Barb and I have lived within 25 miles of Bath, Pennsylvania our entire lives. When we bought the manufactured home in July, four years ago, ELS had just become the owner of the land. ELS was not the land owner at that time. I’m the President and Barb is Treasurer of GVHA, our homeowners’ association. We believe in fairness and equality for everyone. That is what motivates us to volunteer more than full time to the association.
Barb has been on disability since the mid 1990’s; it would be disastrous if there were cuts to her SSD check or Medicare. I took early retirement so I could attend to her health problems. If Social Security or Medicare were cut, we’d have to choose between food and medical needs in order to survive: our budget is that tight right now. Our medical costs, even after Medicare and other insurance coverage, is 20 to 25 percent of our income.
Given our fixed income and Barb’s health issues, we felt that the affordability and accessibility offered in manufactured home living suited us well. Of late, we’ve grown disillusioned given how hard it is to work with management and ELS.
Our homeowners association used to have a positive and productive working relationship with management for activity planning and complaint resolution. Then, a resident discussed an issue she was having with management – a $1,200 water bill – at an association meeting. She was being taken to court and asked that some people come to support her. Four of us, my wife and I included, went with her. In retaliation, management had their attorney send us a letter saying that we were in violation of the guidelines for living in our community because we passed out flyers. We’ve seen these letters used as an eviction threat.Management stated that we could not continue to have a working relationship if we allowed residents to discuss issues they are having with management. There is no way that I would allow management to dictate who may have the floor or what we can say at our meetings. Ever since that happened, management has refused to meet with the executive board of the homeowners association.
Management refused any feasible way, like posting notices at the mail station or passing out flyers door to door, to communicate with residents. How were we supposed to function as a homeowners association?
Management being impossible to work with is just the tip of the iceberg. Maintenance has gone downhill since ELS purchased Greenbriar Village in October 2011. It is impossible to get someone from upper management, beyond our park manager, to respond to us at all.
ELS has made it extremely difficult for residents to sell their homes. We are paying as much as $586 a month for lot rent and we pay for water, garbage and sewage as well. They have stolen the equity from our homes. There are people living on $1,100 a month who bought in good faith. More than one half of their income goes for lot rental and housing expenses. That’s unsustainable.
When ELS takes homes because the owners can’t afford the increased lot rent, and are unable to sell their homes because of the high lot rents, ELS takes the homes. They either sell the home and pocket the proceeds or they rent them out. According to the company guidelines, a homeowner is not allowed to rent his or her home. Why is it all right for ELS to rent their homes and not us? (This provides the opportunity for ELS to raise rents beyond the fair lot rental value.)
ELS now has the license and the incentive to take our homes. Is that their strategy, to kick out homeowners and replace us with renters?
We have to take a stand. What are they going to do? Take our worthless houses?