There are fresh orange stickers on mobile homes at "Life O Riley" Mobile Home Park in Lansing. On Monday, the city officially marked the dwellings there unsafe. It comes a month after the Ingham County Health Department condemned the park for violations under the public health code.
Democratic State Representative Andy Schor of Lansing says the disaster has exposed some gray areas in Michigan law. He plans to introduce legislation that will clarify the law, and protect everyone who lives in a mobile home community.
"We want to make sure that this situation doesn't happen again, that the information is there, that people know what's going on and we can get the owner to fix any of the problems or that someone can take action to fix those problems and then have it paid for by the owner of the parks."
Bob Johnson, Director of Planning & Neighborhood Development for the City of Lansing, says change in the law is needed. "We should be able to address that much sooner. Because if the private side is, everything is their infrastructure, so when it goes wrong it goes terribly wrong."
Rep. Schor says a lack of information sharing lead to the Life O Riley condemnation. 85 families were given 10 days to find a new place to live. Many are still without a permanent placement. Schor says, "The city didn't know, supposedly, there had been annual inspections by the state every year, but the city didn't have any of that information, so they didn't know what the potential problems were."
Schor has been gathering input from all sides, to draft his legislation. He says it would allow state and local governments to work together, protecting owners and renters in manufactured housing communities. "We want to make sure there is an annual inspection and if there isn't, the locals can do it and be able to charge back either the state or the property owners."
Johnson agrees. "It's about making sure that a standard is being met, in a mobile home park, so we don't have another Life O Riley, that's what we're trying to avoid here, and not just Lansing, but throughout the state." Schor plans to introduce the new legislation in mid-April.