going co-op

If you and your neighbors decide to buy your community, you’ll continue paying rent just as you do now. The difference is that instead of the rent money going to an external owner, it stays in the cooperative and is used to pay its bills, including the mortgage. The cooperative will borrow the money to purchase the park from financial institutions such as New Hampshire Community Loan Fund and banks.

Investor Owned Park

Graphic showing where rent money goes in a resident-owned community

Your monthly lot rent and, if you choose to join the cooperative, a one-time membership fee set by the co-op’s members. Your membership can be paid for over time with a joining fee of as little as $10 to $25 down.
An important goal of resident cooperatives is to provide access to affordable housing for their members. If the cooperative chooses to buy the park, its members will democratically vote on the terms of the sale, including what their rents will cost. For then on, members will vote on the rent structure as part of their annual budget. Typically, cooperatives only increase the rents when operating expenses increase. Whether you choose to join the cooperative may affect your rent. Most cooperatives charge non-member households a higher rent than members pay.
If residents choose not to buy the park, you’ll continue to pay rent to the park’s owner, and will have no vote on the budget, rent, or rules.

Graph showing rent increases in co-op and investor-owned parks
The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund is a nonprofit organization that helps manufactured-home-park residents understand their rights and options under state law when their park is for sale. We’re not the government, and our goal is to help create and preserve affordable housing across the state. The Community Loan Fund’s ROC-NH program gets involved in one of two ways. When a park owner receives a purchase offer from an outside buyer, the park’s residents are notified and so are we. The second way is when a park owner contacts ROC-NH to negotiate a sale to their residents. Either way, our next step is to notify residents of the potential sale and begin a discussion with them.
When residents buy a park, they’re buying a business, including the land, infrastructure (electrical, water, wastewater systems, etc.), and any other property belonging to that business. The cooperative then owns the business, including all the house lots.
If the owner’s negotiation with residents was triggered by the 60-day notice law, the park can be sold to the outside buyer. Otherwise, the current ownership will continue until the possibility of a sale, and the process starts all over again.
Under New Hampshire law, the only requirement of the seller is to “negotiate in good faith” with residents. Historically, this has been meant the resident cooperative matches the competing offer. A negotiated sale, in which the park owner doesn’t have an offer from an outside buyer, is just that—a negotiation. The two parties need to agree on price.
Who’s going to care more about the park being maintained and improved than the people who live there? Plus, cooperative ownership means there will be more money for improvements. That’s because the profit that would typically go to an investor owner instead is saved for community upgrades and improvements.
Like any other lender, the Community Loan Fund earns interest on loans to its borrowers. If your cooperative buys the park, we will also provide training and technical assistance to help you manage it. But loan interest and fees aren’t enough to keep the Community Loan Fund in business. As a nonprofit, we also rely on donations, grants, and investments to keep programs like ROC-NH going. We receive very little government funding.
That’s the cooperative membership’s decision. In some co-ops, volunteers take on as many tasks as possible to save money and keep rents low. Others hire a management company to handle the day-to-day financial transactions, and contractors for projects, and the co-op’s board of directors supervises their work.
No. Residents may join the cooperative at any time, but they’re not required to. However, only cooperative members get to vote on the budget, elect a board of directors, and participate in other important community decisions. It makes sense to be a member.
Yes, you can sell your home in a cooperative just as you would if anyone else owned the park. Living in a ROC actually gives you an advantage, because your buyer will have access to fair, fixed-rate home financing that isn’t available in investor-owned communities.
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ROC-NH Director Tara Reardon

ROC-NH™ is a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, Inc. and a ROC USA® Certified Technical Assistance Provider. ROC-NH is a registered service mark of ROC USA, LLC.

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