Landlord threatens illegal eviction of Hopewell tenants

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) – Residents at a Hopewell mobile home park are fired up! They say the owner of the property is trying to illegally evict all tenants.

Keirsten Church and many of her neighbors have called the Appomattox Mobile Home Park home for years, but that may soon change. On October 29th each tenant received an eviction notice stating the park would close in 30 days and everyone needed to be out by November 30th.

"We can't be out by the 30th and they also told us they'd cut our water off by the 19th," said  Church.

Tenants say 30 days isn't enough time to save up money for a new place or to have their trailer towed. Sarah Dereski just purchased a trailer in the park last month.

"I spent every penny I had to buy my trailer for me and my 2 kids. Now we have nowhere to go," said Dereski.

Residents are asking for more time and legally it appears they're entitled to it. If the tenants were renting an apartment and a landlord had grounds for eviction - then a 30 day notice would be sufficient, but since it's a mobile home park a different law applies.

We took the concerns of neighbors to NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin.

"Virginia has a statute called the Virginia Manufactured Home Lot Rental Act that requires at least a 60 day notice before eviction can begin," said Benjamin.

If the eviction is due to a change in use of property then a 180 day eviction notice is required by law.

"This letter is either just a bluff or it's written in profound ignorance of the law. Whatever the case is they can't make these folks move in 30 days and they certainly can't turn off the water," said Benjamin.

If the owner follows through with the 30 day eviction or cancellation of water service residents can take legal action. We caught up with the owner of the mobile park, Deight Simpson,  she had no comment. For now, these residents say they're sticking together to fight for what's right.

If a tenant doesn't move out on a specified date set by a landlord -- that landlord can't force the tenant out. Instead, the landlord must take the issue to court.

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