Complaints Grow Against Mobile Home University Tactics

Complaints Grow Against Mobile Home University Tactics

These people weren’t trailer trash, Ketcham realized — just everyday folks who couldn’t afford $450,000 mortgages in other parts of town. And for her first eight years, life was good. Until RV Horizons-Impact Communities, a Cedaredge-based company, bought the park.

“I thought they were trailer trash,” she said. Then Ketcham moved into the Central Manufactured Home Community, a tight-knit park in Cañon City where neighbors bake each other fresh banana bread, watch their grandkids and chat easily on their porches. Suddenly, rent started rising. With a degenerative back condition that leaves her unable to work, Ketcham is slowly losing any wiggle room on her $800-a-month disability budget.

A pipe issue left standing water in her yard for months, attracting mice and gnats that flew into her mouth every time she brushed her teeth. Sewage backed up into her bathtub. “They’re just money-hungry little (expletive),” Ketcham said. “I’m not renting property, just a small little piece of land.”

Residents say this is life at a mobile home park run by RV Horizons-Impact Communities, a company on Colorado’s Western Slope that stakes its claim as the fifth-largest owner of mobile home parks in the United States. Lawsuits, compliance complaints and protests against the company are piling up — and state regulators are taking notice. As of mid-August, there were open complaints filed to the state’s new Mobile Home Oversight Program at eight of RV Horizons-Impact Communities’ 18 Colorado parks, according to state data. Regulators, meanwhile, recently subpoenaed records from one of the owners regarding sewage, water and tree issues at an Eckert mobile home park. This is par for the course for David Reynolds and Frank Rolfe, residents in their mobile home parks say. The pair, along with owning RV Horizons-Impact Communities, run a training course on the Front Range on how to get rich in mobile home park ownership.

At Mobile Home University, the owners teach attendees to increase rents “relentlessly” because mobile home owners — contrary to their name — generally can’t afford to move. Remove amenities such as pools or playgrounds. Say goodbye to laundry rooms or vending machines. “Affordable Housing is the hottest arena in commercial real estate right now,” their website states prominently. “With over 20% of Americans trying to live on $20,000 per year or less, the demand for mobile homes has never been higher — and the big winners are the owners of the mobile home parks in which those customers reside.” While Reynolds and Rolfe profit off their parks, people like Ketcham are paying more than $500 out of an $800-a-month fixed income to rent the land beneath her Cañon City mobile home. Earlier this summer, the water went out for six days at homes throughout the park, forcing elderly and disabled residents to lug their own water from across the park. Toilets sat unflushed.

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