MAHOMET, Ill. (WCIA) – Residents at Candlewood Estates Mobile Home Park in Mahomet will be expected to pay a 50 percent increase come April first, 2023.

Several neighbors have reached out to us to find answers.

Back in November, we told you about a mother who was facing eviction. She and many others had worked out deals with the previous owner to help them pay back debt.

But when Kodiak Property Management took over, they did not honor those agreements. They handed out 20 eviction notices.

Those issues have been resolved but neighbors say this new issue might still drive people out.

“Already been losing neighbors and other people are saying they are getting ready to,” said Lyn Hall.

Hall has lived at Candlewood Estates for 50 years. When she first moved in, lot fees were $36, now she pays $330, which is the senior citizen rate, but come April 1, she’ll owe $525. 

“Something is going to have to go in order for me to afford the increase in rent and I’m not sure what it’s going to be, could be food,” said Hall.

We reached out to Kodiak Management Property. They say the increased lot fee is to accommodate inflation and all the maintenance that is needed around the park. 

Unfortunately, we have been faced with economic realities such as inflation, rising supply and labor costs, and soaring interest rates which are necessitating an increase in lot rent.

While this is a large increase, it still remains very much in line with similar communities in the area.    

“With the funds, we are committed to many community improvements and upgrades, such as roadwork, landscaping, and repairs and improvements to community amenities.  All of this will help to improve curb appeal, increase safety, and will ultimately directly benefit property values. We are eager and excited for residents to see the reinvestment we are making in the community they are proud to call home.” – Kodiak Spokesperson.

Hall understands improvements are needed but says: “It wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t raise it so high.”

Andrew Langley agrees with Hall.

“Maybe if you started doing these improvements they are talking about and say hey we’ve done this updated that or maybe now we’re going to charge you $50 a year even $100 a year,” said Hall.

He has been living at the park since he was 15 years old… and was one of 20 who received an eviction notice from back lot fees.

“I did owe the park money but after 2 months of not saying anything I was still paying the rent and they said you haven’t been paying us to rent, you’re just paying back rent there was no communication about it,” said Langley.

Now, he is considering moving from the park altogether 

“If it wasn’t for the money I’m making now I would have to live on the street because I couldn’t afford the increase,” said Langley.

He says rent is expensive everywhere else, so he isn’t sure where he can go. Neither does Hall.

“I might have to move in with my daughter,” said Hall.

“There are no trailer parks available in the Champaign County area that have empty and i don’t think my home would survive the move,” said Hall. “It’s been there since 1993.”

On top of that, Hall says there are issues with the water meters.

“Frozen water pipes above ground have always been the direct responsibility of the homeowner, so if they fail to protect them from the cold, they may burst.  Candlewood is responsible for pipes underground, a few of which were damaged and we are currently trying to repair them, but it’s very hard to get third-party plumbers out to do underground repairs right now because they are so busy. The water lines are owned by Sangamon Valley Water District, and have been owned and maintained by them for more than 35 years.  They now want to claim that the sale more than 35 years ago was invalid, and that Candlewood is responsible.  We’re currently in litigation, but maintenance remains the responsibility of Sangamon Valley Water District who our residents directly pay for their water services, and have been paying directly for more than 35 years.– Kodiak Spokesperson.

Hall also says hasn’t received a new lease since Kodiak took over.

“New leases for all residents are being finalized to ensure they are fully compliant with Illinois and local laws.  They will be shared with residents upon completion.” – Kodiak Spokesperson