Paying rent for a home without running water

I live in Cedar Falls, Iowa, I grew up here as well. I first moved into the manufactured home community I live in after I got a divorce. I thought it would be an affordable place to live until I got on my feet, and it was close to my job. I lived in a manufactured home community over twenty-five years ago and it was a good place to live, so I thought this would be fine too.

Shortly after I moved in, things began to change. RV Horizons bought the property and chaos came over our community. Since they’ve taken over our managers have rotated in and out, changing frequently. There has been so much chaos they never even put my name on the lot lease.

With the chaos came big rent increases. When I bought my home and moved in our lot rent was $220/month, now, less than two years later, it’s up to $350.  They made some minor cosmetic changes to justify the increase, but nothing that has actually improved out quality of life.

In September of last year I decided to put my home up for sale. I’d switched jobs to one about an hour away, and the rent increases made the community less affordable than I’d expected. My new job is on third shift, so I realized living here doesn’t work very well since it’s fairly noisy during the day when I need to be sleeping. Unfortunately, in the six month since I put it on the market I haven’t gotten one offer.

This winter I also found out that there are substantial infrastructure problems in the community. On December, 29th my water stopped working. It had gotten really cold, so all the managers would say is that the pipes were frozen. I had heat tape on my pipes so I thought that didn’t make sense. My dad came out and looked at the pipes, he disconnected them before they reached my water meter (the point where I am responsible for the pipes as the homeowner) and there was no water coming out there either. So I called the Cedar Falls Utility company. All they could tell me was that the pipes were owned by RV Horizons, not by them, and there was nothing they could do about it.

I’ve talked to the community managers, and tried calling the corporate office time and time again. The manager won’t do anything and corporate hasn’t even called me back. From December 29th until the middle of February I had no water. After that it started coming out in a trickle, not enough to take a shower.

My home has been pretty much useless since December, because I’ve been unable to shower in it. I work for a manufacturer that makes tractor parts and work with fiber glass. I come home covered in itchy fiber glass dust, not being able to shower just doesn’t work. Fortunately, I’ve been able to stay with my boyfriend during this time, but this entire winter I’ve still paying lot rent for a home I can’t even live in.

RV Horizons needs to take responsibility for the infrastructure in my community and figure out what is going on with the pipes, and Cedar Falls should make sure they do.

Join Teresa in working to improve conditions in your RV Horizons managed community.