Another central WI park, more rats?

Some of you have read my previous postings regarding the lack of rule enforcement problems at the mobile home park I USED TO CALL HOME. (I sold my MH, and now live in a nice 2 story Cape Cod, in a lovely neighborhood, in town). Park owner/management allowed a tenant to keep multiple cages of rabbits, with used, piled up animal bedding, all over her lot. Complaints to said owner/management fell on deaf ears, and those complaining declined to call the authorities for fear of retaliation. Then, for whatever reason, she got rid of the rabbits and switched to breeding colonies of rats. Which went on for quite awhile until I was made aware of it and called the authorities. She and her animals were moved out and gone by the time anyone actually came around to check things out. Whether the authorities dealt with her directly or put heat on the park owner, I don’t know.

While she appeared to at least take care of them, and tried to catch the ones her kids let out of cages (rabbits and rats), check out this crazy scenerio that has just come to public light in Plover, WI. If you google “Rats in mobile home, Plover, WI” (which by the way IS NOT the mobile home park I lived in), how the hell could this go on for almost two years before someone took a copy of state statutes in hand, and took care of the problem. Over 200 rats in, under and around this woman’s mobile home, the humane society “was working on it” for over 8 months, the health department wasn’t aware? until the local cops gave this woman a ride home from somewhere and noticed the situation??? I can understand the neighboring tenants fear of retaliation and not calling about her, but from what I understand in my readings of the statutes, and the info. on this site---- as long as the park owner dots his i’s and crosses his t’s when doing evictions, she and her “pets” should have been gone long ago. The health department administers the licensing of mobile home parks in Portage County-----the scope of this problem makes it mindboggling to me that it went on for so long.

This and other problems makes me marvel at the apparent high tolerance to legal liability that some Portage County park owners, township supervisors, building code and health enforcement, and any other agencies dealing with MH parks apparently have. Considering some knew (the park owner, the humane society) and others should have known;–whose pockets would the lawyers have been targeting in case someone had suffered loss, injury or damage—i.e., a child was bitten, a neighbors mobile home burned down due to rats chewing on wiring, etc. Someone with a condemned mobile home and no money: or park owners, local governmental officials or the agencies who are supposedly administering the licensing of mobile home parks???

A mobile home community is no different than any other community. It is the responsibility of the residents to inform the authorities of any issues in the community requiring attention.

It is not acceptable for residents to use the excuse that they fear retaliation in order to pass the buck on their responsibilities.

City, subdivision, park, it makes no difference. Residents are responsible for their conditions.

Yes the park owner is the first contact but they need not be the authority to enforce codes.

The fact is, depending on the state/province, some park owners actually have very little authority to enforce rules.

Residents need to step up and take responsibility/ownership of their community rules.

**A mobile home community is no different than any other community

Besides being an all encompassing, hopefully money making business endeavor? So in some mobile home communities, the owner or management’s only duty is to collect the rent money and to hell with being proactive with the rules? While an apartment complex or single family rental home would also be considered a money making business endeavor–for the sake of this thread, isn’t a mobile home community providing a service, of which a mobile home renter or owner is buying into,–presumeably a clean, quiet, relatively safe and in the above scenario rat free place to live? I paid my rent money every month, kept my home and lot clean and tidy, was quiet and considerate of my neighbors and in turn you expect ME to police the park, try to reason with a slumlord and report infractions to the local governmental buffoons, too inept, lazy or “looking the other way” to enforce the codes and rules I unfortunately thought they were being paid to do when I voted for them?

****It is not acceptable for residents to use the excuse that they fear retaliation in order to pass the buck on their responsibilities

And speaking of too inept or lazy to enforce the codes and rules----as mentioned in previous postings, I (unlike my more meek fellow park inhabitants) had no problem going round and round with the park owner over some issues. Issues he couldn’t be bothered with until someone pointed out the legal liability aspect of it, or for example, after I called Planning & Zoning, which resulted in his getting the junk, inoperable, unlicensed cars out of the park. (Gotta admit P & Z were very prompt in getting that issue resolved).

While I’m in my 50’s and slowing down, I’m an ex-military, 6 ft tall, farm raised gal and don’t scare easily. While I found it somewhat alarming for example: to have some drunken slob banging on my door, late at night, complaining that I called animal control on her dog who constantly barked it’s brains out—you’re expecting some of the retired, or little old lady grandma types who lived in the park to face that scenerio? Especially when the park owner has a penchant for “letting it slip” who complained about whom? The same park owner who would tell me or anyone else with certain complaints to “take care of it yourselves” (as you mentioned park inhabitants should do), then be pissed off when I or they did get action from the authorities.

Wouldn’t it be a lot easier for governmental agencies to put some enforceable meat into mobile home park codes and rules, which would enable park owners to run cleaner, safer and therefore resulting in more income producing parks? Or is it just plain easier to run a slumlord-like park, with minimal upkeep, just barely keeping above the limits of whatever governmental rules there are and picking the bones clean of those unfortunate enough, for whatever reason to have found themselves there.

To begin as a landlord I personally consider s***lord to be extremely offensive regardless of what your personal opinion of your landlord may be.

Apparently while you were in the community you followed the rules voluntarily however you do not place the same expectations on your neighbours. You expect the landlord to baby sit the tenants.

Bottom line is that any community is a reflection of the standards of the residents not the landlord and to be honest it is a impossible task for a landlord to turn around a community without strong landlord support by both the local politicians and particularly landlord/tenant regulations. Landlord/tenant regulations must strongly favour landlords which is extremely rare as they are designed to protect tenants.

If,as you suggest, the residents do not have what it takes to stand up for their rights and report infractions to the proper authorities what is it you expect the landlord to do. If dogs are barking report it to the bylaw inspector, if drunk tenants are causing a disturbance call the police. That is what is expected.

As far as government regulations are concerned I would gladly welcome changes to allow me greater control over my property however the guide lines are the same for all residents of any government jurisdiction (city, town, village, rural township etc). Establishing special bylaw enforcement rules specifically for mobile home communities would be discriminatory.

In regards to landlord/tenant regulations I would be first in line to swing those in favour of landlords having supreme control but unfortunately tenant advocacy groups will never allow that to happen.

If a landlord is not willing to step up to the challenge of satisfying their tenants needs the residents have the same resources as the landlord and should be utilising those resources.

If they did they would quickly discover that landlords have very limited authority in many instances.

In my park the quality of the community is a reflection of the standards of the residents. I screen new applicants to insure that standard is maintained but it is difficult and when a resident turns bad my hands are tied by government regulations.

To begin as a landlord I personally consider slord to be extremely offensive regardless of what your personal opinion of your landlord may be******

I consider “slumlord” no more offensive than the sweeping generalization in the public’s vernacular that anyone who lives in a mobile home park is “trailer trash”. While I wasn’t specifically refering to my EX-landlord as a slumlord (I’ve heard he’s actually a pretty nice guy away from the park atmosphere), we all know there are examples of both those terms in parks all over the country, and it’s those examples that (IMO) the general public think of when the topic of mobile home communities come up. I apologize if I offended you or anyone else on this site for using that term—maybe a more acceptable approach would be to use “managerially challenged”?

I don’t agree with the idea that the residents of every park are the bottom line when it comes to the atmosphere, the vibe, the standard of clientele. I’ve researched the state, township and county regulations, (while taking my landlord to task for his lack of enforcement on certain issues that could have possibly caused me injury, loss or damage), I’ve looked into the Section 8 rules and at least in Wisconsin, while it may take some concentrated effort and time, those who poison the park and the well being of others can be sent packing. From what I read, as long as tenants have been given the rules, know what the consequences are of not following them, and are dealt with in a legal, consistant way, it’s goodbye. Drive around my county, and there are mobile home parks of every level and low and hehold, the cleanest, quietest ones with the best curb appeal are the ones where the landlords/management are known to have the strictest rules, walk the courts and as one coworker who lives in one described to me “those mean people who won’t let us keep our stuff (junk,crap and her unlicensed car) on the lot.” Why I didn’t move to one of those, or stayed as long where I was has been discussed in a previous post.

No I (and of course, others) didn’t expect the landlord to babysit. Yes, there were other inhabitants who would complain about the problems, but wouldn’t do anything about them. I personally had no qualms calling Planning and Zoning over the junk, unlicensed cars, or the sheriff’s department more times than I can count over loose and barking dogs, wandering, loud and publicly urinating drunks, kids shooting my and other’s aluminum siding with BB guns , illegal unattended burning of household trash and remodeling demolition materials between lots, unknown individuals who switched off my electric (the meters/boxes located in rows between every 5 or 6 homes were not locked up-the deputy was astonished at that) and a myriad of other things of which were prohibited by the park’s published rules (handed out to everyone when they signed the lease).

Well, I could go on and on, but this is all a thing of the past for me now. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I gave you mine as a former mobile home park inhabitant and think this is quite an interesting, information filled site. Thank you.

I’m still astonished over how long it took for certain agencies/individuals to deal with that woman and her 200 to 300 rats!**