UMH Properties (NYSE: UMH) celebrated its 50th anniversary at the New York Stock Exchange last week, including ringing the closing bell.
At the same time, a Nashville publication that had previously offered the company praise was telling a very different story.
According to the Tennessean, residents at UMH owned properties Holiday Village and Shady Hills in East Nashville say that they have been bullied, hit with fines, and then evictions.
The residents, who happen to be Latino, argue the evictions are discriminatory.
“People really are being targeted,” said Erin Coleman, a Nashville-based lawyer who has been advocating for the residents.
“It brings to light how we in America keep poor people poor.”
UMH says that they have done nothing that’s against the law.
“Race, or any other protected class, is never a factor in any of UMH’s landlord practices,” said UMH company spokesman Ken Frydman.
“UMH strives to provide quality affordable housing. Enforcement of rules and regulations is necessary to maintain quiet and peaceful communities for all residents.”
While community operators and landlords are not required to give a reason to month-to-month tenants by law, Frydman shared that at least five of the families evicted were in violation of community rules and regulations, including animal cruelty, drug possession, illegal poultry farming, illegal subleasing and refusals to fix or remove non-operating cars.
The article from the Tennessean appears to be a copycat of a well publicized broadcast and published article from NPR entitled, “With Few Legal Protections, Nashville Mobile Home Park Residents At Risk Of Losing It All,” (see their article, linked here), which MHProNews pointed out had numerous issues and misinformation.
Many manufactured home professionals and homeowners believe that they are pushing an agenda, and ignoring facts that contradict their narrative.
This proves problematic for the Tennessean, who in December published a positive article on UMH growth in Nashville, in which residents of UMH properties pointed to how living there changed their perceptions on manufactured housing.
“I was just thinking of trailer trash and it just wasn’t for me,” said Shady Hills resident Frankie Robinson.
“I like having neighbors who visit each other and care for their homes at Shady Hills.”
“It’s a community of mobile homes [sic] and the people who live there. It’s become a neighborhood.”
Some Shady Hills residents say that they are being unfairly targeted because they have older homes, and with the demand for housing UMH is kicking them out and making a profit by doing so.
“All the people getting kicked out are the ones who own the trailers [sic],” said resident Jiovanny Fructuoso.
“They said it’s ‘for the good of the community.’ Well, what’s wrong with me?”
“For every new trailer [sic] you see, someone was evicted,” said resident Victor Magadon, pointing at new manufactured homes in the community.
Per the Tennessean, Magadon, his wife and their five children received an eviction notice that said they had 30 days to move their home and vacate the premises.
In comments on the NPR story, UMH Sam Landy says that quality has dramatically improved at Shady Hills and Holiday Village.
“UMH has improved the lives of well over 1,000 manufactured home residents in the Nashville area. We have significantly upgraded communities,” said Landy to MHProNews.
“Our residents overwhelmingly support the companies actions.”
Landy also said UMH is preparing a detailed response to the NPR and Tennessean articles about their Nashville locations. MHProNews will provide our readers with that response as soon at it is made available.
As Daily Business News readers already know, UMH is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns and operates 98 manufactured home communities (MHCs) in seven states east of the Mississippi, composed of 17,800 developed home sites. ##
(Editor’s note: UMH is one of the manufactured housing industry connected stocks tracked every business day on MHProNews’ Daily Business News
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(Image credits are as shown above.)
RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.