HALF MILLION $ SETTLEMENT REACHED BETWEEN RESIDENTS, OWNER OF OAKHILL MOBILE HOME PARK IN MASSACHUSETTS
According to an online report by David [email protected], a $500,000 settlement has been reached in a federal class-action lawsuit filed by a resident of Oakhill Mobile Park in Attleboro, Massachusetts against the park owners, Hometown Communities of America Inc. according to an online report by David [email protected] sunchronicle.com.
The settlement requires the park owners Hometown America to pay $500,000 to residents of the park on Oakhill Avenue for services the company allegedly neglected to provide. That settlement, filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, was reached earlier this month and requires court approval.
Hometown America is a Chicago-based limited liability corporation that owns 60 mobile home parks nationwide, including five in Massachusetts.
Anyone who lived in the park between September 25, 2012, and March 23, 2021, can file a claim for money. The settlement covers current and former residents.
The company, which purchased the park in 2006, admits to no wrongdoing under terms of the settlement. This settlement was preceded by park tenants prevailing in a rent dispute lawsuit victory ruled by the state’s highest court.
Oakhill Tenants Previously Prevailed in Rent Hike Legal Battle Decision By State’s Highest Court
A group of tenants at the Oakhill mobile home park in November 2020 (updated May 14, 2021) won a long legal battle over a rent hike that went all the way to the state’s highest court, as reported by The Sun Chronicle.
In late November 2020, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Hometown Communities of America Inc., the owners of the community, could not charge additional rent for tenants who purchased their homes after Hometown bought the 1003 Oakhill Ave park in 2006.
Hometown charged those tenants an additional $96 a month rent even though the lots were the same as others in the park.
In a 30 page decision, the SJC said the two rent classifications violated the Manufactured Housing Act, which was intended to provide uniform stable and long-term leased community cost-sharing arrangements in mobile home parks.
The court also reversed and remanded the case back to the Housing Court to settle the issue of damages and decisions on class certification in the lawsuit.
The SJC said the judge erred in requiring tenants to “opt-in” to be part of the suit and considered improper factors in assessing damages. Ten tenants filed suit in 2012.
“I’m very happy with the decision by the Supreme Judicial Court agreeing with the arguments we’ve put forth since, essentially 2012,” said Peter Tekippe, an Attleboro lawyer who represented the tenants.
Tekippe said tenants who were forced to pay the additional rent will be able to get their money back. He said the amount of the funds and damages have not been determined.