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Residents of Mount Vernon mobile home park rally, fearing rent hikes under new owners

Residents at Engleside Mobile Home Park (courtesy Tenants and Workers United)

Residents of a mobile home community off Route 1 held a rally Tuesday (Nov. 15) to voice concerns that new ownership could push out current residents.

At a gathering with representatives of community organizers Tenants and Workers United, residents from Engleside Mobile Home Park and Ray’s Mobile Home Colony shared concerns that a recent purchase of the property could lead to rent hikes and evictions.

Marianela Reynado explained that the Engleside property was sold to $24.2 million to Pacific Current Partners despite efforts by residents and a nonprofit to raise funds to purchase the property and keep it affordable.

The sale was finalized Tuesday, according to TWU. Pacific Current Partners could not be reached for comment.

Residents organized in 2020 to oppose a plan that added density to the site. The building owners at the time said there were no plans to redevelop the lot in the near future. The recent sale, however, has raised doubts about those assurances.

According to TWU, residents were notified this September that the owners at the time, Ahora Company LC and Rapido Company LC, had gotten offer from Pacific Current Partners and intended to sell the mobile home parks just two months later.

“I’ve lived in this community for 14 years,” Saul Hernandez said. “It’s a good space, a place for our children. It’s a safe place, a calm place, and knowing that this is a place where there could be an increase in our rents… it’s a place we don’t want that to happen.”

Larisa Zehr, an attorney from Legal Aid Justice Center, told attendees at the rally that there are only eight mobile home parks in Fairfax County, meaning there are increasingly few places in the area available to mobile homeowners.

“Mobile home parks fill an important gap in available affordable housing,” Zehr said. “They’re relatively affordable without subsidy and an asset, as residents have said today, which is very different than an apartment complex where the rent goes to a landlord and the tenant has nothing.”

Another one of the county’s mobile housing communities, Harmony Place in Hybla Valley, was sold to a developer in December, even though residents offered $1.5 million more to take ownership, according to DCist.

A manufactured housing task force created by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors last year delivered a report in September with recommendations for how to preserve the county’s 1,750 “mobile” housing units and ensure they remain affordable.

The county has adopted the term manufactured homes, rather than mobile homes, which it says is misleading.

“Unlike traditional homeownership in which the property and the home is owned by a single entity, manufactured homes are typically owned by the occupant who rents the land from a separate entity,” Fairfax County Housing and Community Development said. “In most cases, the homes are not mobile.”