Sunday, November 20, 2016

Mobile Home Park Owner's Bankruptcy Filing, Court-Appointed Trustee's Effort To Unload Mismanaged Premises Leave Residents In Limbo, Fearing Possible Boot

In Archbald, Pennsylvania, The Times-Tribune reports:
  • Becky Pidich freely admits it — she stopped paying rent a while ago.

    Like other residents at Valley View Estates, a mobile home park on the outskirts of town caught in the middle of its owner’s bankruptcy case, Ms. Pidich remains uncertain about her future there.

    Margaret Mary Barrett and Egan Enterprises Inc., which own the park, filed for bankruptcy protection in February. A trustee appointed by the U.S. Justice Department, Robert H. Holber of Media, near Philadelphia, is trying to sell the mobile home park.

    Ms. Barrett owns about 9 acres up for sale at an asking price of $347,000, according to the listing agent’s website. Bankruptcy documents from another case list Eugene Egan, Ms. Barrett’s son, as the company’s treasurer.

    Residents say when paying rent or requesting maintenance, they deal exclusively with him. They never met Ms. Barrett.

    “From my review of the finances, it doesn’t look like the park’s been managed well,” said John DiGiamberardino, Ms. Barrett’s attorney, who said his client entrusted the park’s care to her son. Ms. Barrett, who inherited the business when her husband died, never saw any profit from it, he said.

    Valley View made headlines in September 2015, when Mr. Egan failed to pay the water bill and Pennsylvania American Water Co. suspended service. The utility set up a temporary water tank in the middle of the park until the issue was resolved.

    About 45 sagging, aged trailers, patched together with plastic and plywood, fill the park.

    Many have junk piled high around, and cats roam freely among the trailers, dodging the gaping potholes that litter the dirt roads.

    A few months before the water debacle, residents received letters on bright orange paper from the Lackawanna County tax office. The letters warned if they didn’t pay thousands in unpaid property taxes for the trailers, which are separate from the land, their homes would be sold in a tax upset sale.

    Mr. Holber said he doesn’t believe any of the trailers have proper titles. Many residents moved in with rent-to-own agreements. However, they never received bills of sale and were unclear on who should be paying the taxes.
    ***
    Mr. Holber now pays the water, garbage collection and sewer bills. The rent checks are his only revenue to keep those services going, he said.

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