Mobile home residents get month’s notice about $700 lot rent increase

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. -- Residents at a West Michigan mobile home park are upset over the sharp increase in lot rent. It's a jump everyone who FOX 17 spoke with says forces them to move.

At the same time, the residents said the costs to move make relocating virtually impossible.

"It was as if we were blind-sided," resident Williams Hays said.

Residents said it's a rumor that turned into a reality at South Haven's Meadowbrook Village. They received a letter in the mail dated August 1st that states their lot rent is going up on September 1st. They said they currently pay $305 for lot rent. Property owner "Special Assets" is increasing lot rent to $1,000.

The Illinois-based company said the increase is for road, water, and septic system improvements. It's a roughly $700 increase everyone FOX 17 spoke with said they can't afford to pay.

Hays questioned, "Why can't we just have more time to put everything together to get out?"

"The fact of having 30 days and people that have lived here for 25+ years have to put all their belongings up and find somewhere to go and most of them are 70+ [years old]. We have a woman who's 95. My stepfather is 93. He has Alzheimer's. She has Parkinson's. We have two people dying of cancer in our park," Hays said.

For those who own their trailer outright or are paying on it, they said the alternative of moving their property is costly.

Dolly Harris said, "It's gonna be at least $7,000 [to move], and that's bearing there's no problem putting it back together."

Harris said she's leaving her garage behind because it's an extra $1,500 dollars to move.

Tina Williams asked, "What are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to come up with the money to split our trailer to relocate it and get our finances in order and still provide for our family?"

Residents showed FOX 17 the owner's new plan for the land they said they obtained through the county.

Harris said, "The plan that we saw of the new park... our lots don't exist."

If and when they're served eviction notices, they said that complicates the process and potentially leaves them in a deeper bind.

Hays said, "Not to be displaced without help or compassion. Ya know, because this was a community to us and they're destroying it which is fine. They own it. They can do what they want. But we are human beings, and we've lived here for a long time. We've paid a lot of money."

To add to the frustration, they said no one will listen or provide any help and that they just keep getting passed around. FOX 17 left a message with property owner "Special Assets" out of Illinois. We have not heard back as of news time.