Residents Fear Losing Their Homes, After New Owner Takes Over

By Stephanie Parkinson

November 30, 2012 Updated Nov 30, 2012 at 7:02 PM EDT

Fort Wayne, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) - Residents at a local mobile home park are scared and feel intimidated after new ownership took over the place they call home.

"We don't want anybody coming in here and taking what we have because we worked hard," said Beverly Gick, resident. "I'm 54 years old, and I'm not stupid so don't play me like I'm stupid just because you come from Illinois and think we are, a bunch of trailer trash."

Two weeks ago The Ridgebrook Village and Valley Hills West mobile home parks on Washington Center Road in Fort Wayne were sold. Now residents are being asked to sign a new lease, an acknowledgement agreement to a new set of rules and regulations and an authorization form with either their credit or debit card numbers.

"Them wanting our credit card account to our banks, well no because you can go in there and wipe us all out,” said Gick.

The rules include an 11 p.m. curfew and a $25 per day fine if you don't clean up your dogs waste daily.

"They can sort of automatically drive by your premises and see some sort of a violation and deduct that from your account," said Dave Farnbauch, local attorney.

Beverly has been told if she doesn't sign all of the paperwork by the end of the year she'll be forced to move.

"The difficulty with residents that are confronted with these agreements is that they don't have a lot of options,” said Farnbauch.

For example Beverly says to move her trailer would run her at least $4,000.

"I'm not going to sign the rules; I'm not going to sign this thing they've come up with, no,” said Gick.

Although the new rules seem strict Farnbauch says they would be tough to enforce.

"In my opinion it’s an attempt by a landlord to give a landlord grounds to try to expel somebody from the trailer park,” said Farnbauch.

The owner of the property would only talk to ABC 21 Alive on the phone. He said residents are not forced to give their account information for payment but doing so allows them to get a significantly lower rate. The property owner also says exceptions to some rules can be made if residents reach out to management.

Beverly says she got a different story when she went to the property's office. She also says she has tried to reach out to management but was told the people she needed to talk to were too busy.

"We don't bother anybody, we pay our rent, and we go on with our lives and that's all we want,” said Gick.

Beverly is already in touch with The Volunteer Lawyers program, a group that provides free legal services to low income people.

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