Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Some NE Pennsylvania Residents Fear Mobile Home Park Operator's Changes In Lot Lease Terms May Be First Step In Effort To Evict Them & Wrestle Away Ownership Of Their Homes

In Middle Smithfield Township, Pennsylvania, the Pocono Record reports:
  • A new, lengthy set of lease guidelines for properties in Rocky Ridge Estates in Middle Smithfield Township have caused a rift between a group of residents and the relatively new owners.

    While the owners insist the new 44-paged lease contract distributed to the residents of the mobile home park are being misinterpreted by residents, about 70 percent of residents in the 90-home private community did not return a signed agreement to the new rules and regulations by the June 1 deadline. When the new guidelines go into effect July 1, some residents aren’t sure where they will be living.

    Chris Dougherty, an estate resident for three years and son of former estate owner Dennis Dougherty, believes current owners Cole and Amber Peffer intend to systematically take ownership of homes through evictions brought on by violation of new rules and regulations. He pointed to particular yard maintenance and property upkeep regulations that could require residents to spend more than they would be able to afford in contracted work.

    “The first time someone gets evicted for a driveway not being paved, it’s game on,” Dougherty said. “It’s greed at that point."

    Concerns over new rules

    Dougherty said the new contract spurned him to visit other residents and gauge their opinion, and found most were as concerned as he was. He noted that some people living in the community are on fixed incomes, unable to afford something like a four-figure tree removal service if it’s required.
    ***
    Residents fear losing homes

    [A] regulation that states homes that have not been occupied for 30 days are considered abandoned — and require a doubled rent fee — convince Dougherty the owners’ intent is to own more homes. A line in the abandonment clause states “the community may petition the court to be awarded title to any abandoned home.”

    Dougherty believes residents will either be evicted due to failure to improve their properties, leave due to disagreement with the new lease guidelines or become unable to afford new and added costs for living.

    “All paths lead to them taking your home,” Dougherty said.

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