From the Herald-Tribune
By Shannon McFarland
VENICE — A protest planned to take place outside a Saturday auction was canceled after the owners of Bay Indies mobile home park agreed to avoid raising some homeowners’ rents by as much as 22 percent.
Just before 5 p.m. the night before the planned protest, homeowners heard Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties decided to stick with a negotiated 3 percent rent increase for 2013. Homeowners planned to protest outside an auction Saturday as ELS tried to sell 21 vacant homes.
Eleanore Warren, a homeowner who was facing a 19-percent rent increase, from $687 to $820 a month, said although they got the news at the last minute, they were delighted with the agreement.
Families who bought homes there last spring expected to see the 3 percent rent increase next year, but were outraged when they discovered steep increases for 67 new homeowners.
Feeling they were falsely informed about the negotiated increase, residents rallied neighbors who live in the 1,300 homes at Bay Indies, as well as residents of six other ELS-owned mobile home parks in Sarasota and Manatee counties.
“The 67 people felt quite unjustified that this happened to them,” Warren said. “We’re happy for another year.”
At Bay Indies, lot rents cover cable television and lawn, street and recreation maintenance, which may all vary depending on the location or lake views. Residents pay their own insurance and utilities.
Warren said her husband, Allan, was still at the Saturday auction at the clubhouse, but instead of protesting, he was keeping the peace and spreading the word to anyone who had not heard about the agreement.