FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Time is quickly winding down for residents of a Fort Collins mobile home park who are trying to find solutions to afford future rent.
Earlier this month, Polly Martinez said she and other residents of the 55 and older mobile home park, North College LLC, received a notice from property management that their lot rent would be increasing.
"You are hereby notified that, effective July 1, your monthly rent, which is payable on or before the first day of every month, will be $640 instead of $493, the current monthly rent," Martinez read from the document.
Martinez said she and other renters have received small increases over the years, but never expected their rates to jump this much.
"I’m getting to that point where I might have to go deliver for Domino’s or go get a part-time job because we can’t pay our bills," Martinez said.
Residents who receive social security say they're even more concerned.
"I only get less than $900 a month on Social Security," said Nickie Fitzpatrick, another resident. "I’m going to be 71 in July. I'm constantly looking for a part-time job, something else to do."
The notice from property management said the rate increase comes after a review of the property's income and expenses.
Denver7 reached out to property management and received no response.
"Twenty-nine percent increase is just an exuberant amount. It is just too much for people to handle around here," Martinez said.
"Between car insurance, groceries, etc, you know, it’s like a $100 increase. That’s a huge amount," Fitzpatrick said.
A spokesperson for Fort Collins Neighborhood Services says they're exploring options to help the situation. The agency provided the following statement:
While the city has very limited enforcement ability in this situation, there are a few resources that may be helpful to residents:
- The State of Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ (DOLA) MHP Oversight Program provides a complaint system where residents can submit grievances for investigation. Making complaints to this program provides a record, establishes a pattern, and notifies park management that complaints have been filed against them. We are aware of 7 official complaints from North College residents, and we do anticipate that there are more. DOLA also provides informational resources on state laws and programs pertaining to MHP’s, including lease renewal information, here [cdola.colorado.gov].
- Another resource is the Colorado Poverty Law Project’s (CPLP) Mobile Home Initiative. This program can provide free legal advice and informational resources on Mobile Home Park resident rights. More information about CPLP can be found here [copovertylawproject.org].
- Staff from CPLP and other community partners will be available to assist North College residents with their questions and concerns at our upcoming neighborhood meeting, June 5th, 10am-noon at the Northside Aztlan Center. We will provide information on resident rights and eviction avoidance, as well as community resources.
- For more information about City of Fort Collins’ MHP laws, please see this summary document [fcgov.com] or Section 18 [library.municode.com] of our municipal code.
In a memo provided to Fort Collins City Council about the situation, Neighborhood Services said the city's ability to help is limited per Colorado Revised Statute 38-12- 301 which state, "the imposition of rent control on private residential housing units is a matter of statewide concern; therefore, no county or municipality may enact any ordinance or resolution that would control rent on either private residential property or a private residential housing unit. Even if rent increases are excessive, they are permissible as long as they are applied uniformly across the park."
Residents are hoping property management will have a change of heart about the rent increase.
"People are scared, people are crying," Martinez said. "People are upset."