Seniors at Plainville mobile home parks heading to court over sale of properties
PLAINVILLE, Mass. (WLNE) - A group of senior citizens in Plainville are trying to purchase their mobile home parks that are up for sale.
Brookside Village and Sunset Acres are being sold after decades in business, as their owner wants to retire.
The residents at the senior communities are concerned that the new buyer will raise their rent, so they're stepping in to try and purchase the properties themselves.
"We've decided we'd like to buy the property. We own the buildings, we own the homes, so we're buying the actual lots," said Charles Smith, a resident of Brookside for the past six years.
Smith said the residents have formed an association, and want to purchase the land and manage it themselves, keeping it affordable housing. He said their rent fees would go into one account that would pay the mortgage and upkeep.
"We could either have somebody raise the rents or we could be evicted. We're trying to prevent that," said Smith.
The Arizona-based company, Legacy Communities LLC, is the interested buyer. Their COO Andrew Fells said to us in a statement that they plan to go through with the sale.
"There is a great deal of misinformation being shared with the residents about Legacy Communities and our plans for Sunset and Brookside. This is unfortunate as most of the information carries no legitimacy, yet only portrays a negative connotation of a very professional and cooperative company," Fells said in an emailed statement.
According to Massachusetts state law, tenants get the first right of purchase. Smith says they weren't offered that, and now they're bringing the matter to court.
"We're standing up for ourselves, our rights, we're speaking out, and hopefully when we go and see the judge, he'll hear us."
Smith said they've presented their case to the town, and have asked that rent control is imposed in case the sale goes through with Legacy. He said the company recently bought a mobile home park in South Attleboro and according to Smith, immediately raised rents.
"Many live on a fixed income, and they're relying on, some, on strictly their social security," Smith said about the park's elderly residents.
Carmen Lamoureux, a resident of Brookside, moved to the park three years ago after being evicted from her former mobile home park in North Attleboro. The site is now a shopping center.
"It's horrible because you don't know where to go, you can't move your mobile home. At our age, it was very stressful," said Lamoureux.
Fells said the company plans to sit down with the resident to negotiate a mutually acceptable occupancy agreement, and will eventually offer the residents to purchase the properties down the line.
"As part of our negotiations/discussions with the residents and/or their HOA board, in regards to a mutually acceptable occupancy agreement, Legacy intends to offer the purchase of the respective communities (date certain) to the residents," Fells wrote.
Legacy owns and operates seventeen mobile home parks, and said they look forward to growing in the Northeast.
"We understand these communities and the residents who live there."
The residents plan to go before the state's housing court in Brockton Thursday morning.
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