Mobile Home Residents Say Maintenance Is Missing - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/20/04

Mobile Home Residents Say Maintenance Is Missing

Their complaints include broken windows, holes in floors and leaky plumbing. Mobile home residents say they're frustrated about ongoing problems at Tropical Mobile Home Park in Gulfport.

They've complained to the landlord with little success. That's why they called our Action Reporter to investigate.

Cal Realty Group manages the mobile home park for private owners. And the maintenance concerns are not confined to Tropical Mobile Home Park in Gulfport. Similar problems exist at Starlight Rental Community in Biloxi, which is also managed by Cal Realty.

Randall Smith has stacks of pictures showing maintenance troubles.

"How could a human person, a man, go against something like this?", he wondered aloud, while reciting a litany of maintenance issues.

"There's my sink. But they want me to pay rent. We can go in there right now and look at it," he suggested.

A reporter's tour of the trailer finds broken windows outside and material hanging beneath. Inside, doors are off hinges, the condition of a floor vent was deplorable and then there's that broken sink. It was every bit as bad as the photograph Smith showed us.

And Smith isn't alone.

"I had to go through all of last winter with no windows. The previous tenant had knocked out three of the windows. And they're still out," said Cheryl Wollett.

Alvin Benthien also had maintenance issues.

"I've had requests for a faucet to be fixed in the bath tub. It leaks. It floods the bedroom. The front bedroom. This last hard rain we had, I have a leak in my bedroom now. I've made a request for it," he said.

We tried to talk with someone residents identified as the landlord, but she declined comment and told us to leave the property.

A man identified as a maintenance person was also reluctant to speak.

"Uh, I ain't got no comment," he said.

Tropical Mobile Home Park isn't the only place this management company faces concerns about lack of maintenance and upkeep. We heard similar stories and complaints from a mobile home park this same company manages, just a few miles down the road in Biloxi.

Starlight Mobile Home park has multiple code enforcement complaints. An October 14th letter from the building official says the mobile homes on this site, "constitute a hazard to the safety and health of the public by reasons of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation and obsolescence".

Cal Realty spokesman, Bill Ethridge, declined our request for an on camera interview. He told WLOX News, "we have a full time maintenance crew that is working on the problems." Referring to Tropical Mobile Homes, he further said, "we have a plan to change the whole park".

But he would not provide details.

As for the problems at Starlight Rental Community, Biloxi code enforcement has scheduled a hearing for November 4th.

By Steve Phillips 

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