Frequently asked questions about park conversion

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How can we afford it?

If you and your neighbors decide to form a cooperative and buy your community, you will continue paying rent just as you do now. The difference is that instead of the rent money going to an external owner, it goes to the cooperative. The cooperative will use that money to pay its bills, one of which is the mortgage.

The cooperative will borrow the money to purchase the park from financial institutions such as New Hampshire Community Loan Fund and banks.

What costs will come out of my pocket?

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 as little as $10 to $25 down.

What will happen to my rent if we buy the park?

One of your cooperative’s missions will be to provide access to affordable housing for its members. If the cooperative chooses to buy the park, members will vote on the terms of the sale, including what their rents will be. They will then democratically approve 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.

What will happen to my rent if we DON’T buy the park?

If you or your neighbors choose not to buy the park, you’ll pay your rent to a person or business who wants to make a profit. That usually means rent will rise every year regardless of the park’s costs.

Comparison of rent increases in investor-owned vs cooperative parks

How did the NH Community Loan Fund and ROC-NH get involved?

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 mission 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.

What are we buying? Am I buying my lot?

The residents have the opportunity to purchase the current owner’s manufactured-home business, meaning the land and infrastructure (electrical, water, wastewater, etc.) systems, along with any other property owned by that business. If the sale is successful, the resident cooperative will own the business, including all the individual lots.

What happens if we don’t buy the park?

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.

Do we have to pay what the seller wants?

Under New Hampshire law, the only requirement of the seller is to “negotiate in good faith” with residents. Historically, this has been interpreted to mean the residents match 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.

Why would we buy this park? It hasn’t been well-maintained

Who better to make sure the park is maintained and improved than the people who live there? Plus, cooperative ownership means there will be more money for the park’s operation and improvement. The profit that would typically go to an outside owner instead becomes savings held in reserve funds for community upgrades and improvements.

How does the Community Loan Fund get paid?

Like any other lender, the Community Loan Fund earns interest on loans to its borrowers. If your cooperative buys the park, it may also choose to hire us to supply technical assistance to help you purchase and 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 our lending programs going. We receive very little government funding.

Who is going to do the work the owner used to do?

That decision is up to the cooperative membership. In some co-ops, volunteers take on as many tasks as possible to save the co-op 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.

Do I have to become a member of the cooperative?

Residents may join the cooperative as members at any time, but they’re not required to. 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.

Can I sell my house?

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.

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.