By Catherine Reagor, Juliette Rihl, Kunle Falayi | Arizona Republic
Homeowners in mobile home parks across metro Phoenix are getting evicted.
Many own the mobile home but rent the small lot it sets on.
“This is more than just a notice to get out,” said Priscilla Salazar, whose family has lived 11 years in the Weldon Park mobile home community near 16th Street and Osborn Road. “We are going to be homeless.”
Like Valley apartments, some mobile home park owners are raising rents when leases expire and evicting tenants who can’t pay.
In other cases, owners are shutting the parks down so the land can be used for something else, including housing that mobile homeowners can’t afford. Some mobile home park buyers are clearing out tenants and flipping the infill sites for big profits.
Mobile homes have long been one of the most affordable housing options for metro Phoenix residents, but the growing number of parks closing or becoming pricier is putting many residents in a bind. New affordable parks aren’t being built, and many mobile homeowners can’t afford to live elsewhere or move their homes to other communities in the Valley, alarming housing advocates and prompting government officials to seek solutions.
In mid-September, tenants of Weldon Court received a notice that their park would be closing. It had been sold for $5.48 million to an investor from California just days before. Tenants were given six months to move out.
“This is our little mini Phoenix. This is our community,” said Salazar, whose children have grown up in the park. Many tenants are low-income families or seniors on fixed incomes.
Residents of Weldon Court and two other Valley mobile home parks that are evicting tenants or raising rents recently protested at the Arizona Capitol and Phoenix City Council chambers. The other two parks with residents fighting their landlords are Las Casitas — which is now called Beacon — at 19th Avenue and Buckeye Road, and Periwinkle, at 27th Avenue and Colter Street.
Mobile home park buying spree
Like with affordable Phoenix-area apartments, investors are snatching up mobile home parks in the Valley.
Since the beginning of 2021, at least 30 trailer, manufactured and mobile home parks have sold for almost $260 million, according to an Arizona Republic analysis of real estate records.
The Valley has been a hub for factory-built homes since after World War II. Many GIs returning home headed to the Southwest. Some hitched a travel trailer to their cars and put down roots and wheels in metro Phoenix.
Most of the metro Phoenix mobile home parks to sell during the past five years are prime infill sites.
The mobile home park buying and closure spree comes as Arizona is facing a shortage of 270,000 homes.
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