Alamosa News | Century Mobile Home Park for Sale
ALAMOSE – More than 100 individuals and families – many of whom are vulnerable, live on low incomes and have children – received news two weeks ago that could turn their lives upside down, costing them the homes they bought and paid for and ultimately leaving them with nowhere else to live.
“The situation could be very devastating,” says Dawn Melgares, executive director of the San Luis Valley Housing Coalition, in an exclusive interview with the valley mail.
It all started with a letter from San Juan Vista, LLC of Las Vegas, Nevada, owners of Century Mobile Home Park, located at 17th Street and State Avenue in Alamosa. Delivered on July 20, the 148 residents of the mobile home park have been notified that the property is sold. According to the notice – also sent to the city of Alamosa – the owners received an offer from an undisclosed buyer to purchase the property for $6.8 million. In liquid.
For perspective, Melgares cites another Alamosa mobile home park that was sold in 2021 where SLV Housing Coalition advocated for residents. This park had 60 spaces and was sold for $1.9 million. According to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs website (https://cdola.colorado.gov/mobile-home-park-resources), Century Mobile Home Park has 148 homes, 104 of which are owned by the people who live there.
“We were shocked by the offer made to owners of Century Mobile Home Park,” she says. “It’s about two and a half times larger than the park that sold in 2021, but sells for three and a half times what the other buyer paid.”
Of the 104 individuals and families living in Century who own their homes, many were built before 1972. But ownership of their homes does not include ownership of the land the home is on, putting people at risk that the land is literally sold. from below them.
The inhabitants of the park are not without rights. Thanks to the 2020 Colorado Mobile Home Parks Act, San Juan Vista is prohibited from contacting residents for the first thirty days after notification of the pending sale, allowing residents time to be notified. of these rights and to consider the next steps to be taken.
The legislation also gives owners the right to form a Resident Owned Community (ROC) and make an offer to purchase the property. But becoming a qualified ROC comes with stipulations.
More than 50% of park owners must agree to become a ROC or assign their right to purchase the park to a nonprofit or federal entity. But they only have 90 days from the date of notification – in this case, mid-October – to go through this process, which is complicated. Residents also only have until mid-October to secure financing for any bid they would make. If they can, the current park owner is required by law to negotiate
“I think the $6.8 million figure will be difficult for residents to understand,” Melgares says.
Securing private funding is a possibility, and Melgares says the SLV Housing Coalition and other groups are currently trying to pursue different avenues. But funding in similar situations usually comes from a different source.
“Following the path required to become an ROC often requires government funding,” says Melgares. “Government funding places limits on who can and cannot reside in the park. So even if they go through everything to become an ROC, these limitations could impose other hardships on people and many of these people have children. It’s a very tight timeline and it’s hard to do. But it’s done. And not trying could potentially be devastating to the park.
If residents decide not to continue Century Mobile Home Park as a resident-owned community, the new owner has the freedom to charge more for rent and fees, such as water, utilities, and maintenance. . Legally, the landlord can only increase the rent once a year. But there is no cap on the amount of this increase.
Again, Melgares cites the Alamosa mobile home park which was recently sold.
At the time of the sale, the rent was $290. This amount was immediately increased to $385, not including fees.
“A lot of people who live in this park are older and on social security. I spoke to three different people who had to go back to work just to pay the higher rent and fees. And now the rent is about to rise again. With the added fees, these residents will likely have to pay around $700 a month. Mobile homes are becoming unaffordable.
All of these factors are based on a scenario where the buyer continues to use the land for a mobile home park. But what if the plan is to develop the land for a different use?
If that were to happen, the Mobile Home Parks Act 2020 requires the landlord to give residents 12 months to move their home to another park.
But moving a mobile home is another potentially devastating part of the story.
It costs an average of $10,000 to move a mobile home, not including deposits in new park and utility connection fees. Even though residents have the money to move, there are no local movers.
Mobile homes are not always so mobile and moving them, especially if they are older, can be risky. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, houses dating back to 1976 do not meet safety regulations and should not be moved, even a short distance.
There are also a very limited number of mobile home parks with spaces available. Even if the residents’ homes weren’t forty-five or fifty years old, even if they had thousands of dollars to move and there were local movers to do it, there was no place where to move.
In this scenario, residents would just have to walk away from the homes they bought and paid for.
“A lot of people who live in mobile home parks are immigrants or just out of the justice system,” Melgares says. “Owning their own home gave them a sense of security. But if they can’t move and stay where they are, they lose everything they own. All that security is gone. It is very devastating.
Much is still unknown but, fortunately, the locals are not alone in facing this challenge. Dawn Melgares and the SLV Housing Coalition, along with several other organizations, are holding a meeting to inform residents of their rights, answer questions and explain the different options.
This meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 10 at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Boyd School Gymnasium, 1107 Hunt Avenue in Alamosa. Spanish-speaking translators will be available and Melgares said they are currently working on providing childcare services during the meeting. Anyone needing additional information about the meeting should call the SLV Housing Coalition at (719) 587-9807.
This is a developing story and more information on the Century Mobile Home Park sale will be reported as information becomes available.