On his last day as president of the Mobile/Manufactured Homeowner’s Association of Suffolk County Saturday, Joe Kummer didn’t get word that a bill he’s been fighting for on “unreasonable” rent hikes for mobile homes was approved by the state legislature.
But he did get a cake.
Mr. Kummer, who lives in the Calverton Meadows mobile home park, is stepping down after nearly seven years as president of the MMHOA, which represents mobile home owners throughout Suffolk.
“I’ve been doing this for six and a half years,” Mr. Kummer said. “It’s been a good time. I’ve enjoyed doing it and trying to help people. But I’m getting a little old for this.”
He intends to stay involved with the group, but not as its president.
Mr. Kummer said he’s disappointed that the unreasonable rent hike bill was never approved.
The bill, which prohibits mobile home park owners from issuing rent increases that are more than Consumer Price Index, has passed in the Democratically-controlled state Assembly for six of the past seven years, including this year, but it has never passed in the Republican-controlled state Senate.
This year, Senator LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) said he was giving up hope of ever getting the bill passed and was instead working on a new bill with upstate Senator Catharine Young, who chairs the senate housing, construction and community development committee, that would attempt to prohibit unreasonable rent hikes for mobile home owners.
“You can’t keep hitting your head against the wall and not be moving anyplace,” Senator LaValle told The News-Review recently.
On Saturday, an aide to Mr. LaValle, Laura Griffiths, informed the MMHOA group that a new piece of legislation sponsored by the senator to help mobile home parks had passed in the senate. This bill, which did not pass the assembly, gives a tax exemption to senior citizens who live in mobile homes in Suffolk County and are eligible for enhanced STAR. The exemption would apply to the mobile home park’s common area but the park owner would be required to reduce the property the rent of the qualifying tenants by the amount of the exemption.
But MMHOA members said their taxes aren’t that big, and that rent increases where their main concern.
“He’s just throwing us a bone,” one woman said.