New expansion to West Branch mobile home park draws concern from nearby tenants of same company

Tenants of the Western Hills mobile home park in Coralville say their rent keeps increasing but they're not seeing promised improvements.
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 10:37 PM CDT
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JOHNSON CO., Iowa (KCRG) - Havenpark Communities celebrated an expansion of its West Branch Village mobile home park on Tuesday, but some residents in a nearby property owned by the same company expressed worry.

Dozens of people attended the event and were able to walk through 10 models of the 65-unit project.

“West Branch Village is a shining example of our commitment to affordable housing,” Rob Barr, the Regional Vice President, said, during the ribbon cutting.

Others living in Havenpark Communities-owned parks, however, worry people buying these homes might not be getting a fair deal.

“Oftentimes, they increase the rent, which they do a couple of times a year, ever since the new owners took over,” Justin Wood, a resident of Western Hills Mobile Estate, said, in Coralville.

Wood has lived in Western Hills for over a decade. He said the reason he moved into the mobile home park was that it was affordable and came with several amenities: lawn care, garbage, and a community pool.

“They don’t do any of that anymore,” Wood said. “We have all these elderly people living on a fixed income that can’t do it themselves. They also can’t pay someone to do it because the rent is getting so outrageous.”

Todd De Leon, the Divisional Vice President of Havenpark Communities, declined to answer questions on camera, but we were able to ask him about some of Woods’ concerns.

“I can’t comment on that, but it’s not true,” De Leon said when asked about increases in lot rent.

De Leon said a press release was going to be sent out regarding the project in West Branch. Construction and preparation were underway at West Branch Village, but Woods wants people to know what he’s been going through since Havenpark Communities took ownership of the land where his home sits.

“I definitely don’t want this to be a trend,” Woods said. “It’s going in the wrong direction for America and Americans.”