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Lilly L. Santa Cruz, CA

A box of chocolates for a home

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(As told by her daughter Barbara)

My parents bought their home for $60,000 and moved into [a manufactured home community called] the De Anza community to live out their retirement. They were really pleased at first with their choice…they loved their neighbors, and the equity in their home actually increased in the first two years.

After my father passed away, things began to unravel. [The corporate property management company] Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) began to raise the rents over and over again. It was becoming next to impossible to continue to live there. She was relying on Social Security and a small amount of retirement savings.

Two years after my father passed away, my mom had a fall that resulted in very significant mobility issues. She continued to live in De Anza Santa Cruz for one year, but since Medicare didn’t cover her home care that she now required, her retirement savings disappeared.

My mom’s only option was to sell her home. She put it on the market. Home seekers were unwilling to purchase her home, no matter how low she went because of the ever-increasing rents that De Anza was charging. I didn’t want to inherit the property for that same reason. My mom was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

My mother fell behind on her rent. De Anza threatened to sue if she didn’t sign the home over to ELS. She was forced to walk away with only a box of chocolates offered by an ELS office worker.

For more stories about manufactured housing, visit http://www.mhaction.org/.