AN EDITORIAL BY FRANK WODLEY, CoMO-LAC PRESIDENT
As an owner, would you feel safe having no fire insurance on your mobilehome? I don’t think so. But I’ll bet many more mobilehomes are lost each year to their respective parks than from fire. And I’d bet, in most instances, residents simply don’t think it possible they could lose their mobilehome. That just defies reason, doesn’t it? Losing a mobilehome, for instance after missing just one rent payment and 3 day notice! That is unbelievable. Wouldn’t that be unethical? My answer is YES, but money is involved!
Believe me it has happened and continues to happen. CoMO-LAC has cases on file. In one case, a resident did not paid his rent on time, received a three day notice, did not paid after the three days, and lost his mobilehome valued at over $100,000.00. He offered to pay two months rent and a late charge the very next month. Management wouldn’t accept it! He eventually had to walk away feeling like he was the bad guy, without receiving anything! The home had been in his family for years. Now it is gone, poof, just like that. Many parks are just waiting for us to “slip up.”
Often times residents don’t want to get involved with an “activist” or tenants’ rights organization. And they will say: “We don’t have to be involved, after all, someone else is protecting our rights (aren’t they?) and we don’t have the time.” There is a negative stigma when one belongs to such an organization! Managers tell residents these organizations are a waste of time and money. They claim organizations use unsubstantiated scare tactics just to get members. After all, what have these groups done for residents in the past? Of course management doesn’t want residents knowing their rights or knowing what’s happening “behind the scenes.” Management plies residents with misinformation. And if that doesn’t work, management will intimidate and harass. Residents are afraid. Afraid what the park can and might do to them. Afraid of 7 day notices, of 14 day notices. Afraid of being evicted. However if residents knew their rights, or someplace to get advice, management couldn’t get away with their many “scams.”
I’ve written this before: “When you purchase a mobilehome, YOU ARE INVOLVED.” Even before you sign on the dotted line, you are involved. The parks have done their homework and know how to get around rent control. Owners and their associations are SMART! Don’t sell them short. And they make money off you and I when they evict us, or we lose our mobilehome. Consider also “passthroughs.”
I’m sure there would be an outcry in the general public, those who own their homes and their land, if they knew THEY could lose their homes after missing one mortgage payment. It would be headline news!
Now let’s compare the costs between fire insurance and joining CoMO-LAC. If you have a computer and will be getting the newsletter by e-mail, the cost to belong to CoMO-LAC is about $0.67 per month! How much does a fire insurance policy cost? Not even close!
I am thankful to all of you who have joined in 2005 and hope you benefit from the newsletter. December is a month for giving. The one thing you can give your friends and neighbors is knowledge. Hand them the coupon for a free newsletter. Make a copy of this Editorial and give it to them. They need a friend and they need to know their rights! The goal of CoMO-LAC is to reach as many mobilehome residents as possible. I see our newsletter becoming our voice state-wide. Please take advantage of this opportunity. The time for excuses is past. If we do not soon get our act together as mobilehome owners, the odds of that ever happening again is nill. CoMO-LAC can and is making a difference. My goal is to continue to tell you like it is. “The truth shall set us free.” All mobilehome owners deserve to know the facts. Thanks for taking the time. We are just beginning! Good things will come in 2006!