“I hope the city of San Jose will opt to protect vulnerable mobilehome park residents from preemptive evictions and not submit to the devious and greedy manipulations of the park owner. I live in San Juan Capistrano and our strong supportive city council opted to protect their MH residents (on a different issue, but relating to abuses of MH residents by Park owners). SJC City Council is a strong example of doing what is right to protect their residents and to preserve affordable housing,” said Carol Brinkman.
“The city of San Jose is closely monitoring mobile home evictions after complaints came from residents saying they are getting pushed out for minor infractions,” said KPIX 5 out of San Jose, California.
Last summer, Karen Carpenter reportedly received an eviction notice from the Winchester Ranch manufactured home community (MHC) where she has lived for six years. The reasons cited by management?
“Minor clutter, some old paint cans and some weeds,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter told the CBS News affiliate that she was ill last summer and didn’t get outside to work during her first “seven day notice.” But she pointed out in the video report to KPIX 5 where those items were, in her back yard, masked from the street.
“I just can’t believe that I’m going to be possibly evicted over some weeds and old paint cans,” said Carpenter.
The community manager’s did not comment for the CBS affiliate’s mainstream media (MSM) report. But it was noted that Winchester Ranch is in the process of redeveloping into a large apartment complex, which will have “nearly 700 units.”
To Carpenter, her eviction notice for a relatively minor infraction is not a coincidence.
“They are going to be developing the park, and the first phase is right where I am sitting. That’s my only guess as to why they are singling me out,” she said.
Carpenter hired an attorney and is fighting eviction. The issue is getting attention at San Jose City Hall. In December 2018, the Housing Commission reportedly wrote a memo to the mayor Sam Liccardo and City Council, warning of possible preemptive evictions for minor infractions at mobile home parks in San Jose.
The memo stated there could be attempts to avoid provisions of the city’s MHC conversion ordinance, “which guarantees mobile home residents extra time, monetary compensation and other benefits if a park converts to another use,” said KPIX 5.
Carpenter doesn’t have a mobile home, based upon the visual evidence, it is a manufactured home. But doesn’t episodes like this feed into negative stereotypes that are arguably harming residents and most industry professionals alike, not just in San Jose, but nationally?
The city’s investigation memo noted that the land San Jose manufactured home communities are built on have “become so valuable that it creates an incentive for park owners to convert the property into other more profitable uses.” This is among the reasons that the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has argued for a robust application of existing laws, such as enhanced preemption made law under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.
It is also why MHARR – an independent producers association – has encouraged the creation of new post-production associations, so that new structures can advocate for what the Manufactured Housing Institute and their allies apparently won’t.
City Officials Vows to Monitor, Investigate
“We are going to monitor any housing issue that is brought to our attention,” said Rachel VanderVeen, Deputy Director of the San Jose Housing Department. Housing officials say they don’t have any active cases of abuse of the mobile home conversion ordinance at this time.
Manufactured home industry professionals should understand that just as associations and industry firms may share cross talk, so too do public officials. So an event in San Jose should not be considered as an isolated concern.
Meanwhile, Carpenter will have her day in court. “If I lose, I will have to move out within 5 days,” said Carpenter. The CBS affiliate closed their report by saying, “She doesn’t have firm plans on where to go if that happens and she is afraid of becoming homeless.” Is that the image of insecurity that will draw potentially millions of prospects to manufactured home communities and retail ceners?
This episode may not represent the majority of the industry’s independent or corporate owners. But just as the Millie Francis – Our Lady of Guadalupe art controversy is rocking ROCs, and communities – so too will this story and others like it have ripple effects that will impact not only those who spark the report, but also those who happen to share the same profession. That’s MH “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” ## © (News, analysis, and commentary.)
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