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Posts Tagged ‘residents’

Residents Hope for More Time to Vacate MHC

February 7th, 2017 Comments off
ResidentsHopeforMoreTimetoVacateMHCcreditNBC4-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

The East End Mobile Home Park. Credit: NBC 4.

For residents of the East End Mobile Home Park in Manassas, Virginia, hopes for an extension on an order to vacate are hanging in the balance.

In a story that the Daily Business News has followed from the beginning, and through resident requests for a lifeline, Manassas city officials have now stepped in and asked the current property owner to allow families that have children to stay in the community until the end of the school year.

In late December, residents went to the city council to ask for help in a saga that has, according to them, been going on for a decade.

Residents claim that the property owner has neglected the community’s sewage system to the point that unless residents take action themselves, sewage comes up into their yards.

In a move that city officials considered the “best of bad options,” the city council voted to buy the property for $1.86 million.

While the option looked like a lifeline, it had a twist: the city said it could not act as a landlord, and therefore the deal could not close until all the residents were out.

ResidentsFacingEvictionAskCityCouncilforLifelineMayorHarryParishIIcreditOfficialPhoto-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Mayor Harry Parish II. Official Photo.

We have a contract and we’ve got to abide by that contract,” said Mayor Harry Parrish II at the time. “There are opportunities for the owner to work with the citizens. And I think that’s where the action should be taken place today.”

At the time, city officials said that the situation was unhealthy for residents and it could not continue.

They did not want to shut off water and sewer service, which would have led everyone to be evicted right away, so the city opted to buy the property and make repairs, as the current owner did not have enough money to cover the expense.

The city said that it now plans to repair the faulty sewer system after residents move out.

While city officials did step in and ask the current owner for an extension, they said that the owner will select a move-out deadline, not the city.

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East End Residents attend a Manassas city meeting. Credit: Potomac Local.

We’re going to be moving them when they’re prepping for these tests, and that’s going to be detrimental to their education,” said resident Melissa Watson.

According to NBC4, the Save Our Homes Alliance, a nonprofit organization, has stepped forward to help residents stay. The Daily Business News will continue to follow this story and provide updates. ##

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Bad Actor? MHC Residents Given 48 Hours Notice to Vacate

February 6th, 2017 Comments off
BadActorMHCResidentsGiven48HoursNoticetoVacatecreditTriStateUpdate2-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

A home at Caroline Estates Mobile Home Park. Credit: Tri State Update.

A visit to a manufactured home community in Chapmanville, West Virginia, by the Logan County Health Department quickly turned into a crisis.

Community landlord George Evans told residents of the Caroline Estates Mobile Home Park on January 29th that they needed to be out of the community by January 31st because the Health Department found issues with electrical hook-ups and other health violations.

According to Tri State Update, this put community residents into a panic, with many saying they had no place to go.

I didn’t know what I was going to do. I mean I’ve got two kids. My son had trouble at school yesterday just thinking about all of this,” said Joda Farley, who has lived in the community for 7 years.

That was the situation when I moved in the place and he knew that. I had no place to go and I needed a place to live so there it is,” said resident Greg Williams.

BadActorMHCResidentsGiven48HoursNoticetoVacatecreditGoogle-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Chapmanville, West Virginia. Credit: Google.

While the violations may have come to a surprise to residents, Evans appears to have known about them all along.

Inquiries to the Logan County Health Department uncovered that issues at the community had been going on for years, and a health inspector confirmed that after dozens of violations that Evans’ license to own and operate a manufactured home community was revoked on January 1st.

Residents at the community said that Evans collected rent in early January, even though he was aware of his license being revoked.

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Resident Greg Williams in front of his home. Credit: Tri State Update.

You have all of these violations that need to be corrected, why not let us know and lets correct them? Instead you wait until you have 10 families set out? It’s not right,” said Williams.

Joda Farley owns her home. Without a place to move it, she’s taking a “wait and see” approach to what to do next.

It is the only thing I can do. I don’t have a place or the means to try to move it. I mean I just have to ride it out and see how far it goes,” said Fairley.

Per Tri State Update, as of January 31st, all residents living in the community had not moved out yet and some are in the process of finding other places to live, and Evans has not returned calls for comment. Inquires from the Daily Business News have not received responses as of the time of this article. ##

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

MHC Residents Triumph With Co-Op and Purchase

February 6th, 2017 Comments off
MHCResidentsTriumphWithCoOpandPurchasecreditCoOperativeNews-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

The Polly Ann Park community. Credit: Co-Operative News.

For manufactured home community residents in Dover Point, New Hampshire, Christmas came early.

According to Co-Operative News, those residents created the Dover Point Cooperative, elected a board, and engaged the Resident Owned Communities team (ROC) at the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund (NHCLF) to guide them through the $3.125 million purchase of Polly Ann Park.

 

The co-op signed the deal for the community right before Christmas, and became owners.

The journey began last February when Polly Ann Park residents received a letter from the owners at the time, Frank and Ann Torr.

The couple wanted to sell the community. And they were very keen on the residents buying it.

As Daily Business News readers are aware, New Hampshire laws on manufactured home communities are some of the strictest in the nation, and require residents be given the first opportunity to buy.

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The location of Polly Ann Park in Dover, New Hampshire, marked with red indicator. Credit: Google.

With the Torrs’ wanting the community to go to the residents, they approached NHCLF about making the sale to the residents before telling the residents.

We can’t thank Frank and Ann Torr enough for coming to us about buying the park [sic],” said Steve Sheehan, community resident and the first president of the co-op’s charter board.

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Credit: New England Real Estate Journal.

When we started this process, my wife and I told everyone we would have a cookout when we had a signed purchase and sales agreement.

Sheehan also shared that the process of getting to the point of ownership was challenging, yet rewarding.

This was a nine-month process with a lot of ups and downs,” said Sheehan.

Knowing that our future is secure is a great feeling. Once we renovate the garage into our meeting hall, we are going to have another celebration for the community.

With the standards set by New Hampshire, the state encourages these transitions, which are becoming the rule as opposed to the exception: 120 other manufactured home communities have converted from private ownership to a member-owned co-op, which represents 22 percent of the total communities in the state.

For Steve Sheehan, and the residents at Polly Ann Park, they are grateful for what the state, and others have done.

I know I can speak for everyone on the board in saying we couldn’t thank ROC and the Community Loan Fund enough for all their work and guidance throughout this process. We couldn’t have done this without them,” said Sheehan.

For more on New Hampshire resident owned communities, including the case of Lakemont Cooperative-owned Briarcrest Estates potential sale to Hometown America, click here. ##

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

MHC Residents Avoid Eviction

January 21st, 2017 Comments off
MHCResidentsAvoidEvictioncreditWCPO-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: WCPO.

Residents of a Cleves, Ohio manufactured home community are breathing a sigh of relief. For now.

According to WCPO, residents of the Candlelight Mobile Home Park have been in a fight to save their homes, and they got one company to back off and not force them out.

But residents fear a new threat.

We’re not being considered at all in this,” said resident George Willoughby. “It’s just a business transaction and a bad business transaction.

That challenge came from Unilock, a company that makes paving stones. The company wanted to have the property the community is located on rezoned so they could use it as phase two of the manufacturing facility they’re building.

Unilock then decided not to include the park at the last minute.

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Glenn Wiley. Credit: WCPO.

We found in the best interests of the residents and our company, we could redesign our current footprint on a smaller parcel of land,” said Glenn Wiley of Unilock.

Residents no longer have to move. But there’s a twist.

The community owner has an agreement where another company, the Schueler Group, could still buy the land.

And residents fear they may be forced out.

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Roy Bernhardt. Credit: WCPO.

We got a lot of money tied up in our homes,” said resident Roy Bernhardt. “Sure, they’re mobile homes [sic], but they’re our homes.

WCPO checked records and found the land the community is on is zoned for industry.

The community was grandfathered in.

Sadly for the residents, if someone buys the land, they could build there without a zoning hearing, meaning residents could still be forced out.

I don’t see a victory. I see more trouble,” said Bernhardt. ##

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Proposal to Keep Manufactured Housing Out Sent Back to Planning Commission

January 17th, 2017 Comments off
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Nimby comic credit as shown, used here under fair use guidelines.

In another case of NIMBY (Not-In-My-Back-Yard), a South Carolina County Council is asking for more clarity.

The Aiken County Council has sent a proposed rezoning back to the planning commission to review alternate zoning of some or all of the area.

According to the Aiken Standard, last month the County Council passed the first of three readings on a proposed amendment to the Aiken County Official Zoning and Development District to rezone 362 tax parcels, or approximately 1,935 acres.

The Council decided this month to continue second reading on the ordinance until its Feb. 21 meeting to allow for review of alternate plans.

The reason that residents wanted to rezone the area? The potential for a large manufactured home community.

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Stephen Strohminger. Credit: Aiken Standard.

The reason residents wanted to rezone the area is to keep mobile home parks [sic] out,” said Aiken County Planning Director Stephen Strohminger.

Residents in the area had reached out to former County Councilwoman LaWana McKenzie and District 3’s new representative Councilman Danny Feagin, concerned with the possibility of a large, manufactured home park.

They wanted some protection,” said Strohminger.

Strohminger shared that Residential Use Zoning (RD) limits the uses to single-family and multifamily residential, including manufactured homes but not manufactured home communities. It also included crops, bed and breakfast inns, day cares, and uses complimentary to residential such as parks, churches, elementary schools, utilities, and police/fire.

During the council meeting, Strohminger said Rural Development District (RUD) zoning allows for manufactured home communities.

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Danny Feagin. Credit: Aiken Standard.

When asked how the residents would feel regarding potential zoning changes, Councilman Feagin provided an ominous answer.

As long as it keeps the mobile home parks [sic] out, I think the folks would be satisfied,” said Feagin.

 

Potential MH Impact 

As readers of the Daily Business News may be aware, South Carolina has the highest percentage of manufactured housing in the U.S., with nearly 19 percent of all housing in the state falling into the MH category.

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Ed Schafer. Credit: MHISC.

The potential zoning actions by Aiken County could have far reaching impact.

For the last three or four years, the South Carolina association’s focus is to move beyond killing bad zoning proposals and working to reopen areas that have been closed to manufactured homes for many years,” said Ed Schafer, Government Affairs Director for the Manufactured Housing Institute of SC.

In some areas it’s been easy. Progressive planning officials in several towns have been very interested in using manufactured homes for ‘urban’ infill.

You can find the full commentary from Schafer and others on zoning linked here. ##

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Residents Facing Eviction Ask City Council for Lifeline

December 26th, 2016 Comments off
residentsofeastendappearat-manassasmeetingcreditpotomaclocal-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

East End Residents attend a Manassas city meeting in October. Credit: Potomac Local.

In a follow up to a story that the Daily Business News originally covered in October, hundreds of residents are now facing imminent eviction from the East End Mobile Home Park in Manassas, Virginia.

And, once again, they are asking the city council to help. But they feel that they are running out of time. The deadline is February 28th.

Residents say their painful saga has been going on for nearly a decade, as the property owner has neglected the community’s sewage system to the point that unless residents take action themselves, sewage comes up into their yards.

According to WJLA, in a move that city officials say they consider the “best of bad options,” the city council voted to buy the property for $1.86 million.

While the option looks good on the surface, it has a twist: the city says it cannot act as a landlord, and therefore the deal can’t close until all the residents are out.

Now residents fear that they will have nowhere to go or won’t be able to afford to move to more expensive housing in the area.

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A home at East End Mobile Home Park. Credit: Inside Nova.

Believe me, for some other people it may not be much, but for me – and a lot of my neighbors – it’s the whole world,” resident Crescencio Torres told the Manassas city council during the meeting.

City officials say that the current situation is unhealthy for residents and it cannot continue. They say they didn’t want to shut off water and sewer service, which would have led everyone to be evicted right away. Instead, the city opted to buy the property and make repairs, as the current owner does not have enough money to cover the expense.

During the meeting, residents asked the city and the council to pressure the owner to at least extend the deadline for them to be evicted.

While the mayor supports the idea, he says what the city can do is limited.

ResidentsFacingEvictionAskCityCouncilforLifelineMayorHarryParishIIcreditOfficialPhoto-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Mayor Harry Parish II. Official Photo.

We have a contract and we’ve got to abide by that contract,” said Mayor Harry Parrish II. “There are opportunities for the owner to work with the citizens. And I think that’s where the action should be taken place today.

A group of residents wants to postpone the eviction date until August, including Melissa Watson who says that would help minimize the impact on children who must then change schools.

We’re going to be moving them when they’re prepping for these tests, and that’s going to be detrimental to their education,” said Watson.

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Randy Grumbine. Credit: LinkedIn.

Residents currently pay $600 or less a month at the community and some say they are finding it difficult to locate other places where they can move their manufactured homes. A representative for the city said the eviction date is not their decision because they do not yet own the property.

It is our hope that the city works with the tenants to find an equitable solution, said Randy Grumbine, Executive Director Virginia Manufactured and Modular Housing Association, told MHProNews. ##

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

City Weighs Repair Assistance Options for MH Community Residents

December 14th, 2016 Comments off
CityWeighsRepairAssistanceOptionsForMHCommunityResidentscreditEastBaytimes-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Residents discuss their options in light of rent increases. Credit: East Bay Times.

Residents of a San Leandro, California manufactured home community are facing rent increases next month, but they may get assistance from city leaders through a proposed minor home repair program.

According to the East Bay Times, the proposal was presented by San Leandro staff at the City Council meeting on December 5th, and suggests partnering with nonprofit Rebuilding Together in nearby Oakland to exclusively help residents in the Trailer Haven Mobile Home and RV Park.

The program would be funded by $150,000 in city tax revenues from the 8.23-acre property and would focus on three key repair categories:

  • deferred maintenance,
  • health and safety fixes or upgrades,
  • and energy efficient upgrades, such as new windows or energy-efficient appliances.

 

The program’s goal is to cut key expenses for some residents and address potentially expensive fixes to their homes,” San Leandro Community Development Director Cynthia Battenberg told the council.

This is a way to assist owner-occupied mobile home [sic] units in taking care of their property and keeping their value.

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Trailer Haven RV and Mobile Home Park (marked.) Credit: Google.

The proposal comes after Trailer Haven residents approached the city, stating that rent increases set to take effect in January are excessive and may force some of them to move out.

The East Bay Times reports that the increases were imposed by the property’s new owners, San Leandro Mobile Home & RV Park LP, but property management representatives have said the increases are needed to offset deferred maintenance costs as well as taxes and fees that rose when they bought the site.

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Credit: Cascade Corporate Management.

Cascade Corporate Management, a Sacramento, California-based manufactured home community and RV park management company that oversees the Trailer Haven operations, notified residents of the rent increase in September, which averages about $117 per site, along with a $45 sewer and water charge.

Based on the response and the communication between our resident meetings, I can understand the impact that it’s going to have,” said Cascade Corporate Management quality control director Brock Kaveny to the city council.

I think it’s going to be nominal compared to some of the public concern. I think some of the concern was amplified with residents who weren’t even residents of our mobile home community.

Councilwoman Corina Lopez believes that a 15 to 25 percent rent increase is excessive and hopes the park’s new owners will adjust it.

Bring that amount down and smooth your increases over time so it’s more bearable for the people who are residing there,” said Lopez.

I understand that you have managing expenses and you’re looking to do some capital improvements, but this is quite significant for a population that we understand to be encumbered by poverty.

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Trailer Haven residents Maxine Ventura (right) with her daughter. Credit: East Bay Times.

San Leandro Mobile Home & RV Park LP is planning to extend a 10 percent discount on rent to income-eligible renters in the Trailer Haven community. Eligible households must not have incomes that exceed 50 percent of the area’s median income, or $32,200 for a single person, $36,800 for two people, and $46,000 for four people.

I support the city’s home repair program proposal,” said Councilman Ben Lee.

But I’m particularly concerned about those residents whose incomes are below those thresholds. I worry that rents may not be affordable for some residents even with a 10 percent discount.

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Credit: Apartments.com

Let’s face it, even 10 percent off a 25 percent increase, if it was that, is still a 15 percent increase, and there’s going to be some of our long-term San Leandro residents who are going to be forced out of their homes,” said Councilman Jim Prola.

I’ve seen this too often in San Leandro lately, where people come in from outside, buy up property and then put the rents up to such an extreme level that our own homeowners can’t afford to stay here.

City staff plans to bring a formal grant program for the Trailer Haven community to the council in February or March. If approved, it could start as early as spring 2017, but it would take about a year for city staff to review residents’ applications and start improvements.

The Daily Business News recently covered resident protests at Trailer Haven, including the push for rent control as a solution. That story is linked here.

For an industry legal commentary on why rent control is the wrong move for local governments to enact, please click here. ##

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Manufactured Home Community Residents Protest Rent Increase

November 22nd, 2016 Comments off
manufacturedhomecommunityresidentsprotestrentincreasecrediteastbaytimes-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Maxine Ventura (right) with her daughter. Credit: East Bay Times.

In what community residents are calling an effort to push them out, the new ownership of the Trailer Haven RV and Mobile Home Park in San Leandro, California is raising rents in a part of the country that already boasts record high housing costs.

I understand many are concerned about our plans for the property and the recent rent increase; we are responsible mobile home [sic] and RV park operators,” Cascade Corporate Management quality control director Brock Kaveny told San Leandro City Council members.

We have every intention of operating this property as a mobile home [sic] and RV park and are committed to providing affordable housing solutions to all San Leandrans. To do this, our rent increase is 100 percent necessary.

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Credit: Cascade Corporate Management.

Sacramento, California based Cascade Corporate Management purchased the property earlier this year from Bob and Lisa Granada, who had owned the community since 1937. In a letter to residents in July, the Granada’s explained their plans.

After a long discussion, we the owners of Trailer Haven have decided that it was time to move on to the next chapter of our lives,” the letter read.

With that said, Trailer Haven has been put up for sale and is in the process of being sold. We want to take this time to thank you for all the memories you’ve helped create with us over the 79 years of Trailer Haven’s existence.

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Credit: Apartments.com

For 17-year resident Maxine Ventura, the sale presented challenges immediately, including an increase in rent and utilities from $595 to $750 per month.

I fear the rent increases will slowly push out Trailer Haven residents who cannot afford them, lower the value of homes in the area and take advantage of low- to very low-income earners,” Ventura told the East Bay Times.

Resident Bob Nelson is also concerned about being pushed out. He lives on a supplemental security income.

This is the only place that I could afford for now, but now I feel like I’m under siege,” Nelson told the San Leandro City Council on Nov. 7.

I’ve got a lot of stress, and now the $200 is just way too much for me to handle.

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Trailer Haven RV and Mobile Home Park (marked.) Credit: Google.

Kaveny disagreed. He says the costs are necessary to address serious infrastructure issues and offset property tax increases and operational costs. He pointed out that the rents are still well below market rates in the San Leandro area, which does not have a rent control ordinance.

It’s not our goal to have anyone move out from Trailer Haven because of affordability issues,” Kaveny said.

We’re still the most affordable place to live in San Leandro, and we’re committed to keeping the community intact.

According to Kaveny, Cascade is also willing to offer a rental assistance program to families who cannot afford rent increases.

Some San Leandro residents say that this case shows the need for the city to consider rent control laws.

If you don’t protect these people, they’re going to be out on your streets, and we don’t need that,” said Golden State Manufactured Home Owners League regional vice president Karilee Shames.

As Daily Business News readers are aware, a number of MH industry professionals have commented on the issue of rent control, including the hotly contested Measure V in Humboldt County, California.

Paul Bradley. Credit: Fosters.

Paul Bradley. Credit: Fosters.

I think rent control is a symptom of a larger problem.  To my eye, these stories are always about both sides doubling down politically and legally,Paul Bradley, president of Resident Owned Communities (ROCUSA) told MHProNews.

I would like to think there are alternatives that don’t rely on third-party boards and local ordinances.  I approach things with a win/win mindset, and from what I’ve seen, courts and boards seem to satisfy neither party in most cases.  A fundamentally different value proposition and mindset is required to stem the tide of rent control,” said Bradley.

You can read the entire story on the outcome of the vote on Measure V here. ##

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Residents Forced to Move Due to Rezoning

November 8th, 2016 Comments off
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Melrose Mobile Home Park. Credit: TWC News.

Residents of the Melrose Mobile Home Park will have to move.

According to TWC News, city leaders in Wilmington, North Carolina are moving forward with a plan to rezone parts of Wrightsville Avenue.

Officials said the zoning became necessary due to continuous population growth. The city plans to designate the site mixed-use, with both business and residential units.

City officials told TWC News they are working to increase access to affordable housing in Wilmington, but many residents are concerned.

It is all about money. At Wrightsville Beach they want this property so they can zone it so they can build more rich condos here,” said park resident Rhonda Poythress.

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Rhonda Poythress. Credit: TWC News.

But it is just putting so many people out. Not to mention the elderly people who can’t get out to look for a place or pack their stuff up and move it. Some of them don’t even have family here; that’s what’s really breaking my heart.

North Carolina state law only requires residents to be given 180 days notice to vacate a community. While some states require relocation assistance for displaced residents, North Carolina has no such provision.

Residents have been given until the end of March to vacate the property.

The Daily Business News has covered a number of rezoning cases recently, including Boulder City, Nevada and Aurora, Colorado.

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Melrose Mobile Home Park. Credit: TWC News.

The MH Industry Speaks 

Jim Ayotte, executive director of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA), speaking about a similar case told MHProNewsA community owner shouldn’t be compelled to close a community without regard for homeowners.jimayottecreditmhpronewsusersrcdesktoppaulbradleycredtimhpronewsstanthonycasehighlightsbattleovercommunityownersrightsvsresidentsrights-dailybusinessnews

Ayotte explained some of the various stress points that are often at play, including local governments that have limited ability in their budgets to provide affordable housing.  Yet, local governments often try to impose measures that force property owners to act contrary to their property rights.

This is unfair to the private sector and quite frankly, should be unconstitutional,” Ayotte said.

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Jay Hamilton.

As MH association directors, we support a property owner’s rights to buy, sell and make a profit at any time,Jay Hamilton, of the George Manufactured Housing Association told MHProNews.

What we do hope for is that the MH Community owner does it ethically, which is usually the case.

The community owner should help minimize the impact by working with local government and social service agencies to identify alternative housing options,” Ayotte said, adding that he has seen a number of examples of community closures where owners, residents and local officials worked successfully together. Ayotte’s full comments about the matter are linked here. ##

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Manufactured Home Residents Considering Lawsuit

October 19th, 2016 Comments off
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Rolling Acres residents discuss their options. Credit: Mindy Ragan Wood, Red Dirt Report.

A Shawnee, Oklahoma manufactured home community is in flux after a series of missteps.

According to Red Dirt Report, a number of residents of the Rolling Acres Mobile Home Park were outraged recently when they received a 60-day eviction notice. They are considering a lawsuit after Shawnee attorney Kent Massey invited them to discuss their legal options.

The story begins in March, when Red Dirt Report found that the community’s lagoon was overburdened with too many residents on the system. It was leaking less than a mile from the North Canadian River.

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) received complaints and served the owner, Stephen H. Sanders, with a consent order requiring the lagoon system be fixed in order to continue operations of the community.

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Credit: Wikipedia.

According to records, 59 homes are connected to the lagoon system.

But under current standards, it is only designed to accommodate 15 homes.

Late last week, 34 of 59 homes were served eviction notices. Only those who owned their homes were served.

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Top of the Rolling Acres lagoon. Credit: Mindy Ragan Wood, Red Dirt Report.

According to the Red Dirt Report, homeowners were surprised to learn that people who were renting their homes from Sanders were allowed to stay. Many of those rental units were said to be in disrepair, but the rent collection on homes can be as high as $500.

Homeowners are only paying $165 in lot rent.

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Stephen H. Sanders. Credit: SBH Auditors.

I don’t like doing it. There doesn’t seem to be any way out of it so that’s why they have to move their trailer [sic], said Sanders.It’s one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make. In fact, I’m about to retire and I was counting on that trailer park [sic] as a significant part of my retirement.

Sanders contends that while he takes responsibility for the condition of the lagoon, the same number of residents on the system were the same number as when he bought it 11 years ago.

The View from Homeowners

Up until recently, manufactured home buyers have been allowed to move onto the property, unaware of the issues with the lagoon.

Whitney Kucera and her partner, Robert Vanzant moved onto the property in June.

We paid $20,000 to buy it and fix it up, cash,” said Vanzant.

We had a settlement from a DUI accident,” said Kucera who used the cash to pay for the residence.

Now we don’t have anything. And I’m trying to get my kids back from DHS. How am I going to do that without a house? We don’t have anything left,” said Vanzant.

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Rolling Acres. Credit: Google.

Other residents point to deteriorating water quality.

When you take a shower, it burns your eyes,” said Courtney Armstrong. “And the water smells like sewage.

Sherita Chaffin has MS, a heart condition, and COPD. “The water is so nasty. I got a bacterial infection and had to go to the ER. They told me, ‘Stay away from that well water,” Chaffin said.

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Residents at Rolling Acres. Credit: KOKH.

In addition to the challenges with sanitation, many residents face another issue. Most residents agree to a rent-to-own purchase of the home and therefore are responsible for all repairs. The local media didn’t address the question if the rent-to-own program is Dodd-Frank compliant.

Many don’t stay long enough to pay for the home, so their units,  go largely unrepaired and end up in worse condition for the next rent-to-own buyer.

With the hope of home ownership, residents often decide to pay it off and then fix it up. Others purchased their homes from Sanders outright or moved the homes onto property they may purchase.

What Happens Next

As for Sanders, who also owns Pine Ridge – another community in nearby Meeker that has also had issues with lagoon usage – he’s trying to figure out the next steps with Rolling Acres, including selling the property.

It’s not something he says he wants to do. He’s retiring this week.

I couldn’t borrow $500,000 from the bank because I’m retiring. The issue isn’t just looking out for my selfish self, but what am I going to do without that retirement? The last thing I wanted to do was reduce the number of users in that park because it affects me financially,” he said.

According to the DEQ, selling would not make the issue go away.

No change in the ownership or corporate status of respondents will affect respondent’s responsibilities under this order.

Sanders points to what, in his mind, are moving targets in dealing with the DEQ.

They regularly inspect it (lagoon),” said Sanders. “I thought everything was fine, everything’s going smooth, everybody’s happy. So, I didn’t ask any questions. Slowly over the last two years they’ve changed their regulations and unfortunately they’ve gotten a lot stricter.” ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.