WILTON, Iowa — Dozens of residents at South Towne Mobile Home Park in Wilton, Iowa have had enough after their rent has gone up 54% the past eight months.
They are outraged at the new management company, Kodiak Property Management, based out of Detroit. They took over about a year ago, and since then residents have not felt at home.
"It was $250 a month rent when I bought the trailer and moved in thinking that I would be able to save money to eventually have a down payment to purchase my own home. And instead, the rent is now $385," said resident Phyllis Wood.
Residents joined together to meet with area lawmakers at a community forum in Wilton. They hope that state legislators can beef-up renter protections.
Unfortunately, tenants say the issues go beyond their wallets. One tenant that did not want to speak on camera said he was fined for still having his Christmas lights up the second week on January. That "petty stuff," on top of the rent increases, has resident Brandi Kress very frustrated.
"I've been told to take my chairs off my porch, it's wintertime. I still sit on my porch. We still grill. Like, why should I have to take those down? Plus, it's my trailer," Kress said.
Some families have already had to move out because they could not afford to pay the additional rent. A saga that most feel will be a never-ending story.
"The business model that they're following is that they hope to raise the rents so that we abandon our property, so they can claim ownership of that property and sell it again and again and again," Wood said.
Those in the community have decided to band together as one voice to hopefully get this situation resolved.