CoMO-CAL WELCOMES MODESTO MOBILE HOME OWNERS                                                     by Frank Wodley, CoMO-CAL President

The following articles, published in the Modesto Bee by mobile home owners, struck a chord.  “Over one-third (of mobile home residents in Stanislaus County) were losing their homes or would with the next rent increase!  Many sales of mobile homes in parks have been lost due to interference by park owners. The demands of park owners appear to be unconscionable efforts to confiscate homes in order to provide extreme financial advantage to the park owners.”

This information is IMPORTANT.  We all are in the same boat.  If this isn’t happening in your park today, it probably soon will or you simply don’t know what’s going on.  Park owners and managers try to hide these kind of issues.

I’ve called and chatted with a leader of the Stanislaus Mobilehome Owners—Advocates group (see article below) and applaud what her committee has accomplished.  We need more activists like her across the state.  She has agreed to promote CoMO-CAL by including 1200 CoMO-CAL promotional fliers with her next newsletter—thanks!  It is my hope that many take advantage and join our growing family to be informed and grow our membership so we become stronger!

I’ve written time and time again there is power in knowledge.  We have a strategy against interference of sales by park owners and managers.  We have Clay Harrison’s article—the Seller’s Guide.  And we’ve written a four page flier on the law that applies to the removal of older mobile homes.  We just need to get this information out to ALL mobile home owners. Please help us help them.

There are 123 mobile home parks in Stanislaus County containing over 6,000 homeowners.

Our committee conducted a six-month survey, and out of 628 residents who responded, over one-third were losing their homes or would with the next rent increase. Rents have continued to escalate since then. Residents can’t afford to move their homes, and there is nowhere to move them. Many park owners block sales or charge exorbitant credit check fees, so selling their homes is not an option. Homeowners are then forced to abandon their homes, losing their investment.

Mobile home owners are considered part of Stanislaus County’s low-income housing stock. Mobile home owners also pay taxes on their homes. Many sales of mobile homes in parks have been lost due to interference by park owners.

These demands by predatory park owners are not consistent with the Mobile Home Residency Law or Title 25 of the Health & Safety Code. They appear to be unconscionable efforts to confiscate homes in order to provide extreme financial advantage to the park owners.

SALLY STUDER, LYNDA RIGNEY and SUSAN TURNER  Modesto

MODESTO BEE “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR” by Mobile Home Owners—continued

Seniors left homeless by the greedy  

Last Updated: August 6, 2006,

I am one of the many senior citizens that is also disabled. I have lived in a senior mobile home park for 13 years. I received notice on July 27 to vacate my home by Sept. 1. Apparently, they are going to remove my home to make room for a brand new modular so they can make more money.

I am 66 and on a very limited income. Where do I go now? I can’t afford to pay more and there is no low-income housing that I can find. I am one of the hundreds in senior parks that this is happening to. There are more and more of us senior citizens that are becoming homeless every day.

NANCY WARD, Modesto

Seniors trapped by skyrocketing rents on mobile homes

By RAYMOND O. NEWMAN Last Updated: August 24, 2006

There are many communities of manufactured and mobile homes populated by seniors who are being seriously affected by usurious increases in their space rents. If allowed to continue, this will result in a whole new class of homeless.

Elderly, frail and disabled are being forced out of the homes in which they have lived for many years and will be out on the street, unable to find lodging. People who have worked their whole lives to be able to retire in some measure of secure comfort are being forced out of their homes by rent increases as high as $350 a month.

Yet, because of fears of litigation, threatened by these parks’ owners, local authorities are abandoning the one group of people who are least able to absorb this blow. This situation rightly should be classified as a form of elder abuse.

For those who may not be aware, manufactured and mobile homes are not mobile. Once in place, they are the same as a house, with some differences. The people who have purchased these homes and placed them in parks of their choosing are charged fully for the maintenance and upkeep of the home and its surrounding space. The park owner simply provides the piece of land on which the home resides and access to utilities, the charges for which usually are paid by the homeowner.

While the park operator may provide some amenities, such as a clubhouse or swimming pool, these are maintained by a portion of the space rent.

Unfortunately, in many parks, there are problems with sewer systems, water supply and general maintenance of the facilities, threatening the health of residents. These problems are not being addressed by the park owners, in spite of the huge rent increases.

Sadly, if homeowners decide to sell and move to more affordable housing, they find that the park owner will increase the space rent by several hundred dollars a month for the person wanting to buy the home. The result is that the buyer backs off and the would-be seller is trapped in a home he or she no longer can afford.

This leaves sellers with difficult choices. They can forgo their medications and food to pay the rent; turn off their air conditioners and suffer the physical consequences during times of extreme heat such as the valley just experienced; or they can decimate their meager savings to survive.

Whatever the choice, it is a disaster waiting to happen.

It is time for elected officials to step forward and enact mobile home rent stabilization to protect the homes and lives of the elderly.

Newman lives in a north Modesto mobile home park

.Mobile home owners have recourse

Last Updated: October 19, 2006,

The trial victory described in the story “Court win by tenants still leaves a bad taste” (Oct. 9, Page B-1) was far from a win. As with all residents that live in mobile home parks, park owners in the long run will win the battle as attorneys that know the mobile home residency laws settle cases out of court.

Judges are the only ones who can enforce the mobile home residency laws. If mobile home owners don’t know the mobile home residency laws, they should get a copy from the park manager or the park owner and read them. If the county isn’t doing its job, go to the state, starting with the Department of Housing and Community Development.

Counties do not always follow the law. Some park owners are devious and will cheat and do whatever it takes to keep from maintaining water systems, sewer systems and the park itself. The law requires that mobile home parks be inspected either by the county or the state to keep them from becoming substandard.

Mobile home parks are one of the few forms of affordable housing left in California and need to be preserved for seniors and the disabled. Rent-control ordinances are needed to keep rents affordable. There are state agencies that can be called when the counties fail.

JEAN DE MATTOS Mi-Wuk Village

‘Elder abuse’ at mobile parks

Last Updated: November 4, 2006,

At the Oct. 24 Modesto City Council meeting, I referred to the large group of mobile and manufactured home owners in attendance as “victims of elder abuse” (“Council strikes deal to keep Modesto Nuts,” Oct. 25, Page B-1).

To clarify: Emotional or psychological abuse is the infliction of mental or emotional anguish, such as humiliating, intimidating or threatening. Exorbitant rent increases beyond the renter’s ability to pay have resulted in this anguish.

Financial or material exploitation is the improper act or process of an individual, using the resources of an older person without his or her consent, for someone else’s benefit. These homeowners are definitely being exploited to the benefit of the park owner.

Neglect is the failure of a caretaker to provide goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish or mental illness, such as denial of food or health-related services. Exorbitant rent increases create denial of food or health-related services because the homeowner has no money left after paying the rent.

This problem must be dealt with to prevent a new class of homeless.

RAY NEWMAN Modesto

MODESTO BEE “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR” by Mobile Home Owners—continued

Rent control for seniors needed

Last Updated: November 25, 2006, 04:40:36 AM PST

In response to “Mobile home owners victimized” (Nov. 20, Letters): I have to express my outrage at mobile home park owners for their victimization of the elderly to make a quick buck. It’s got to stop and be rolled back to a liveable level.

I live across the street from the Coralwood Mobile Home Park, where more than 50 of the 190 residents have their homes up for sale or have walked away from them because an unscrupulous mobile home park owner from Ohio raised rents far beyond any reasonable level.

These seniors’ rents have gone from $395 a month to $750-plus a month in a year and half. Seniors who retire with Social Security only are capable of meeting the lowest housing requirements for even a low-income mobile home park. This is elder abuse to the highest degree without any compassion or even common business sense.

The county and the various city councils absolutely need rent stabilization for the 6,000 low-income residents in our community now. Where will this stop if we don’t? You’ll be next! Get involved and write or call your council person, supervisor, assemblyman, senator and congressman and express your outrage.

BOB ARMSTRONG, Modesto

Demand stable mobile home rents

Last Updated: December 3, 2006, 06:41:21 AM PST

Until I read in Opinions the plight of mobile home owners throughout the county, I thought the park where my husband and I live was the only one with these issues. The golden years of mobile home owners in Stanislaus County have been turned into a gold mine for greedy park owners.

Huge rent raises, intimidation and lack of basic maintenance of many parks have turned what should be a more or less peaceful time in our lives into one of poverty, fear and uncertainty.

A large number of mobile home owners are old, disabled and-or low-income families. The community should be outraged at this treatment of the most vulnerable of its citizens by mostly out-of-the-area park owners.

Contact elected representatives in your city and the supervisor in your district to let them know you support rent stabilization rather than waiting until more people become homeless or worse and become a burden on the community’s  already overburdened resources.

The gift of support of the community would be the best gift of all to the more than 6,000 mobile home owners in Stanislaus County. Many of them are trying to save their homes and live independently.

JUDY LAWSON Oakdale