City wants to "phase out (my)mobile home park" close down park?


#1

I have a serious concern regarding the city and my mhp. Originally, went to building department to inquire about turning on electricity to a lot we had brought an RV into…but that changed quickly!!
Factors:

  • The park is in a very popular Florida vacation destination
  • 55 permitted spaces, is older, older homes, mostly POH, and with small lots,
  • Originally acquired distressed 5 years ago, improving consistently
  • Active Operating permit and business license, no open code issues
  • Legal, non conforming

Issues:

  • Park sits in the middle 1/3 of a full block the city wants to see redeveloped.
  • Both parcels on either side (1/3 each) were at one time MHP, now both are vacant and have approved zoning changes for new ALF construction
  • One was vacated before I had any interest, the other park was closed down due to multiple, uncorrected code issues. Basically, bad ownership, management.

Concerns:

  • City openly stated they want to phase out mhp
  • Was told they would be sending in code to make sure “we know whats there”

What rights do I have to prevent the future “witchhunt” that is coming.? We run a clean tight park, on site management, full time on site maintenance, back ground checks, security cameras etc, but the majority of the homes are 40+ years, so obviously there are items not up to current codes.

Anyone else have to fight this battle? Any and all feedback would be appreciated.


#2

Yes, and you need an attorney.

David D. Eastman, Esq.
Lutz, Bobo, Telfair, Eastman, Gabel & Lee
2155 Delta Boulevard, Suite 210-B
Tallahassee, Florida 32303
(850) 521-0890
eastman@floridahousinglaw.com


#3

Figure out what you want to sell the park, then double it. Tell the city this is your price to walk away. Otherwise, see you in court.


#4

Thanks Charles and Corbay-

Since they have not actually done anything,it may be premature to call David Eastman? I would be fine selling it at a fair price, although I highly doubt I would get anything close to acceptable, as the city has already shown to “fight dirty” thusly, I do not want to accelerate any confrontation or issues.


#5

If you get an influx of code enforcement violations for a long time also query any federal discrimination laws the city could be bending as part of your legal narrative.


#6

JHutson,

Thank you- your input is appreciated, looks like an unsettling battle ahead.


#7

It’s never too early to speak with an attorney. It doesn’t mean he needs to get involved right away in speaking with the city but he is the best person to answer your questions about what rights you have and can better guide you through how to work with the city going forward.


#8

We have a client going through this with one of his communities as well. It is very winnable with the recent changes in the federal Fair Housing Letters of Advisement.

CharlesD is giving you some very good advice and has given you the name of a very good attorney for this situation. You should listen to him.


#9

Thanks to all… Will be calling David Eastman today. I would be very interested in the outcome of anyone going through a similar situation.


#10

I’ve been through a similar situation in the last 6 months - not as dramatic as yours where they outright said they want to “phase out” the park. But after we purchased and began cleaning up and improving a very bad park in a verrryyyy good neighborhood - we started getting static from both sides - badly behaved and non-paying residents who didn’t want to shape up, and a city who clearly didn’t want this park there. A 5 star municipal lawyer changed the city’s attitude right quick - and a good eviction lawyer helped win even the toughest eviction cases.


#11

Additional things I’ve learned George:

1 - City code officers, fire inspectors AND even city attorneys may all try to overreach and play games. They may ask questions they have no right to get an answer to. They likely do NOT know the law as it applies to mobile home parks (the ones here didn’t).

2 - Do not become ridden with anxiety - that will not help. You will win this fight if it’s coming but unfortunately you will probably have to get a bit dusty (or your lawyer will) before a city will back off if they have ignorant people who are misinformed and think they can shut down a clean running park.

3 - Be very very nice until that doesn’t work and then get very, very nasty and aggressive - through your lawyer of course.

4 - Document EVERYTHING. Send all communications through email - let the idiots build themselves a paper trail of stupid comments and questions to hang themselves with. If Florida is a one party consent state WRT recording - ALWAYS “wear a wire” aka a recording device when you speak with gov’t.

5 - Buy a bunch of battery powered Arlo Pro 2 and Arlo Go motion detecting video cameras NOW and pepper the park with them. Be sure to post the “video recording” signs and don’t violate privacy laws. The cameras are there only for your use of course to look for vandalism etc. IF THOSE CAMERAS HAPPEN TO CATCH NOSY INSPECTORS HOUNDING YOUR RESIDENTS OR YOU OVER AND OVER - SO BE IT.

Use video clips and timelines of communications with city officials to build a nasty picture of their behavior to use as a weapon if you have to later.

But really - just follow your lawyer’s advice.


#12

Ivan,

GREAT advice, thank you. At this time, I am not overly anxious, but it definitely helps knowing others have gone through it. What I am definitely aware of, the city is somewhat controlled by a couple of families with deep roots and deeper pockets, who have generally had everything their ways forever.


#13

I went thru the same situation in N FL, a tenant complained to the city and they were all over us on code issues , EVEN TENANTS THAT OWNED THEIR OWN HOMES! i had an atty send a letter , great info above ,
be proactive on this …