Mobile Home Parks React to Eviction Changes

8 years 3 days 12 hours ago Tuesday, November 08 2011 Nov 8, 2011 Tuesday, November 08, 2011 12:23:00 PM CST November 08, 2011 in News
By: Jessica Smith
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COLUMBIA - KOMU 8 spoke with more than five trailer park managers Tuesday about the newest changes to Columbia's eviction notice procedures. Under the new ordinance, owners must give mobile home residents 180 days to move out of their homes and give them free rent for the last three months.  After looking at Regency mobile home park, the city council decided to pass the new ordinance.

"It was our intent to show sensitivity to these people and to make sure that the owners of the trailer courts make it easier for these people to find other options," said McDavid.

Most mobile home park managers agreed that extending the time for residents to move out was necessary, but were opposed to the amendment that gives residents free rent for three months.

"I am pleased in one sense that they're giving them a little bit more time to get moved out. But I have to agree, I don't think free rent is the answer," said Judy Sheets, a Stonegate mobile home park employee.

Columbia City Councilman Gary Kespohl fears the amendment will put extra strain on the mobile home park owners, who will still have to pay utilities without any income from the evicted residents.

Mayor Bob McDavid said he's concerned that the amendment isn't even legal.

"We didn't have a whole lot of time to debate it. Frankly, there is concern we're interfering with contract law there. There is an issue whether or not we can mandate that an owner not be paid for a service," said McDavid.

McDavid said the city will continue to look into the legality of forcing landlords to let occupants live on their property for free.

The effects of the new ordinance won't impact Regency mobile home park, but only future mobile home park residents. Residents at Regency say having more time to look for housing would have been helpful, because many are struggling to find a lot in another mobile home park. KOMU 8 spoke with several families whose mobile homes are too old to move or who do not have the money to move to another park.

Many Regency residents have been denied at to move into new mobile home parks throughout Columbia. Most mobile home parks have extensive application processes, and several Regency residents have been denied based on trailer appearance, background check, or credit check results.

"They have to have two years of W2s, three months of pay stubs, and we have to have copies of their identification, a credit and complete background check," said Sheets.  

Mary Kelly, an unemployed Regency resident, said she has been denied at least three times at different mobile home parks.  Colonial Village mobile home park, with less extensive application processes, filled all its available lots once Regency handed out its eviction notices. 

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