U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal Vows to Push for Mobile Home Park ‘Bill of Rights’ in Face of Corporate Buy-Ups

(The following contains excerpts from a report via CTExaminer authored by Emila Otte on 9/15/2022).

SOUTHINGTON, CT. – On Saturday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal vowed to push for legislation in Congress that would strengthen protections for tenants of mobile home parks.

Blumenthal told a gathering of residents from three different trailer parks – Cedar Springs in Southington, River’s Edge in Beacon Falls, and Evergreen Springs in Clinton— that tenants deserved a “bill of rights” that would include protections from unfair rent increases, the failure to maintain the property, and a “right of first refusal” that would allow residents to purchase a mobile home park themselves before it is sold to a new owner.

Blumenthal was joined at the event by Rep. John Larson, and Rebecca Martinez, who is running for state representative in the 22nd district, which includes Southington, is the chair of Plainville’s Democrat Town Committee.

Blumenthal said that large corporations shouldn’t be able to buy up mobile home parks, cut costs and raise rents, and then turn to the government for low-interest loans from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to pay for it.

“All I’m saying is, as a condition of that support, [the federal government] ought to require basic standards of decency, fair play, fair treatment,” said Blumenthal

In early August, Blumenthal and 16 other federal agencies asked the Federal Housing and Finance Agency for these and other policy changes, including requiring public disclosure of which companies were using public financing to purchase parks, strengthening penalties for corporations that violated tenant protections, requiring stronger eviction protections and giving tenants the right to buy their mobile home park before an outside corporation.

The response from the agency, Blumenthal said, was “extremely disappointing.”

I tend to be a fighter, and we’re not going to take no for an answer from this federal agency,” Blumenthal said at the Saturday press conference in Southington.

Larson also spoke in favor of doing “whatever it takes” to address the problem of “unseemingly corporations coming in and gobbling up what were mom and pop operations.”

Residents of the three parks – all now owned by large corporations – shared complaints about rising rents and unresolved maintenance issues.

Blumenthal told residents that he has already prepared a piece of draft legislation to introduce in the Senate but could not commit to a firm timeline. He promised to return at the end of the year or early next year and report on the legislation’s progress.

“I will go to every one of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle … and enlist and ask for support,”  said Blumenthal. “I sincerely think that there is an issue of fundamental justice here, fairness and justice. And I think the more we push through legislation, or through the kind of voice and face that you’re giving to these issues, the more we’re going to be heard and get action.”

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