Location proved to be key when Thomas Gibney and Patty Reynolds were looking to move to Brittany Terrace seven and five years ago, respectively. Both Gibney and Reynolds agree that the location at Brittany Terrace just off Station Road in Rock Tavern is beautiful. It’s country-like, surrounded by trees. Gibney, who was already living in the same town, agreed, adding that the nearby local amenities were also a draw for him. For both, their neighbors also made the decision to move to Brittany Terrace an easy one, there was friendliness all the way around.
So when Gibney and Reynolds learned their community was for sale, the prospect of the unknown was scary. Our friends and neighbors were facing an uncertain future. Learning residents could purchase the neighborhood themselves and become a resident-owned community (ROC) where members would be in control of all major decisions was a relief.
One of the main concerns Reynolds and Gibney said they had about the purchase was how it would impact the affordability of the community. “We didn’t know how residents could afford it,” Reynolds, who serves as Vice President on the Board, said. As a 55 plus community, Gibney, who serves as President and Chairman of the Board, said many here are on fixed incomes.
In many manufactured home communities such as Brittany Terrace, residents own their homes but not the land beneath them. This makes homeowners vulnerable to rent increases and eviction, especially when ownership of the land changes. By purchasing the property, homeowners are empowered to make major decisions as a unified community.
Financing for the purchase included $5.2 million in federal Home funds allocated by New York State Homes and Community Renewal and $5.2 million from ROC USA Capital.
Rent increased by $40 after the community became resident owned. A recent independent study found that rents in a ROC tend to be way below market value, a testament to the affordability of the model. In just five years after becoming resident owned, co-ops are raising site fees less than one-fourth the pace of industry, on average. Most co-ops are raising site fees 0.86 percent per year, while the industry average is 3.9 percent per year.
Residents purchased their 88-home community on July 3, 2019 for $9.5 million. Staff from Pathstone Corporation, the ROC USA ® Network Certified Technical Assistance Provider, will work with residents for the duration of their mortgage - at least 10 years.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal provided nearly $5.2 million in a HOME grant to enable the purchase. This, Reynolds said, was vital to helping ensure the success of the purchase. “Without that, we could have never become a resident-owned community,” Reynolds said.
Pathstone, founded in 1969, is a nonprofit organization with a mission of transforming lives and communities through building assets for low and moderate income folks, including manufactured home communities.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) includes the Affordable Housing Corporation, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the Housing Finance Agency, State of New York Mortgage Agency, Housing Trust Fund Corporation and others. For more information on HCR programs and initiatives, please visit: nyshcr.org/.