Southington mobile home owners submit petition for rent commission

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SOUTHINGTON — Some residents of a mobile home park off West Queen Street want the town to quickly create a fair rent commission in response to rising rents.

Trailer owners, who pay rent for the land under their mobile homes, cited a state requirement that towns create fair rent commissions by July 1, 2023.

Kenneth Delohery, a Riverside Drive resident, hopes the town won’t wait until next summer to form the commission.

“We are looking forward on this because we received the greatest increase in anyone’s memory,” he told Town Council members during Monday’s meeting. “Residents are also concerned that the investment they made in what they thought would be an affordable option for retirement may soon be priced beyond their means.”

The locally based company that owned the park, Jensen’s Incorporated, sold the land to a Michigan-based company operating as Sun Cedar Springs LLC in 2019.

“Jensen’s never increased more than $11 dollars a year,” said Red Oaks Drive resident Loretta Giddix. “Sun raised it $20 one year, $24 the next.”

Her contract with Sun includes a stipulation that rents can rise with the rate of inflation. For her monthly rent of $542, that could mean a rent increase of nearly $50 since inflation is more than 8 percent this year.

Giddix said she’s also concerned for less well-off elderly neighbors who depend on Social Security or other fixed incomes.

“These rents are going to put them out of their homes,” she said. “This commission is extremely important because we can’t do it ourselves.”

Who decides?

Delohery, Giddix and others presented a petition to the council Monday and spoke during the public comment section of the meeting.

Council Chairwoman Victoria Triano, said when and how to create a fair rent commission was under consideration.

“We’re in the process of discussing it at this point,” she said. “It’ll come to the full council to discuss it.”

Delohery said his lease includes an option for the land owners to evict him if the two parties couldn’t agree on a “reasonable” rent increase.

“One of the things we’re looking for from a fair rent commission is, who gets to decide what’s within reason?” he said. “I think there needs to be some sort of buffer between us and an out-of-state corporation.”

He said the town should also work to protect mobile home parks as an affordable housing option for residents. Delohery cited the town’s affordable housing plan which mentions mobile homes as a lower-cost housing option, although not one that the state considers affordable since there’s no deed restriction keeping rents from rising.

jbuchanan@record-journal.com203-317-2230Twitter: @JBuchananRJ


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