Saturday, February 18, 2017

Tough To Get, Nearly Impossible To Use: Skyrocketing Rents, Plummeting Vacancy Rates Make Section 8 Housing Vouchers Worthless For Many In Parts Of SoCal

From a recent story by KPCC-Public Radio 89.3 FM in Southern California:
  • [O]ver at the Housing Authority of the City of L.A. (HACLA), which runs voucher programs for low-income renters, homeless individuals and homeless veterans, success rates [for placing apartment seekers into permanent housing] have also dropped.

    Currently, 40 percent of those who receive Section 8 rental assistance vouchers through HACLA end up giving them up because they can't find a place to rent. That's according to most recent figures, which span the first half of 2016.

    In 2014, that number was 27 percent and in 2015, 36 percent.

    "All of this is because of the vacancy rate in the city, which is at an all-time low of 2.7 percent, and that factors into the high cost of housing," said Carlos Van Natter, director of HACLA's Section 8 program.

    Van Natter said it's tough to be competitive as a renter in such a tight market, especially since Section 8 rent is capped at a maximum of $1,314 for a one-bedroom. For the HUD-VASH program, which exclusively serves veterans, the rent cap is $1,500.

    HACLA is turning more and more attention towards committing Section 8 vouchers to developments that are aimed specifically at housing the homeless, he said.

    "If there's a change in the market, we're right there still with tenant-based assistance, but we are pushing forward and doing a lot in terms of project-based vouchers," Van Natter said.

    HACLA has also received money from the City of L.A. to do landlord outreach and recruiting. The city can provide landlords security deposits for formerly homeless tenants, as well as money set aside for if a tenant causes damage to a unit.

    The County of L.A.'s housing authority is even offering cash incentives to landlords who sign up for the program.

    The two agencies, along with L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl's office, are hosting a landlord information session in Hollywood February 15.

    "We're losing the ability to house middle class and especially working class people," Kuehl said. Affordability issues, she said, are among L.A.'s greatest challenges going forward.

    "Government doesn't create these issues, but we are trying to help work through them," she said.

    Los Angeles isn't the only city struggling with affordability—it's become a regional issue.

    In Santa Ana, for instance, the housing authority is seeing 66 percent of its rental vouchers returned for lack of a place to use them.

    "We're struggling with the same issues," said Judson Brown, housing division manager for the city.

    Brown said the city is taking steps to help, including funding a housing navigator position to help people find rentals, but there's no help from the federal government when it comes to landlord outreach and other incentive programs.

    Brown said the city is trying to figure out a way to fund some of the programs L.A. has, including security deposit help. In the meantime, he said, the agency's doing what it can with limited resources.

Ex-Property Manager Gets 18 Months For Ripping Off At Least $150K In HUD Section 8 Rent Subsidies Paid On Behalf Of Indigent Tenants

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (White Plains, New York):
  • Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced [] that CARL IMMICH, formerly the property manager of Harriet Tubman Terrace Apartments, a Section 8 Housing Complex in Poughkeepsie, New York, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. United States District Judge Cathy Seibel imposed today’s sentence.

    Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Repeatedly and routinely, Carl Immich stole public money meant to subsidize housing for indigent tenants, and used it to dine out, travel, renovate his house, and play golf. For his brazen fraud, Immich was sentenced [] to time in federal prison.”

    According to the allegations contained in the Complaint, the Indictment, and statements made during court proceedings in the case:

    Tubman Terrace is a large, low-income apartment complex in Poughkeepsie, New York. The rental payments for nearly all of the apartments are subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) pursuant to Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937, [...]. From in or about June 2010 through in or about November 2014, HUD provided approximately $150,000 to $160,000 each month to Tubman Terrace.

    From in or about 2009, Tubman Terrace was managed by a management company, of which IMMICH is the principal and sole owner. In that capacity, IMMICH served as the management agent and property manager of Tubman Terrace since in or about 2009.

    From at least in or about December 2010 until at least in or about March 2015, IMMICH fraudulently obtained at least approximately $150,000 of HUD funds from the operating account of Tubman Terrace, which were paid to him or used for personal expenditures. IMMICH did so through as least three different schemes: (1) he used credit cards intended for Tubman Terrace business expenses for personal expenses, which were then paid through Tubman Terrace’s operating bank account; (2) he obtained check payments from the Tubman Terrace operating bank account to cover other personal expenses; and (3) he obtained payroll checks for himself and his daughter reflecting no work or other entitlement by them to such salary.

    IMMICH, 54, of Rhinebeck, New York, pled guilty to theft concerning a program receiving government funds, and theft of government property. In addition to the prison sentence, IMMICH was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $150,001 in restitution.

HUD Demands $750K+ Federal Funds Reimbursement From Sloppy Housing Authority Over Crappy Recordkeeping That Fails To Support Agency's Activities In Administering Federal Housing Programs

In Steubenville, Ohio, the Herald-Star reports:
  • The Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority must reimburse the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development $751,349 for unsupported procurement and contracting activities.

    JMHA Executive Director Debbie Bailey said [] she was able to find documents that resolved $213,000 cited in a HUD Office of the Inspector General report that initially recommended the public housing agency pay the federal department $964,000.

    “I received a letter from HUD this week saying we must pay the money back by June 30. We are now working on how we will take care of this issue,” Bailey said.

    She made her comments during the monthly board of commissioners meeting that saw several JMHA residents complain about a lack of security at the public housing apartments in Steubenville.

    “We have no funds budgeted for security at this point,” Bailey told public housing residents at the meeting.

    According to the audit that was released in August, “The authority failed to maintain adequate documentation to support its procurements and ensure there were no real or apparent conflicts of interest in its contracting process. Additionally it failed to achieve the expected savings on its energy improvements. These weaknesses occurred because the authority lacked adequate procedures and controls to ensure it complied with HUD’s and its own procurement requirements and a sufficient understanding of HUD’s requirements for the administration of its energy contract.”

    The HUD Office of Inspector General said eight of 11 authority-procured contracts reviewed by the federal auditors were missing pertinent procurement documentation.

    The audit report also noted a board member “had a business and personal relationship with at least one of the authority’s contractors.”

Marine Corps Vet/Single Mom Nearly Gets Boot From 'Section 8' Subsidized Apartment Over Paperwork Snafu, Slow-Footed Housing Authority; Bureaucratic Nightmare Triggered By $13 Rent Increase

In Kansas City, Missouri, KSHB-TV Channel 41 reports:
  • A Marine Corps veteran who receives housing assistance was facing eviction after her rent slightly increased.

    The amount was $13.

    Crystal Guhr was willing to pay it, but, she wasn't allowed to. That's because she receives housing assistance through HUD-VASH, a supportive housing program for veterans.

    Guhr lives at Old Town Lofts in downtown Kansas City.

    Per guidelines of the program, those who get assistance, are supposed to sign-off on a rent increase. The paperwork then gets sent to The Housing Authority of Kansas City.

    "Since I didn't get that signed in time, Section 8 didn't receive it in time," Guhr said. "They're denying it, saying they need 60 days notice."

    However, Guhr said she never received a notice from Old Town Lofts that her rent would be increasing. She said she wasn't aware there was an issue until she came home to an eviction notice.

    Guhr said she tried resolving the issue by contacting her landlord and her case worker, but she was told the approval letter from HAKC wouldn't be returned for months. By then, it would be too late.

    Guhr has non-combat PTSD. She finds strength in taking care of her son and working at the VA Medical Center.

    Keeping a job and taking care of her son are things she's able to do because of where she lives. Guhr doesn't have transportation, however, the bus stop is just feet from her apartment. Her son's day care is also located a few blocks away.

    "I feel like we really need to stay here," Guhr said. "Me and my son take the bus everywhere."

    The 41 Action News investigators went to Old Town Lofts to see if there was anything that could be done. No one would comment on the issue. A message was also left for HAKC, but that call went unreturned.

    However, the next morning, Old Town Lofts told 41 Action News the issue was resolved. Guhr confirmed that she and her son will be staying.
Source: KC veteran who receives housing assistance almost evicted over $13 (Unsigned paperwork leads to chaos).

Widow In High-Profile Incident Involving NYPD's Deadly 2014 Takedown Of Her Husband Gets To Keep Gov't-Subsidized, Low Income Housing Apartment, Despite Scoring $2.4 Million Lawsuit Settlement From City

In New York City, the New York Post reports:
  • Eric Garner’s widow is staying in her housing-project apartment despite a $2.4 million-plus settlement for her husband’s death — because the cash is not counted as disqualifying income, The Post has learned.

    Esaw Snipes got a $500,000, up-front payment following a judge’s order in November, and will receive the rest once a dispute among lawyers involved in the case is fully resolved.

    Federal rules say she can keep her apartment in the Fulton Houses in Chelsea and won’t even have to pay increased rent, a rep for the New York City Housing Authority said.

    NYCHA relocated Snipes to Manhattan from Staten Island following Garner’s deadly 2014 takedown by NYPD cop Daniel Pantaleo, according to law enforcement sources.

    Snipes and her lawyer, Jonathan Moore, both declined to say why she was still in public housing.

Friday, February 17, 2017

State Police Bust Contractor On Theft By Deception Charge For Allegedly Pocketing Over $70K From Homeowner To Construct Home Addition, Then Performing Incomplete & Unsatisfactory Work

In Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, the Centre Daily Times reports:
  • A Bellefonte man was arrested after receiving $71,000 for house work that was left “incomplete and unsatisfactory,” according to state police at Rockview.

    David P. Reeder, 51, has been charged with theft by deception.

    Reeder was paid by a woman in March 2016 to do work at a home on Meadow Lane in Walker Township. She reported the alleged theft Feb. 3.

    Reeder’s company, which has not been named by police, was supposed to put an addition on her home. Police said the woman also paid him $700 on Aug. 3 to install a kitchen pantry, which was to be completely in about a month’s time, but was not done.

Handyman With Track Record Of Screwing Over Home Repair-Seeking Homeowners Gets Pinched Again; Faces Theft By Deception Charge For Allegedly Pocketing $600 Pre-Payment, Then Never Completing Work; Earlier Escapades Led To Guilty Plea For Theft, $236K Order To Pay 14 Fleeced Former Customers

In South Portland, Maine, the Portland Press Herald reports:
  • A Portland handyman who previously defrauded customers out of tens of thousands of dollars and was ordered by a judge in 2013 to cease doing home repair work was charged in South Portland in January with taking money for home repairs he never completed.(1)

    According to South Portland police, Daniel B. Tucci Sr. of 104 Monument St. had been running newspaper ads for home repair work, and in mid-December, he contracted with a South Portland homeowner to do $600 of repair work on a garage.

    South Portland Detective Scott Corbett said his investigation revealed that Tucci had hired a homeless man in Portland to pose as the owner of the home-repair business, and that Tucci posed as the employee.

    Together, the two men contacted the South Portland victim, estimated the cost of the work, wrote a contract and accepted $600 in pre-payment. Then Tucci stopped answering the customer’s phone calls, and he never showed up to do the work, Corbett said.

    Corbett said that Tucci had taken out the weekly newspaper ad since 2015 and used a variety of phony business names, including Helping Hands, Helping Hands Painting and Handyman Company.

    Tucci also used the alias John Bruce, Corbett said. Tucci was issued a summons Jan. 20, and is due in court to answer the charge March 1.

    The South Portland resident who reported the latest incident may not be the only alleged victim. The Attorney General’s Office is also investigating Tucci.(2)

    “We’re looking for victims,” Corbett said.

    Tucci’s legal woes began in 2008, when he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge related to his home repair business. In 2012, the state Attorney General’s Office brought a civil case against Tucci under the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act, for falsely advertising that he was licensed to do home repair work, threatening customers – who were dissatisfied with his workmanship, and for taking advance payment for work he never did. Many of his customers were seniors on fixed incomes.

    A judge ordered him to pay $236,500 to 14 former customers and to cease work as a handyman. But Tucci never paid, and in 2016 the state moved to prevent Tucci from selling his home at 104 Monument St. after prosecutors alleged that he fraudulently transferred the property into the name of his children and a limited liability corporation, according to an April 2016 lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s Office.

    The Monument Street triple-decker was listed for sale in 2016 for $2.5 million, according to the filing. Portland property tax records show that it was not sold, and its listed owners as of April 2016 were still the Tucci family.
Source: Portland handyman with history of fraud issued summons in South Portland (Police say Daniel B. Tucci Sr., who was ordered by a judge in 2013 to stop doing home repair work, took $600 for a garage repair project that he never completed).
(1) According to a separate media report, Tucci faces a charge of theft by deception.

(2) Those who had work done by Tucci within the past year can contact the state attorney general’s office at 800-436-2131 or at

Contractor Who Allegedly Pocketed Homeowner's $2K+ Deposit For Roof Installation, Then Repeatedly Refused To Complete Job Or Refund Money Gets Pinched (Finally? After 7 Months) On Theft By Deception Charge

In Washington Township, Pennsylvania, the Tribune-Review reports:
  • State police [] charged a Salem Township contractor with accepting $2,080 as down payment for a metal roof that was never installed.

    David M. Musgrove, 47, was charged Tuesday [January 24] with theft by deception and disorderly conduct by state police in Kiski for failing to install the roof at a residence on Kunkle Lane in the township after accepting the homeowner's money on June 20.

    Trooper Shauntai Hall alleged in an affidavit of probable cause that Musgrove has repeatedly refused to return the money or complete the work.

    A preliminary hearing is scheduled March 27 before Washington Township District Judge Jason Buczak.

Scammer Dodges Jail Time, Gets Probation, Agrees To Pay Full Restitution After Copping Guilty Plea (Finally? Almost 3 Year Later) To Pocketing $4,700 From 84-Year Old Homeowner For Roof Repairs, Then Failing To Buy Materials Or Perform Any Work

In Joplin, Missouri, The Joplin Globe reports:
  • A rural Joplin man accused of exploiting an elderly woman on roof repairs pleaded guilty [] to a reduced charge and received a suspended sentence.

    Joshua L. Carpenter, 29, pleaded guilty in Jasper County Circuit Court to a misdemeanor offense of stealing in a plea deal with the prosecutor's office. He had been facing a felony count of financial exploitation of an elderly person.

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane accepted the plea agreement and sentenced Carpenter to one year in jail, with execution of the sentence suspended and the defendant placed on supervised probation for two years. The judge also ordered that he pay $4,907.86 in restitution.

    A probable-cause affidavit alleged that Carpenter took $4,768.70 from an 84-year-old Joplin woman in April 2014 for roof repairs but never purchased any materials and never did any of the work.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Reverse Mortgage Foreclosures Based On Banksters' False Claims That Elderly Homeowners Violated Loan Agreement By Moving Out Of Their Homes Begin To Garner Spotlight

In Miami, Florida, the South Florida Daily Business Review reports:
  • Felicia El Hassan had already lost one house. During turbulent times decades earlier in communist Cuba, she'd been forced to surrender property before fleeing to America.

    The 86-year-old woman thought those days were far behind her after living quietly for nearly 20 years in a modest house in Opa-locka, a working-class neighborhood in northern Miami-Dade.

    But that peace of mind ended when a process server appeared on her doorstep with court papers informing her of a foreclosure lawsuit by Liberty Home Equity Solutions Inc., formerly Genworth Financial Home Equity Access Inc. The complaint's sole basis was the lender's claim that El Hassan violated a key covenant of reverse mortgages by moving out, thereby defaulting on the loan.

    "The allegation is basically debunked," El Hassan's lawyer, Ricky Corona, said. "Not only was she living there, but … they served it at her house."

    This, defense attorneys say, is a new strategy by lenders and plaintiffs lawyers: sue to foreclose on government-guaranteed home loans under various defaults, then fast-track these suits by filing motions for orders to show cause. These motions shift the burden of proof to the borrower, requiring them to appear in court and explain why a judge shouldn't grant final judgment against them.

    "All of a sudden, we saw a spate of foreclosures where the mortgage companies alleged the seniors no longer lived in the home," said Gladys Gerson, supervising attorney for Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida's(1) senior unit. "This has been happening around the state."

    About a dozen similar cases reached Gerson and other attorneys at Coast to Coast, who have helped a growing number of low-income seniors fight and win dismissals despite aggressive lender litigation.

    Florida is ground zero for seniors' issues, but as the strategy has often proved effective, it's likely to spread, according to defense attorneys. “If you see the volume of national advertising that’s geared to seniors, I can’t believe this is limited to Florida,” Corona’s father and partner, Ricardo, said. “The servicers are not even based in Florida, so I don’t see why they would limit themselves.”

    Corona admits he didn't expect a hard fight when he first reviewed El Hassan's case, but court records show he was wrong. Over the last 10 months, the ongoing litigation yielded two hearings, 40 docket entries and attempts by both sides to collect attorney fees.

    When he first met El Hassan, Corona expected the plaintiff would realize the error and dismiss the suit. Without charging her or entering a notice of appearance, he placed a phone call to plaintiffs lawyers at Robertson Anschutz & Schneid in Boca Raton to say El Hassan had never moved out of her home.

    Robertson Anschutz & Schneid did not respond to requests for comment, but court records show they ratcheted up the litigation with a motion for an order to show cause weeks after Corona's phone call.

    "I looked at the document. I couldn't believe it," Corona said. "I was in shock (at) what the bank was trying to do."
    [F]lawed representations permeate an industry where real estate debt routinely changes hands through systems and processes that create a myriad of challenges in foreclosure cases. When reverse mortgages trade, elderly borrowers sometimes fail to realize the change. As new lenders mail postcards and letters requiring seniors to return the documents and certify occupancy, clients struggling with cognitive difficulties are especially vulnerable to technical defaults.
For more, see Foreclosure Litigation Strategy Takes Aim at Seniors, Attorneys Say (may require subscription; if no subscription, GO HERE, then click the appropriate link for the story).
(1) Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida is a non-profit public interest law firm that provides free legal assistance to qualifying low income persons in South Florida through advocacy, education, representation and empowerment.

Potential For Negative Publicity From Local Media Troubleshooter Gets Lender To Call Off Foreclosure, Giving Homeowner Opportunity To Cure Default On Reverse Mortgage Over Unpaid Property Insurance

In Manassas, Virgina, NBC4 reports:
  • A Virginia homeowner almost lost her home a few years after getting a reverse mortgage because she defaulted on the homeowner’s insurance.

    Becky Williams and her two young sons live with the Manassas homeowner, where Williams serves as the homeowner’s caregiver and power of attorney.

    A few years ago, the homeowner did a reverse mortgage. Williams, who takes care of the bills, thought everything was going OK until she received a foreclosure notice in the mail.

    “This is really going to happen? I mean, can they really do this?” Williams said. “I started calling lawyers, attorneys to find out, and yeah, it was really going to happen.”

    Defaulting on homeowners insurance prompted the foreclosure.

    They quickly sent out a check, Williams said, but it was returned. The auction was already scheduled.

    “This is our home,” Williams said. “You know, she's worked all her life for this house and paid it off, and I'm supposed to be the caregiver and I was really disappointed in myself.”

    NBC4 Responds contacted the companies involved, including Reverse Mortgage Solutions, who said although borrowers are not required to make principal or interest payments, they do have an obligation to pay real estate taxes and property insurance.

    The company can't discuss specific cases out of respect for customers’ confidentiality, however, in a statement to News4, they said, "In the event that these obligations are not met, Reverse Mortgage Solutions works closely with our customers to establish repayment plans or other remedies."

    Williams said they called off the auction and worked with her, and the homeowner kept her house.

Sleazy Loan Servicer Seeks To Drive Elderly Couple Into Phony Technical Default On Reverse Mortgage By Twice Filing Foreclosure Actions Claiming They Vacated Their Home; Victim: "We Can't Afford To Fight Without Help From Legal Aid!"

From a recent story in the South Florida Daily Business Review:

'They Started Saying We Didn't Live here'
  • Deerfield Beach retiree Mary Carter and her husband, William, said they never received any [occupancy certification] forms before two unexpected brushes with foreclosure [on their reverse mortgage].

    The Carters had grown accustomed to the visits by lender and loan servicer representatives who would drop by unannounced to verify they still occupied the property as required under the terms of the loan. They were sitting in their carport the last time a reverse mortgage inspector checked up on them.

    Carter, a former elementary school teacher, said her 75-year-old husband would sign any paperwork handed to him at the end of these meetings.

    But the last visit, which set the elderly couple on the path to two separate foreclosure suits for non-occupancy, was different. This time they said the inspector asked them to clear the driveway so he could take a photograph without them. They and a friend visiting from next door complied.

    "He just said we couldn't be in the picture, we had to move, so we all moved out of the way," Carter said. "That's when they started saying we didn't live here."

    What followed stunned the couple: Oklahoma-based Mortgage lender Finance of America Reverse LLC claimed they defaulted on their loan by moving out of the home. "I can't fathom why there would be any indication they weren't occupying the property," said the Carters' attorney, Sarah Barker. "They don't travel out of state. Their things are in the house."

    Finance of America attorneys at Greenspoon Marder declined comment.

    Facing foreclosure in 2013, the Carters were forced to prove residency to dismiss the case. But that victory was short-lived, as an almost identical lawsuit followed within three years.

    "It was the same default reason in the complaint," Barker said. "Through the first lawsuit it was clear the Carters were living there, so we can't understand why the second lawsuit would even be filed. We can't understand why the first one was filed."

    Finance of America filed for foreclosure with a single-count complaint in 2016, calling due more than $119,925 in principal, plus interest, escrow, attorneys' fees and other charges.

    The seniors again beat back that suit, but still fear they'll lose their home.

    "We can't afford to fight without help from Legal Aid," Carter said. "We're worried there's going to be another foreclosure."
Source: Foreclosure Litigation Strategy Takes Aim at Seniors, Attorneys Say (may require subscription; if no subscription, GO HERE, then click the appropriate link for the story).

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Trash-Out Contractor's Maintenance Employee Sues City For False Arrest After Getting Pinched For Mowing Lawn, Changing Locks On Home In Foreclosure; Criminal Charges Dropped One Month After Arrest

In Miami, Florida, Miami New Times reports:
  • Most burglars wouldn't bother cutting the lawn. But on an April day in 2014, that's exactly what raised the suspicions of a woman in one Miami neighborhood. When she saw a strange man cutting the grass outside a home on Southwest Fourth Street, she called the homeowner to let him know.

    A crime scene technician from the Miami Police Department soon showed up to dust the home for fingerprints, which an examiner later used to identify a suspect. Almost one year after the break-in, 25-year-old Alden Chase was arrested on charges of burglary and grand theft.

    But it turns out Chase had a good reason to be at the house that day: He was working for a maintenance company hired by the bank, which had filed to foreclose the home. What's more astonishing, his lawyer says, is that Chase had posted a notice directly on the front window, indicating he'd been there that day to cut the grass, change the locks, and secure the residence.

    Apprised of the mistake, the State Attorney's Office dropped the case. Earlier this month, Chase filed suit against the City of Miami for false arrest.

    "It's unique because of the obviousness of the situation," says his attorney, Michael Garcia Petit. "They were aware there was litigation between the homeowner and the bank. ... If you or I as laypeople, not trained law enforcement, came up and observed this, we'd realize we'd probably want to call the maintenance company and the bank to ascertain whether they'd been on the property."

    The City of Miami attorney's office did not respond to an email seeking comment on the case; in most instances, the office declines to comment on pending litigation.

    Although the charges were dropped about five weeks after Chase's arrest, court records indicate he spent four days in jail before he was able to bond out. His mugshot remains on the internet. As a result of the arrest, Garcia Petit says Chase lost his job and has been hard-pressed to find work.

    "The problem he now encounters with each and every job is it shows that he has been arrested for burglary and grand theft, which is not a real good thing to have on your record," the attorney says.

    While he's still waiting on more documentation, Garcia Petit says he still isn't sure how Miami police could have arrested Chase nearly a year after the burglary without so much as interviewing him or calling the maintenance company's phone number from the notice posted outside the home.

    "Throw common sense out, because common sense doesn't work here," he says. "What happens is they're on autopilot and they don't investigate. ... They arrested him, and I've still got no idea why."

Utah Couple's Brand New Million Dollar Dream Home Turns Into Nightmare As Retaining Wall Failure Triggers Slow Slide Down Hillside; Insurer Says Homeowners Aren't Covered, Homebuilder, City Deny Responsibility, Mortgage Lender Begins Foreclosure On Now-Vacated Premises

In Ogden, Utah, KSL-TV Channel 5 reports:
  • Bennett and Kassie Thurgood's nearly $1 million home came with million-dollar views. "We just love the area," Bennett Thurgood said [], gazing out from the back porch of his now empty "dream home" on Hampton Ridge Drive in Ogden.

    The house was supposed to be the last stop for the Thurgood family.

    "We could retire here and let our kids go to junior high and high school here," Bennett Thurgood said. "(Prior to building) we had the land surveyed, the soil tested, and we relied on the city to inspect it."

    They enjoyed five months in the house before they first noticed the cracks.

    "I basically had a panic attack," Bennett Thurgood said.

    Then, the retention wall below their home failed. In October, fearing for their safety, they moved out.

    For the last three months, the Thurgoods have watched their home slip slowly down the hillside. While they've tried to get help from their insurance company, homebuilder, and city, they say all they got was a feeling of abandonment.

    "It's an empty dream house," Bennett Thurgood said. "It's facing foreclosure. It's financial devastation. I mean, we lost everything."

    His wife, Kassie, visited the site several times a week as the building progressed, but now she doesn't like to come near it. "I can't come up here," Kassie Thurgood said, fighting back the emotion in her voice. "It brings a lot of anxiety."

    The couple turned to their insurance company, which "denied the claim because it's considered settlement," according to Bennett Thurgood.

    "The city, the retention wall builder, the soil tester are all pointing fingers at each other," he said.

    KSL News spoke by phone [] to representatives from the company that built the home. They said they did not build or guarantee the integrity of the retaining wall, and the city of Ogden approved their building permit.

    "We feel like we did our due diligence and now we're here," Kassie Thurgood said. "We would just like our lives back," Bennett Thurgood said. "To be made whole, and be able to move on."

    Moving on may not happen anytime soon. There is an ongoing legal battle between the homeowners, home builder and retaining wall company.

    KSL News also reached out to the city to see of they're going to condemn the property and didn't hear back []. For now, the home sits empty and continues to move.

Couple Forced Into Year Delay In Wedding Plans After Financially Strapped Reception Venue Operator Pocketed $6,400 Check, Then Refused To Refund Cash After Losing Facility In Foreclosure Settlement

In Rio Rancho, New Mexico, the Albuquerque Journal reports:
  • After months of searching, Gladys Olives and Orlando Gonzales thought they’d found the perfect venue for their April wedding reception.

    Club Rio Rancho offered mountain views where they’d pose for wedding photos, ample space for their more than 300 guests and the price was within their budget. So in July, they wrote a check – $6,423 for the facility, staff, food and beverages.

    But in late December, the club closed, leaving Olives and Gonzales out thousands of dollars and scrambling to find a new reception venue. The two filed a lawsuit in 2nd Judicial District Court last week hoping to recover their money from the now defunct club and its owner, Jhett Browne. Browne could not be reached for comment and it is not clear who is representing him.

    “It’s not a good feeling, I’ll tell you that,” Gonzales said. “Especially when it’s a day as important as our wedding.”

    He and his fiancée have postponed their wedding by a year and are relieved that they held off on sending invitations and booking a DJ and photographer. “Now we have to start all over again,” he said.

    He hopes to save over the next few months as business at his landscaping company picks up with warmer weather.

    “I’m trying to sympathize with the owner, I’m a business owner myself,” Gonzales said. “But when I think about it, I think he had to probably have known. He knew he was possibly taking my money without honoring our deal.”

    So far, according to the lawsuit, Browne has “refused to refund” Gonzales, 32, and Olives, 33, who both live in Rio Rancho.

    According to a deed in lieu of foreclosure, Browne turned over the club and golf course to Southwest Capital Bank in late December, the Rio Rancho Observer reported.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Real Estate Closing Attorney Loses Law License Over Her Failure To Properly Oversee Her Trust Account, Allowing Over $700K In Cash Mostly Intended To Pay Off Existing Mortgages To Be Pilfered Out From Under Her

In Virginia Beach, Virginia, The Virginian-Pilot reports:
  • The law license of a longtime Virginia Beach attorney was revoked this week after she admitted to mishandling more than $700,000 from real estate transactions in which she was the settlement agent.(1)

    Beverly Anne English, who was admitted to the Virginia State Bar in 1984 and had never been disciplined by the organization before, acknowledged the allegations were true and consented to the revocation, according to an order released by the State Bar [last month].

    In an affidavit included with the order, English conceded that she failed to adequately oversee real estate transactions in which she acted as a settlement agent. She also admitted that she did not properly keep tabs on her trust account, which allowed third parties she contracted with to access those funds and “engage in a scheme of embezzlement and fraud.” But she denied any involvement or awareness of the scheme.

    “I did not participate in, assist with, or have knowledge of, any of the embezzlements, and I have reported the suspected responsible parties to law enforcement,” she said in the affidavit.

    The majority of the cases involved mortgages that were not paid off following a real estate transaction, said Senior Assistant Bar Council M. Brent Saunders. The payoffs were supposed to have been made by several title and settlement agencies run by a married couple that English had worked with and had trusted for about 17 years, according to a letter from English’s attorney, Carl Eason.

    The State Bar found no evidence of criminal activity by English, Saunders said.

    “The ethical misconduct on her part arose from her over-reliance on third parties who provided settlement services and acted as disbursement agents in transactions in which she was settlement agent, combined with her failure to provide adequate oversight of real estate closings in which she acted as settlement agent and to reconcile her own trust account for a number of years,” he wrote in an email.

    Neither English nor her attorney could be reached for comment.
Source: Longtime Virginia Beach lawyer loses law license for mishandling settlement money.
(1) The Virginia State Bar established the Clients’ Protection Fund to reimburse persons who suffer a financial loss because of dishonest conduct by a Virginia lawyer, and arising from a lawyer-client relationship or a fiduciary relationship between the lawyer and the claimant. Each petitioner may receive no more than $75,000.00 for losses that occurred on or after July 1, 2015 or $50,000.00 for losses that occurred before July 1, 2015. The claim must be filed within seven years from when the victim knew or should have known about the loss.

For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that sometimes help cover the financial mess created by the dishonest conduct of lawyers licensed in other states and Canada, see:
Maps available courtesy of The National Client Protection Organization, Inc.

Another Real Estate Operator Rolls Dice & Loses, Going To Trial & Being Convicted By Jury For Role In Bid-Rigging Racket At Northern California Public Foreclosure Auctions; Count Now Up To 64 Individuals Either Copping Pleas Or Being Convicted At Trial

From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):
  • A federal jury convicted Thomas Joyce for his role in a conspiracy to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions held in Contra Costa County, California, the Department of Justice announced today.

    After a week-long trial before honorable Chief Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton in Oakland, California, the jury convicted Joyce of one count of conspiring to rig bids at foreclosure auctions between about June 2008 and January 2011. Joyce was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of California on Dec. 3, 2014.

    The evidence at trial showed that Joyce conspired with others to rig bids to obtain properties sold at foreclosure auctions in Contra Costa County. The conspirators negotiated payoffs for agreeing not to compete and then held second, private auctions known as “rounds” to determine the amounts of the payoffs for the individuals who had participated in the bid suppression.

    Including Joyce’s conviction, 64 individuals have either pleaded guilty or been convicted after trial of criminal charges as a result of the department’s ongoing antitrust investigations into bid rigging at public foreclosure auctions in Northern California. Indictments are pending against several other real estate investors who participated in the conspiracy.

    This conviction is the latest development in the division’s ongoing investigation into bid rigging at public real estate foreclosure auctions in California’s San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa and Alameda counties. The investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Office.

    For more information about the task force, please visit Anyone with information concerning bid rigging or fraud related to public real estate foreclosure auctions should contact the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office at 415-934-5300 or call the FBI tip line at 415-553-7400.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Brooklyn Feds Invoke Criminal Forfeiture Laws In Effort To Snatch Convicted Mobster's Home Allegedly Purchased, Renovated With Dirty Cash

In Howard Beach, Queens, New York Post reports:
  • He lost his freedom, and now a convicted mobster might lose his Queens house.

    The US Attorney’s office wants to seize the Howard Beach home of Bonanno soldier Ronald Giallanzo, fresh out of the clink after a year behind bars, according to court papers.

    Giallanzo, who has 17 years in the crime family, made millions managing illegal online sports betting rings, the US Attorney’s Office said in the Brooklyn Federal Court legal filing.

    The 3,500-square-foot house is “nominally” owned by Giallanzo’s wife, Elizabeth, but because Giallanzo used dirty money to “purchase, construct and renovate” the 86th Street property, the government is entitled to take it under criminal forfeiture laws, according to court documents.

    In 2015 Ronald Giallanzo landed in legal hot water after violating the terms of his supervised release by repeatedly meeting with mobsters, including at a Staten Island Christmas party.

    A lawyer for Giallanzo declined comment.
Source: Feds want to foreclose on Bonanno mobster’s house (The government says the home was bought with dirty money).

Investment Adviser Gets 42 Months For Running Fraudulent Commodity Investment Racket; Among 13 Screwed-Over Victims Were Two Homeowners Who Were Talked Into Borrowing Against Their Home Equity & Investing Proceeds With Him

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Central Islip, New York):
  • Daniel Winston LaMarco, a Huntington, New York investment adviser, was sentenced to 42 months in prison and three years of supervised release following his August 2016 guilty plea to wire fraud and commodities fraud. As part of the sentence, LaMarco was also ordered to pay $872,600 in restitution to the investors in a commodity pool he ran which invested in the Foreign Exchange Market.
    Beginning in approximately January 2011, LaMarco began to solicit investors to fund a commodity pool he ran which invested in the Foreign Exchange Market. LaMarco made false claims regarding his investment performance, and touted the safety of his investment strategy.

    Among his victims, LaMarco encouraged two individuals to invest proceeds from a home equity loan with him.

    As part of his fraud scheme, LaMarco sent false monthly statements to investors representing that their investments were growing, inducing new investments from the investors, and discouraging them from withdrawing their investments with him. The monthly statements claimed the investments had more than doubled in value and were worth as much as $1,796,126.22. In truth, LaMarco had lost almost all of the investors’ money, which totaled more than $872,000, in the Foreign Exchange Market.
Source: Long Island Investment Adviser Sentenced To 42 Months In Prison (Defendant Misled Investors About Investment Returns In Foreign Exchange Market Scheme).

Affinity Racket Operator Who Primarily Targeted Financially Distressed Homeowners Of Vietnamese Ancestry For Loan Modification, Mortgage Debt Elimination Ripoffs Gets 57 Months In Federal Prison

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Santa Ana, California):
  • Orange County man who deceived distressed homeowners with false promises that he could help them avoid foreclosure by obtaining modifications to their mortgages – or even completely eliminating their loans – was sentenced today [February 9] to 57 months in federal prison.

    Antonio Marquette, who went by "Alan Le" and "Anthony Le," 56, of Midway City, was sentenced and ordered to repay $875,000 to victims by United States District Judge Andrew J. Guilford.

    Marquette was found guilty in September of nine counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering. After the federal jury returned its verdicts, Judge Guilford remanded Marquette into custody.

    According to the evidence presented at trial, Marquette operated Bolsa Marketing Group in Garden Grove in 2010 and 2011 and charged homeowners up to $100,000 in cash for services that the homeowners did not receive. Through Bolsa Marketing, Marquette ran a scheme that targeted distressed homeowners – most of whom were members of Vietnamese communities in Southern California, the Bay Area and Houston – and induced them to pay large up-front fees to obtain mortgage relief services.

    "This defendant preyed upon vulnerable homeowners desperately trying to avoid foreclosure of their homes," said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. "He used false promises to extract significant fees from his victims, but he provided nothing in return."

    The evidence showed that Marquette operated the scheme by "falsely promising homeowners mortgage loan modifications that would substantially reduce their mortgage payments, avoid foreclosure, or eliminate their mortgage loans entirely." The government contended at sentencing that Marquette took in more than $1.5 million from victim-homeowners.

    As part of the scheme, Marquette made various promises to homeowners, including making guarantees that he could reduce their outstanding debt to 25 percent of the loan balance in only four months. Marquette also sent fraudulent checks to "pay off" mortgages and filed bogus documents with county recorders’ offices, according to court documents.

    "Vulnerable homeowners are targeted by affinity schemes such as the one operated by Mr. Marquette, who made false promises via radio advertisements, a tactic which tends to add a veneer of legitimacy to any scheme," said Deirdre Fike, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Soaring Housing Prices, Salivating Real Estate Developers Drive Extinction Of Palm Beach County Mobile Home Parks, Leaving Lot-Leasing Homeowners Feeling Squeezed-Out

In Jupiter, Florida, the Palm Beach Post reports:
  • Mobile home parks are the Florida panthers of Palm Beach County.

    Once thriving and common, the parks were a dream come true for regular Joes. The average working person or retiree could afford to buy or rent one and live comfortably in one of the quirky named parks like Yogi By the Sea in Juno Beach or Maralago Cay in Lantana.

    Last [month's] tornado brought into focus how that lifestyle may be headed toward extinction. As developers buy up mobile home parks and north county’s housing prices soar, affordable mobile home parks may not be around much longer.

    That’s what several Juno Beach Condo mobile home park residents off U.S. 1 told me as they sifted through their torn off roofs and busted windows. Still, despite the damage, they aren’t budging.

    “I like it here. My friends are here,” 83-year-old Marthe Savard-Stranix lilted in her French-Canadian accent as she put her groceries away in her tidy kitchen after the storm. A blue tarp was on her roof and her carport was smashed by the 80-mile-per-hour winds.

    Like the panthers running out of open land, these folks are seeing the mobile home parks vanish to higher-density development.


    The parks are on big pieces of land. They are on main roads. They have existing entry/exits. The infrastructure — drainage, electric, water — is in place. Some have boat docks. The zoning usually is commercial or multi-family, which is what the developers need.

    When Ocean Breeze townhouses replaced the Floridian mobile home park in Juno Beach a few years ago, urban planners call it infill development.

    To the family whose home is snatched away, it’s called “Hey, what happened to my affordable housing?”
    So who is to blame for this vanishing dream?

    Bashing developers is too easy. They go where the money is.

    The government tries to help. Florida offers mobile home moving expenses up $6,000. But that’s not much in Palm Beach County.

    The mobile home owners have painted themselves into a corner. Many live in units built long before Hurricanes Jeanne and Frances, even Andrew, brought stronger building codes. The homes, like the ones in Juno Beach, get their roofs torn off and windows smashed when storms hit.

    And many only own their mobile homes. They rent the lot. When the park sells, [...], they get evicted. Many end up just walking away, because those old mobile homes are too old to move.

    Like the panther, these residents are running out of places to live.

Sold Out From Under Them: County's Once-Secret Plan To Boot Low-Income, Lot-Leasing Homeowners From Recently-Purchased Mobile Home Park Hits Unexpected Snag As Legal Aid Group, State AG Step In, Initiate Separate Probes Into Possible Fair Housing Violations

In Ellensburg, Washington, The Seattle Times reports:
  • Every fall since 1923, hordes of people enter the Kittitas County Fairgrounds in the town of Ellensburg to watch bulls toss riders off their backs and cowboys wrestle steers to the ground.

    Just a block away is a 3.5-acre plot of land that could someday add value to the annual rodeo and county fair, the biggest attractions in this agricultural and college town east of the Cascade Mountains. The Kittitas County Board of Commissioners purchased the plot in September for $1.45 million with a plan to convert it into an RV park for visitors.

    But to execute that vision, county commissioners will ultimately need to evict about 100 people — including 50 children — who live in the skinny, rundown mobile homes that constitute the Shady Brook Mobile Home Park.

    The land sale launched a protracted standoff between Shady Brook’s residents, who are low-income and mostly Latino, and county officials who appear to have misjudged the residents’ ability to fight back.

    Shady Brook’s residents responded to the prospect of losing their biggest investment — mobile homes, many of which are too old to survive a tow to a different park — by forming a homeowners association and hiring attorneys to represent them as a group. Now they are prepared to file a lawsuit to keep their community intact.

    Meanwhile, county officials are facing questions over how they intend to help Shady Brook residents relocate in an area that suffers from a shortage of affordable housing.

    The affair has drawn the attention of the state Attorney General’s Office, which notified county officials in May that its investigators were examining the possibility that the officials had violated state and federal laws concerning fair housing.
    David Morales, a Northwest Justice Project(1) attorney who represents the homeowners association at Shady Brook, said he still plans to file a lawsuit against the county. He said the county has violated the Fair Housing Act because closing the park will “have a disproportional impact on low-income people of color.”

    “Residents are still concerned because they have no place to live in five years,” he said. “Most are well-rooted in Ellensburg.”

    The residents of Shady Brook rely on each other to baby-sit their kids, loan money, translate documents and drive neighbors to appointments. At least eight men in the park work at Anderson Hay & Grain, a big local employer that exports world-renowned timothy hay to countries like Japan. Several others prepare and package frozen vegetables at Twin City Foods, another local employer, or seasonally pick apples, cherries and pears.

    While most of those who own mobile homes at Shady Brook pay $325 a month for the space or lot, apartments of similar size rent for triple that in Ellensburg, according to a federal fair market rent report.

    Margarita Gomez, who sometimes watches the neighborhood kids while their parents work, said the eviction, regardless of when it comes, is not fair.

    “Families have four or five kids and it’s not easy for a family to find a new home because it’s more expensive,” Gomez said.

    Although county officials say they had no intention of quickly evicting Shady Brook’s residents, records show that wasn’t the original plan when they started negotiations to buy the property.

    The Seattle Times obtained documents and emails through public records requests that show county officials initially demanded in 2015 that the park’s then-owners, Jerry and Diane Barton, evict Shady Brook’s tenants and dispose of the mobile homes before closing the sale.
For more, see Mobile-home park’s residents left in dark as homes are sold out from under them (Neighbors in a low-income, mostly Latino mobile-home park are fighting Kittitas County’s surprise plan to evict them. Now the state is investigating).
(1) Northwest Housing Project is a publicly funded legal aid program that provides civil legal assistance and representation to low-income people throughout Washington State in cases affecting family safety and security, housing preservation, protection of income, access to health care, education and other basic needs.

Lot-Leasing Homeowners In 12-Unit Mobile Home Park Freeze Annual Rent Increases By Buying Out Motivated, Retirement-Minded Landlord; Assistance From Non-Profit Groups Used To Orgainize Residents, Conduct Pre-Purchase Feasibility Study, Score Needed Financing

In Brandon, Vermont, VTDigger reports:
  • It’s easy to miss Triangle Court mobile home park on Route 7 south of Brandon village. The 12-unit development has few distinguishing features. There’s no sign to greet you. Even Triangle Court Road, a cul-de-sac that abuts dozens of acres of woodland to the east, is unmarked.

    In many respects, Triangle Court is like most other mobile home parks in Vermont — with one crucial difference. In April residents of the park decided to buy the property and turn it into a cooperative.

    It wasn’t the first time Triangle Court had been put on the market. Residents had expressed an interest in purchasing the park over the years, but had never been able to come up with the resources to do so. And the would-be seller, Beverly Lent, who bought the land with her husband more than 30 years ago, was unable to find an outside buyer.

    So she stayed on, and each year raised the lot rent 4 percent. Under state law a mobile home park owner can increase the rent by that amount without providing justification.

    Jerry Calsetta, a plumber who purchased a home in Triangle Court 18 years ago, said that when he moved in lot rents were $200. The year before it became community-owned, rents were nearly twice that.

    “By owning, we determine what we want to charge for rent,” Calsetta said.

    In the first year of community ownership lot rents went down about $13. But the co-op model is about more than saving money, Calsetta said. It gives residents the power to manage their own affairs and make improvements to the development. Perhaps most important, it guarantees that the property won’t be sold and liquidated without full membership approval.

    Though a new owner would be required by state law to give 18 months’ notice before closing the park, residents would have no way of fighting or reversing that decision.

    “They don’t see that risk generally until it’s too late,” said Paul Bradley, founding president of Resident Owned Communities, USA.(1) “Those are the worst phone calls of all.”


    Vermont has some protections in place for residents of mobile home parks. Private owners wanting to sell a park have to notify the state, which gives residents 45 days to decide if they want to pursue cooperative ownership. Residents then have an opportunity to assess whether there’s enough interest among members and financial support to buy the property.

    “If they’re not invested as a group, it’s not going to work,” said Annik Paul, of the Cooperative Development Institute, a group that assists residents interested in cooperative ownership.

    Jonathan Bond, director of the mobile home program at the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, said resident ownership is not always met with enthusiasm. “It’s a big leap of faith residents take,” Bond said. “In some instances there may not be anyone living in the park who is comfortable stepping up in that way.”

    However, if a majority of the members of a community agree to move forward, they are given 120 days to evaluate the condition of the property and make a final decision.

    In this case the Cooperative Development Institute(2) secured $10,000 in grant money to conduct an engineering assessment of the water, sewer and electrical systems. Meanwhile, residents of the park had a series of meetings to make sure everyone was on board.

    Calsetta said there were a lot of questions and people were initially skeptical, but in the end all the tenant homeowners agreed to participate. (A mental health agency that occupied a lot declined to participate and has vacated the property. Lent, the seller, has since died.)

    The membership fee is $100 and refundable if a homeowner decides to sell. Any new residents are required to become members.

    According to the CDI’s Paul, there was another buyer in the wings so they had to move quickly. The engineering study showed no major investments in the property were needed, and the CDI was able to secure the loan to buy the property.

    Calsetta, who as board president acknowledged there is a lot of work involved in managing the co-op, said residents have already begun to see the benefits. They plan to improve the gravel road, which hasn’t been upgraded in years. Lot rents may continue to decline. And residents now own the land they live on.

    “We want everybody to feel like this is their home,” Calsetta said. “That they can take pride in ownership.”


    Vermont has 11 resident-owned mobile home parks, and nationwide the movement has seen rapid growth. According to ROC USA’s Bradley, there are about 1,000 mobile home park co-ops around the country. ROC USA itself has worked with 195 communities in 14 states. ...
For more, see Mobile home park residents take ownership of their fate.
(1) ROC USA, LLC is a non-profit organization with a mission of making quality resident ownership possible nationwide by helping lot-leasing mobile home owners form co-operatives to buy their manufactured home communities or “mobile home parks” from their landlords.

(2) Cooperative Development Institute provides direct technical assistance (ie. communication, training, and facilitation) for co-ops of all kinds and at all stages of development throughout New England and New York. Among other programs, one CDI program is designed to assist residents of manufactured homes in New England gain ownership over their communities.

Developer Buys Aging Mobile Home Park From Bankrupt Landlord, Then Tells Over 50 Lot-Leasing Homeowners, Residents To Start Planning To Pack Bags & Make Way For New Construction

In Fredericksburg, Virginia, The Free Lance Star reports:
  • The holidays were hard for Ruby Alsop. When the turkey came out of the oven on Thanksgiving and when tinsel went up on the Christmas tree, her heart fell a little bit knowing each milestone brought her a little closer to eviction from the only home she has ever known.

    Alsop is one of more than 50 residents of the Fredericksburg Trailer Park off U.S. 1 across from Cowan Crossing who will soon be evicted. Last summer, the park’s former owner declared bankruptcy and the Silver Cos. purchased the property for $1.45 million. The developer plans to turn the park property into a commercial center.

    The routine business transaction has been devastating for residents like Alsop, who has battled a myriad of health problems that date back to 2008. She had to have her legs amputated last year and was coping with that diagnosis when she received her eviction notice.

    “I thought I had a stroke,” she said. “To be told I can’t stay in my home by no fault of my own. I had no part in why we have to leave. I paid my bills. There’s just no affordable housing out there.”
    Jud Honaker, president of commercial development for the Silver Cos., said there’s no firm date for residents to leave yet. He said the company is trying to give the residents as much time as possible.

    “It’s tough,” he said. “The trailers have been there a long time and many don’t meet current codes. From a safety standpoint it’s probably best for residents to leave.” He said that by April or May, he should be in a position to put forth a development plan.
    A 2014 HDAdvisors report says 53 percent of manufactured home households receive government assistance, and that while trailers are an affordable path to home ownership, owners are often burdened by high interest loans and other financial barriers that make wealth building difficult.

    Unlike most mobile home parks, the Fredericksburg Trailer Park is in an urban environment, near public transportation and groceries.

    Mobile home parks in urban areas have been in decline for decades as few new parks are permitted and existing parks are gradually being replaced as rising land costs support denser development,” the report said. “Negative perceptions of parks by urban planners and policy makers have fueled this trend.”

    Still, manufactured homes remains the largest subsidized form of affordable housing in the country, the report said.

Local Officials Announce Plans To Close Town-Owned Mobile Home Park; Low Income, Lot-Leasing Homeowners Face Having To Abandon Their Investments If They Can't Relocate Aging, Nearly Impossible-To-Move Trailers

In Faro, Yukon, CBC News reports:
  • After living in the Yukon for 20 years, Darrell Rieger decided to settle in Faro because it's quiet, remote and cheap to live in.

    He bought an aging mobile home, situated in the municipally-owned trailer park.

    But Rieger says now his future — and that of the six or so other occupants of the trailer park — is uncertain because the town has plans for the site of the trailer park.

    "They want to move the trailers out and expand that trailer park into an RV park, to promote tourism," Rieger told the CBC. He said the town has offered each homeowner $5,000 to cover the costs of electrical upgrades and hookup, once the trailers are moved. But he said that amount won't go far.

    "Knowing the way things are today, and costs of labour and electricians, I can't see $5,000 covering it."

    Reiger added that's just a fraction of the costs the trailer owners would incur by moving.

    "We'd be left with the costs of moving the trailers ourselves, and then the setup, with skirting and all of the hookups and landscaping, and any additions would have to be moved and set back up. It would be an enormous cost for all of us in there to be moved."

    Rieger said moving would be a huge financial hardship for people who don't have a lot of money, saying that is why they're living in mobile homes in the first place.

    Older trailers will fall apart if moved, says owner.

    He said several of the trailers are so old (he estimates some date from the 1970s) that they'll simply fall apart if moved.

    "Our trailers won't even survive the move. They would be junked, and we may as well throw the keys in and just walk away. And we'd lose our homes and every investment we had in there."

    Rieger suggests an alternative: the town should allow the mobile home owners to buy the land their homes sit on, and place the RV park elsewhere.

    He said that would allow the trailer owners to borrow money to either upgrade their homes, or to tear them down and build small houses.

    Meanwhile, the Town of Faro says it won't evict the mobile home owners but it does intend to close the trailer park and turn it into an RV park for tourists.

    The town's chief administrative officer Ian Dunlop said the town is willing to work with trailer park residents.
For more, see Faro mobile home owner fights town's plans to relocate trailer park residents (Town of Faro plans to close trailer park to create RV park for tourists).