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Broomfield’s New Mobile Home Park Rules Become Official

December 5, 2018

Former Front Range Manufactured Housing Community resident Anastasia Weatherford, right, is pictured with Shannon Ginn, left, on the porch of Weatherford's then-home in April 2017. Residents led an effort to improve legal rights for those in mobile home parks.

A year after Front Range Manufactured Housing Community residents began seeking help from Broomfield officials regarding management practices at the park, local laws were enacted to better protect tenants and help park owners understand what will be expected of them.

Council members voted unanimously Tuesday night to pass an ordinance that included publishing a handbook regarding the rules. Topics residents have brought forward included excessive or predatory towing, requiring upgrades to property and then requiring a reversal of those improvements, substantial increase in rent and utility charges, and in some cases, retaliation against residents who filed complaints.

The new rules clarify the right to privacy and management’s right to entry, mediation before manager’s take actions toward eviction, and prohibition of retaliation from management. The ordinance also will require park owners to annually post utility rates and the formula for how those will be computed, which will give tenants a way to see if a billed amount is being fairly charged.

Items added to the ordinance since the first reading include adding a private right-of-action clause and penalties for violating the ordinance.

“We could not do this without you,” former mobile home resident Anastasia Weatherford said. “We appreciate all of you very much. This is a huge victory for us and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Even though she has moved out of Broomfield, she still has friends at Front Range Manufactured Housing Community and wants to continue to advocate for their rights.

“I’m not walking away from them,” she said.

Before the vote, several council members told residents to keep in touch and keep them updated on their lives.

Broomfield officials said the new ordinance adheres to the Colorado Mobile Home Park Landlord-Tenant Act, which governs the rights and responsibilities of homeowners and park owners, while still clarifying items to address resident concerns.

Front Range Manufactured Housing Community attorney Aimee Bove applauded several items in the ordinance and said the handbook looked “fantastic” and that it will greatly benefit residents and park managers.

“I thought it was definitely on par, if not better, than the Longmont (handbook),” she said.

Her concerns included responsibility for large tree management, specifically large cottonwoods that die and become dangerous and expensive to remove. Another was a right-to-privacy and notifying residents 48 hours in advance of someone being on their property. That rule would make meter reading difficult for park management, she said, because employees often walk through yards.

If that portion passes, Bove said, she can envision an influx of litigation.

Broomfield staff suggested one solution — scheduling out readings for the month and notifying residents then. An attorney with the city said the rule applies to the residence, and didn’t think it was the intent to restrict reading of meters.

Park manager Liz Shepherd, who assumed the role after previous manager Jeff Wiebold left, said she has heard about complaints in the past — and stories of retaliation.

“I want everyone to know that’s not what I’m about,” she said. “I really want to be part of the community. I want our community to be great.”

Shepherd, who sat amid park residents at the meeting, said the park includes more than 580 homes, but that she is trying to get to know everyone. Retaliation is not something she will allow her employees to do either, she said, and if something is reported, it will be addressed.

Several council members again thanked residents for coming forward with their issues.

Ward 5 Councilman David Beacom said he thinks the entire council, and Broomfield staff, have come up with something that shows that “everybody who is a resident of Broomfield gets treated well.” While the ordinance is not perfect, Broomfield now has something that will work to help people.

“It can be used as a tool and model for neighbors to use also,” he said. “I have been so proud of the council, Broomfield and the residents of the mobile home park and their dedication to getting it resolved,” he said.

In late October, Broomfield officials agreed to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with Adams County, Westminster, Aurora, Thornton, Federal Heights, Brighton and Commerce City to support the creation of a legal office in the north metro area. It will be staffed by attorneys and Colorado Legal Services staff to provide mobile home park residents and other tenants with legal advice and representation relating to landlord-tenant issues.

Broomfield agreed to pay $15,000 a year for two years to start the program. That money will come from the Community Development Block Grant program.

Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, riosj@broomfieldenterprise.com or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios

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