Examine Management Practices for a Change
As owners and managers of manufactured housing communities, we have a legal, ethical and financial responsibility to provide as high a quality living environment as we can. If we are successful, we will have a group of satisfied Residents who collectively project the image that will help the long-term health of our communities and our industry.
Ironically, the least costly but most valuable element in creating and maintaining great communities is the correct approach and follow through to managing on-site managers, other community owners, legislators and, yes, even our industry association, RHA. Simply put, our attitude affects our altitude.
On the negative side, I can't think of any better way to fast-track adverse industry regulation, than to irresponsibly manage a community. Obviously, it is the exceedingly rare occasion that this occurs, but it has happened in Washington.
There are many positive management practices that really work in affecting change: When was the last time you or your manager sent a thank you note to a resident doing a highly visible and exemplary improvement to his/her lot or home? Do you have a home of the month club with the winner displaying a front yard sign and photo in the community Information Center aka Office? Have you ever sponsored a lot/house clean up by bringing in a dumpster after a 4-Sided Inspection? Have you ever sponsored a bowling, softball, or youth soccer team? Have you ever sent out a Resident Questionnaire or Annual Report card to solicit input from your residents? With the holidays upon us, do you have a fund or collection canister for needy residents or local food bank? Ever volunteer to put out signs in a local election? Or, after your local politician who you supported was elected, did you send a congratulatory letter? There are thousands of ways we can improve our communities and our industry!
The open-door positive attitude to management based on the golden rule goes a lot further in creating excellence in community ownership than the “He who has the gold makes the rules” attitude. It is a real pleasure to manage and own communities where residents take satisfaction in the job that we do for them and that they do for themselves; strangely enough it's more profitable a financial venture when everything is done right…excellence creates its own market demand!
Joel Erlitz has owned and operated MHCs in the four Northwestern States over the last 40+ years. He was appointed twice by Governors to represent MHCs of Washington on State funded task forces. He has been active in State politics as they related to MHCs, and has provided expert testimony on issues relating to management, ownership, appraisal and lending practices for land-lease communities. If you have any questions about this article, please contact Mr. Erlitz Jserlitz@comcast.net.