Residents of the nation’s largest corporate owner of manufactured home communities, Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), say the company is engaging in abusive practices and general disinvestment in its properties.
a group of more than 20 residents from across the country gathered
outside ELS’ annual shareholder meeting in Chicago and demanded to be heard by the company’s founder and chairman, Sam Zell.
While a few
demonstrators attended the meeting, several protesters rallied outside
and urged Zell and other ELS executives to stop “unfair rent increases”
that push residents, most of them retirees on fixed incomes, out of
their homes and into poverty.
The demonstration was part of an ongoing battle between ELS and residents who want better living and renting conditions.
lot rent is more than half of my Social Security,” said Carla Burr, a
59 year-old resident of an ELS property in Chantilly, Virginia.
pays a monthly lot fee of $945 and makes an annual income of $42,000.
But, when she turns 65 she stands to lose an employer disability payment
that will cut her income almost in half.
“I don’t know if I’ll be
able to stay in my house,” she said, noting her lot fee has increased
$30 to $40 every year since she moved in, in 2006. “(ELS’) main goal is
to win money for their investors at any cost, and they don’t care who