"Gianforte Does Not Have Your Back." by Margie MacDonald, Big Sky 55+ lobbyist, Helena Independent Record, May 19, 2023
"The well-heeled lobbyists for out-of-state private equity corporations and the Montana Landlords Association ran to Gov. Gianforte who this week, who chose them over the thousands of Montana’s elderly citizens, veterans, persons with disabilities, and low wage workers who reside in Montana’s mobile home parks when he vetoed HB 889." Read more here.
"Legislators responsible for skyrocketing home prices." by Chris Hindoien, mayor of Choteau, Helena Independent Record, April 10, 2023
"The skyrocketing price of homes in Montana isn’t the fault of 127 municipalities and their voters, it falls to the feet of the 78 legislators in Helena trying to centralize government. We know best what we want and need in our communities. Your job is to take care of the next layer of government above the local level. Find the courage to do your job and deal with the statewide issues needed to lower housing costs." Read more here.
"Gianforte vetoes mobile homes park bill, CPS reform, among other legislation" by Nicole Girten, Daily Montanan, May 17, 2023
“'The governor’s veto made it clear that — when it’s time to act rather than talk — he stands with a minority of bad landlords and out-of-state corporations rather than with the tens of thousands of hardworking Montanans and senior citizens suffering from unfair and predatory practices,' Karlen said in a statement Tuesday." Read more here.
"Gianforte vetoes 'mobile home tenant bill of rights' from Missoula lawmaker" by David Erickson, Missoulian, May 17, 2023
“'The governor’s veto made it clear that, when it’s time to act rather than talk, he stands with a minority of bad landlords and out-of-state corporations rather than with the tens of thousands of hardworking Montanans and senior citizens suffering from unfair and predatory practices,' Karlen said in a statement. 'HB 889 was a compromise that I crafted with legislators of both parties and with stakeholders, who all recognize that Montanans living in mobile home parks are on the frontline of our housing crisis and deserve the same rights as other homeowners.'" Read more here.
"Nowhere to Go: Montana's Affordable Housing Crisis" by David Erickson, Missoulian, May 15, 2023
"There's going to be 40 people with mental illness sleeping down here eventually," he predicted, when asked what will happen if the city and county can't figure out a way to open the Johnson Street shelter next year. "Maybe 70." Read more here.
"Nowhere to Go: Mobile Home Park Residents Face Rising Rents" by David Erickson, Missoulian, May 16, 2023
"As private equity firms snap up mobile home parks and apartment complexes in Montana, raising rents in the process, more and more people are being pushed toward and into homelessness or less stable housing." Read more here.
"Nowhere to go: The efforts to address the homeless crisis in one large city" by David Erickson, Missoulian, May 17, 2023
"In May of 2020, voters in the greater Portland area approved a new regional supportive housing services fund that’s paid for by a 10-year, 1% marginal personal income tax on taxable income above $125,000 for individuals and $200,000 for those filing jointly. It’s also funded by a 1% business income tax on net income for businesses with gross receipts above $5 million." Read more here.
Nowhere to go: How one city built housing for Native Americans" by David Erickson, Missoulian, May 18, 2023
"There aren't many options for people looking for a large apartment complex — connected to services and specifically built for Indigenous people — in Montana, which has a Native population of 6.7%. And for the leader of a Missoula-based nonprofit that works to provide services to Indigenous community members, something like the Nesika Illahee [housing in Portland] is sorely needed in the state." Read more here.
"Mobile home park bill sees opposition; grant for autism facilities discussed in Senate committee" by Nicole Girten, Daily Montanan, April 12, 2023
"Cindy Neuman, who said she lives in the Highwoods mobile home park in Great Falls, said lot rent went up drastically under new corporate owners, utilities were decoupled and maintenance worsened.
'They’ve built a highly profitable business model that relies on our limited mobility to squeeze large profits out of moderate-income residents,' Neuman said as a proponent. 'We residents are suffering greatly and are reaching out in crisis.' ...
The property was purchased by Havenpark Communities, located in Utah, in 2019....
Proponents included Sen. Minority Leader Pat Flowers, D-Belgrade, Big Sky 55+ and Forward Montana. Opponents included the Montana Landlords Association, along with its Billings and Bozeman chapter presidents, and the Montana Association of Realtors." Read the full article here.
A retired, disabled veteran in Columbia Falls loses his rental home when it is purchased by an investor and the rent nearly doubles, from $1000/mo including utilities to $1800/mo NOT including utilities.
More information on HB 282 and 283, two bills introduced by Rep.Steven Galloway, R-Great Falls, who is himself a landlord. These bills favor the rights of landlords over renters.
Details about the report from the Governor's Housing Task Force.
HB 282, HB 488, and HB 731 Rental Law Revisions
Older Renters Are at Risk with HB 282, HB 488, and HB 731
Many older Montanans live in rentals, for a variety of reasons. These bills jeopardize the rights and housing of thousands of Montana elders, especially where markets are hot.
In testimony opposing HB 282, Big Sky 55+ lobbyist Margie MacDonald shared the story of a Columbia Falls disabled 68-year-old veteran who lost his rental when his monthly rent went from $1,000 including utilities to $1,800 NOT including utilities. Read the story here.
Current landlord-tenant laws are a delicate balance between the rights of renters and landlords. They were crafted several decades ago after a years-long negotiation between landlord groups and renters' groups.
These bills were written by and for landlords without consultation or agreement from tenant groups.
They significantly rewrite the due process by which a landlord might remove a tenant from their home.
For a deep dive into these bills, please see these fact sheets detailing the dramatic reductions in timelines and rights for renters facing eviction. These fact sheets were prepared with assistance of the Montana Legal Services who often represent low-income renters in small claims courts. HB 282 HB488 HB731