When you were in the process of purchasing your mobile/manufactured home, you probably were excited and feeling confident about your decision. Perhaps you were downsizing from a large, stick built home and the kids were gone. Or, like many of us, you couldn’t afford anything but a mobilehome.
The choice seemed perfect. The mobilehome you were buying was in a park that was well kept. The park manager seemed nice and helpful. And the price was certainly alluring. No more property taxes, or big yards to keep up. And the park had some nice amenities like a pool and clubhouse. And there was a “community” atmosphere.
Of course all you knew about life in a mobilehome park was what you imagined it would be like, what little you could see for yourself and what the manager or seller told you. You did receive a lot of paperwork, some with “alerts” in bold type. Management even suggested you have your attorney look over the contracts, but of course you didn’t have an attorney or the money to pay for one. And hey, this is a nice park, and what can happen or go wrong?
Little did you know what you were getting into. You just wanted to live in peace and quiet, enjoying what years you had left, perhaps tending to your garden or making short trips to scenic places, or enjoying your grand kids.
I GET IT because that describes me also. I moved into Chatsworth Mobile Home Park about 15 years ago. Even before I signed on the dotted line I was having some issues. The manager didn’t like my sales agent and we had a tough time qualifying. But it finally happened. Shortly after that we received our first seven day notice for weeds in our front yard. I couldn’t figure it out because we don’t have a front yard!
It was downhill from there. I can’t count the number of confrontations I’ve had with management and number of seven day notices I received. Management had a campaign of harassment. They wanted folks to leave. They also wanted to evict folks. Their bottom line was MONEY. Finally, after three or four years I started looking for some help. I found GSMOL. A resident in another park suggested that I send out flyers and organize, but I was afraid and felt that would only bring the manager down on me more. After another year, a GSMOL representative was invited to come to our park and speak. Shortly after that our chapter restarted; however, to our dismay, the leaders were all pro-management. They gave us incorrect phone numbers and didn’t do anything for one whole year!
I’m not sure why they gave up their power, but a year later the leadership positions were up for a vote. As usual, no one wanted to run. My friends and neighbors convinced me to run for president, although I said I was a “behind the scenes type of person” and of course I was elected because no one wanted the job. LOL (Laugh out loud). The rest is history.
By the way, Chatsworth MHP now has a terrific manager and folks are much happier living here. The harassment and intimidation are gone. As an aside: This too could also change over night!
Why am I so long winded? What am I trying to say? I’m trying to say “I get it.” I’ve been there.. I’ve been afraid. I’ve been frustrated. And I had little or no knowledge about any protections I might have as a resident. I just wanted to have my peace and quiet. I never expected what has transpired over the last 15 years. NEVER!
This is my point. All of us were naïve when we moved into our park. We all had high expectations for a peaceful, simple life. We certainly didn’t expect all the challenges we would face. But the challenges are real. We all lose if we are not aware and take the time to deal with issues. I’ve written many times “when we live on land owned by someone else, we are vulnerable.” Just ask the residents at De Anza in Santa Cruz or Linda Vista in San Diego or Winchester in San Jose. Or thousands of others around the state.
Bottom Line
So what’s the bottom line? You can let someone else do the organizing and learn how to protect themselves. You can sit back in your easy chair and do nothing. You can hide out. You can be apathetic or complacent. But ultimately you will lose. You will lose thousands of dollars in equity, you will pay ever higher rents and you will lose your rights. But there can be change! If everyone just spend an hour or two a month, park owners wouldn’t be able to break the law. It’s up to YOU, no one else.
What Can You Do?
Read the article on the next page: “How to resolve issues in MH Parks”. It’s good advice! Still stuck? Call me at 800-929-6061 or email me at fawodley@yahoo.com. I will take my time to advise you and give you some direction. Only you can make change. Don’t think anyone else is, cuz they aren’t.