"There are many misconceptions about mobile, or 'manufactured,' homes," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. For example, "it can be genuinely hard to tell the difference between manufactured homes and conventional homes," and about 20 million people in the U.S. live in what has been "one of America's last affordable housing options," kind of.
Recently, private equity firms and other large investors are jumping in, he added. "So the homes of some of the poorest people in America are getting snapped up by some of the richest people in America, and luckily, there have been no problems whatsoever — except I'm obviously kidding, it's going terribly."
"The rise of big-money investors in mobile homes has led to a corresponding spike in rents, fees," and other costs, Oliver said. High-interest financing by leading manufactured-home seller Clayton Homes, controlled by Warren Buffett but advertised by Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson, is one reason mobile homes are a great investment for big investors, and a lousy one for buyers, Oliver said, but it's not the only reason.
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About a third of mobile home dwellers own their house but not the land it sits on, and the large investors snapping up mobile home parks tend to jack up rents or tear down the parks. In fact, 80 percent of mobile homes never move, Oliver said, "and this lack of mobility for tenants is actually part of the attraction for big investors," some of whom are openly "cynical and predatory" about their motives — Oliver singled out one man.
One solution is for residents of mobile home parks to band together and buy their own park, and some nonprofits facilitate this process. But everyone needs to know the potentially "financially catastrophic" risk of buying a mobile home on land you don't own, Oliver said. He helped out by making an ad, starring The Good Place's Janet (D'Arcy Carden) as an unsatisfied customer. There is NSFW language sprinkled throughout. Peter Weber
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