And now an update about a story we brought you in November… The owner of a mobile home park in Orange County has answered cries from a New York state senator and the park’s tenants about a rent increase.
State Senator James Skoufis says the property owner of Silver Stream Manufactured Home Community in New Windsor has withdrawn an alleged unlawful rent increase. The Democrat from the 39th district says President of RHP Properties Joel Brown recently flew to New York and met with him in his Orange County office.
“We sat down. I discussed at greater length what some of my concerns were specific to the rental increase and the new housing laws that are in place here in New York state,” Skoufis says. “And the president, at the meeting, did the right thing and lowered the 5 percent and change rent increase to the lawful 3.0 percent increase.”
Skoufis gathered with tenants at Silver Stream Village November 14, contending that the 5.3 percent increase violated the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act enacted in July. The law caps mobile home lot rent increases at 3 percent, barring extenuating circumstances such as a significant property tax increase. Following his event at Silver Stream, Skoufis learned of a similar rent increase in store for RHP’s Washingtonville Manor Manufactured Home Community. He says the new 3 percent increase applies to Washingtonville Manor as well.
“This is a great Christmas or Hanukkah gift for the people who live in these two mobile home parks,” Skoufis says.
In a statement, RHP’s Brown says, “After collaborating with Senator Skoufis, we believe it is in everyone’s best interest – especially our residents – to enact a three percent rent increase at this time.” He says RHP will continue to provide a high level of service and quality lifestyle to its residents. Tenants own the homes and rent the lots.
“Anyone who’s followed my work over the past seven years in the legislature knows that I’m not one to shy away from taking a fight public. And I find that to sometimes be an effective tool,” says Skoufis. “And, in this case, it certainly worked out for the best.”
Several of the residents of the 138-lot Silver Stream Village are on fixed incomes, including Yvonne Maldonato, who spoke in November while facing the more than 5 percent rent increase. She says when she moved there at the end of August 2016 her lot rent was $695. Now, it’s close to $1,000.
“I’m not only advocating for myself, I’m advocating for the whole community because I’m not the only one that lives here, okay. All these families here live here, okay,” Maldonato says. “They cannot, they do not get a lease that they can understand. They get a lease in English; 90 percent of the park are Hispanic.”
Skoufis says RHP took over Silver Stream in late 2017.
“So RHP indicated they would be sending out a letter to the tenants, I believe, this week, if I’m not mistaken,” Skoufis says. “And my office and I, we have communicated to sort of the leaders of these two mobile home parks, the tenant leaders the good news as well.”
Both 3 percent increases are set to take effect on January 1.