YOUR DESCRIPTION HAS REACHED THE LIMIT OF CHARACTERS ALLOWED AND WAS CUT. FORT MITCHELL, Ky. (Rich Jaffe) — People across Kentucky said they were being forced from their homes.
They claimed a company was unfairly evicting them as part of a practice of selling the same homes over and over again.
You Got It Homes, or SSK Communities, own more than two dozen mobile home parks. Most are located in northern Kentucky and Louisville. The parks have names like Barrington Point, Beechwood Community, and Autumn Lake Pointe.
Until recently Ginny Chappell and her mom lived at Autumn Lake Pointe in Louisville. After months of documenting and publicizing complaints at Autumn Lake and other SSK properties, Chappell said she was hit with an eviction notice claiming she was behind on her rent.
“They play hardball. They intimidate, they run their parks thinking no one can fight them,” said Chappell.
Before the eviction case against her went to court, SSK’s lawyer offered Chappell a settlement deal where she’d get $1,500 to help move her mobile home provided she agreed to stop speaking out against the company. She turned down the offer, went to court and won. But she moved out anyway.
Chappell’s now the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that claimed, Many, if not all mobile homes owned by SSK and sold or leased by them, once belonged to SSK residents that were forced to abandon their homes after an improper eviction.”
The lawsuit went on to charge that, “For many years SSK carried out a plot designed to force its mobile home park residents to lose their homes.”
Attorney James Craig said, “Many of the residents who have discussed the issues with us are fearful. Many of the residents are angry they’ve already lost their home. Many of them are scared to death they’re about to lose their home.”
While residents of the parks frequently own their homes outright, they pay SSK to rent the lot they are parked on and for utilities like water and sewer. The lawsuit filed in Louisville alleged that utility charges in the parks were raised to a point that homeowners couldn’t afford to pay them. The suit also claimed that SSK then moved quickly to evict the homeowners for non-payment and then the owners ended up leaving their mobile homes because moving one can cost thousands of dollars and older ones could just fall apart if moved.
The lawsuit alleged this pattern happened over and over again in SSK’s Louisville parks. When Local 12 asked about the issue of high utility bills at their northern Kentucky properties back in August 2014, SSK’s Nathan Smith explained that money generated by the increasing rates was being used to pay for maintenance and to fix multiple water line breaks beneath the properties.
“We’re by no means making money on the water. Never have and nothing would make us happier than for the water bill to go down because this is very concerning to us, because we know the residents have a certain amount of money to spend on the utility on any property. It’s part of their income and it’s always been concerning to us,” Smith said.
SSK resident Sue Gibson said, “It makes for a lot of sleepless nights because I know that I’m gonna eventually have to leave my home. And I can’t.”
Gibson’s fear and Ginny Chappell’s anger were echoed by other SSK residents in what they hope the court will make a class action lawsuit.
The residents of SSK communities in Louisville who filed the lawsuit were not alone in their complaints. They were exactly the same issue Local 12 had been talking about in northern Kentucky for the last few months. Ella Karcher lives on a fixed income in SSK’s Beechwood Community in Ft. Mitc