water, airports, etc). In other words. we tend to zero in on one property or topic while forgetting the bigger picture and how we benefit in many ways. What the right price is for the common services is different from the idea that we all use the services.

John, you are correct in pointing out that I did not define my terms, and therefore may not know what I am talking about. Ethics, to me, is the moral judgment of what is right and what is wrong. Politics is merely a subheading of ethical behavior. Political correctness is an attitude and a behavior that is approved by the powers that be for the sheeples.