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Delaware DOJ sues mobile home community owner over rent increase practices

Delaware Public Media

State Justice Department officials are suing a national mobile home juggernaut for allegedly urging tenants to avoid arbitration while proposing rent increases.


Attorney General Matt Denn accuses Chicago-based Hometown America Communities of illegally offering up to nearly 1,500 tenants a lower rent increase if they waive their arbitration rights.


A 2013 law allows mobile home park landlords to hike rents by the average consumer price index increase over the past three years or justify it through another process.



The lawsuit says tenants in Camden, Lewes and Rehoboth Beach were given rent increase notices ranging between 3.7 and 4.9 percent. If they waived their arbitration rights, they’d only pay 2.5 percent more.


At the time, CPI had only increased by 1.1 percent.


“This tactic of getting community tenants to sign away their legal rights in exchange for a lower rent increase is reprehensible,” said Attorney General Denn in a statement.  “When predatory conduct by community owners threatens to upset the balance struck by the General Assembly when it passed the rent justification law for manufactured home communities, my office will act aggressively to protect tenants.”


Hometown America Communities didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.