Silver Stream Residents Vow To Fight RHP Over
Proposed Rent Hikes. Skoufis Calls For State To Intervene
By Michael Lebron
Residents at the Silver Stream Mobile Homes held a rally on Bivona Lane today, protesting the 6% rent hikes that their landlord – RHP Properties, the largest owner of mobile home parks in the country – is proposing for them. Yvonne Maldonado, leading the rally, said that the community is composed largely of veterans, the retired, and people on fixed income. About 80% are Hispanic. She claimed that if these increases go through, many of them will be driven from their homes.
Residents of mobile park communities can be particularly vulnerable to predatory and abusive practices by absentee owners because while mobile park residents own the buildings that they live in, they rent the land that the homes sit on.
RHP bought Silver Stream two years ago and made a similar rent hike in 2018. This year, however, RHP must contend with The Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act, which expands laws that once applied mostly to New York City to the rest of the state. In this package of housing protections, RPL § 233-b states that rent increases “may not exceed 3% above existing rents unless the manufactured home park owner experienced increases in operating expenses, property taxes on the park, or costs from capital improvements in the park.
Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) stood with residents of Silver Stream Village Mobile Home Park to demand that the park’s owner, RHP Properties, withdraw their unlawful rent increase which approaches 6% over last year. Short of that, Skoufis is calling on the state’s Homes and Community Renewal Agency to immediately intervene and negotiate a lawful rent increase. In the case of Silver Stream Village, RHP Properties is increasing rent by nearly 6% while failing to provide any justification. In fact, town and county property taxes for the park owner decreased over the past year: school taxes only increased 1%. “What RHP Properties is trying to do with this egregious rent increase is undoubtedly illegal,” said Senator Skoufis. “RHP can either decide to do the right thing and withdraw their rent increase or lose in court, it’s up to them. Short of an immediate withdrawal of this unlawful rent increase, I’m calling for the state to immediately intervene.