MAHOMET, Ill. (WCIA) – Residents of Candlewood Estates Mobile Home Park in Mahomet are expected to pay a 50 percent increase on April 1, 2023.
Several residents have contacted us seeking answers.
Back in November, we told you about a mother who was facing eviction. She and many others had made deals with the previous owner to help them pay off the debt.
But when Kodiak Property Management took over, they didn’t live up to those agreements. They handed out 20 eviction notices.
Those issues have been resolved but residents say this new problem could still drive people away.
“I’ve already been losing neighbors and other people are saying they’re getting ready,” Lyn Hall said.
Hall has lived in Candlewood Estates for 50 years. When he first moved in, lot fees were $36, now he pays $330, which is the senior rate, but on April 1st he will owe $525.
“Something is going to have to go for me to pay the rent increase and I’m not sure what it’s going to be, it could be food,” Hall said.
We contacted Kodiak Property Management. They say the lot fee increase is to accommodate inflation and all the maintenance needed at the park.
Unfortunately, we are faced with economic realities such as inflation, increased supply and labor costs, and rising interest rates that are necessitating an increase in lot rent.
While this is a large increase, it is still very much in line with similar communities in the area.
“With the funds, we are committed to many community enhancements and improvements, such as roadworks, landscaping and repairs and improvements to community services. All of these will help improve the appeal of sidewalks, increase safety, and ultimately benefit directly property values. We are eager and excited for residents to see the reinvestment we are making in the community they are proud to call home.” – Kodiak spokesperson.
Hall understands that improvements are needed, but says, “It wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t raise it so high.”
Andrew Langley agrees with Hall.
“Maybe if you started making these improvements that they’re talking about and say, ‘Hey, we’ve brought this up to date, or maybe now we’ll charge you $50 a year, even $100 a year,'” Hall said.
He’s lived in the park since he was 15 years old … and was one of 20 to receive an eviction notice over back lot fees.
“I owed money to the park, but after two months of not saying anything, I was still paying rent and they said you haven’t paid us rent, you’re just paying back rent, there’s been no communication about it,” he said. Langley.
Now, he’s considering moving out of the park entirely
“If it wasn’t for the money I’m making now I would have to live on the streets because I wouldn’t be able to afford the raise,” Langley said.
He says rent is expensive everywhere else, so he’s not sure where he can go. Neither did Hall.
“I might have to move in with my daughter,” Hall said.
“There are no trailer parks available in the Champaign County area that are vacant and I don’t think my house would survive the move,” Hall said. “It’s been there since 1993.”
Also, Hall says there are problems with water meters.
“Frozen water pipes on the ground have always been the direct responsibility of the owner, so if they are not protected from the cold, they can burst. Candlewood is responsible for the underground pipes, some of which have been damaged and we are currently trying to repair them, but it is very difficult to get third party plumbers to do underground repairs right now because they are so busy. The water lines are owned by Sangamon Valley Water District, and have been owned and maintained for over 35 years. Now they want to claim that the sale over 35 years ago was invalid, and that Candlewood is responsible. We are currently in litigation, but maintenance remains the responsibility of the Sangamon Valley Water District, who our residents pay directly for their water services and have been paying directly for over 35 years.“– Kodiak spokesperson.
Hall also says he hasn’t received a new lease since Kodiak took over.
“New leases are being finalized for all residents to ensure they are in full compliance with local and Illinois laws. They will be shared with residents upon completion.” – Kodiak spokesperson