KIRO NEWSRADIO

90 Lynnwood residents — mostly seniors — on verge of homelessness

Jun 13, 2024, 5:27 PM | Updated: Jun 14, 2024, 10:58 am

Lynnwood...

Dave Ross speaks with the Lynnwood City Council president on protecting residents who live in manufactured home communities. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Residents throughout Western Washington are feeling the sting of rent hikes. In Lynnwood, 90 homeowners are facing a substantial increase in lease payments.

The 90 residents, most of whom are seniors, live in the manufactured home community of Royal Wood Estates. The residents own their homes and have no mortgage rates, but still have to pay rent on the land their homes sit on — in other words they own their homes but not the land underneath them.

A new landowner of the property said maintaining their utility connections will require a spike in rent. And because a majority of the residents are seniors on fixed incomes, residents spoke out in a forum a couple of weeks ago and said they will be forced to move.

According to Lynnwood City Council President George Hurst, the rent increase went into effect on June 1, as did separate fees for water, sewer and garbage. Hurst told “Seattle’s Morning News” host Dave Ross Thursday all of those fees had previously been included in the rent. But since the rent increase, fees have gone from $640 a month to $940+ a month.

However, Hurst said his team found the increase is actually in violation of the Manufactured Home Landlord Tenant Act.

Ross: Let the rich pay the exorbitant ‘luxury lane’ toll prices

Hurst said the landlord cannot implement a blanket increase to everyone, it has to be when their lease renews. So now, Hurst and his team are working with some of the residents to file a complaint with the Washington State Office of the Attorney General. However, they would only be able to hold off the increase temporarily.

“And we’ve been in meetings before and talked to attorneys. And they basically said, ‘The only option to really protect these type of residents in manufactured homes, is rent stabilization of some sort.’ And Olympia has a real problem getting that passed,” Hurst told Ross.

Looking more at the number of manufactured homes

Ross asked how many manufactured home parks are in Western Washington.

According to Hurst, there are 119 in Snohomish County, 20 have a Lynnwood address and 14 are in Lynnwood city limits. In comparison, Hurst noted, there are three parks in Edmonds, two in Mountlake Terrace, one in Mill Creek and none in Mukilteo.

“As a city council member, I’m really concerned and focused on these folks, because they’re a large part of our residents,” Hurst said.

Hurst said his team could potentially protect a few tenants, who are being charged too much, but in the end, rent can go up each year and he has no control over it. However, he is hopeful his team could at least prevent the increasing rent for the Royal Wood Estates residents in the short term, either through city funding or some sort of rental assistance.

“We need, at the state legislator level, to take some action, because you heard that we had people from the Department of Commerce, they’re there. They’re basically giving us the programs to what happens if people get kicked out, what happens if they have to sell their homes, they don’t have the tools right now to actually preserve a park and that’s really what we need to do,” Hurst said.

To hear the full interview, where Ross and Hurst get into the details of the land owner’s thinking, head here or tap on the player below:

Listen to “Seattle’s Morning News” with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Julia Dallas is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read her stories here. Follow Julia on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email her here.

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90 Lynnwood residents — mostly seniors — on verge of homelessness