WVC Mobile Home Owner Turns Activist

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The Salt Lake Tribune
By: Jennifer W. Sanchez
April 28, 2010

West Valley City » When William "Ed" Schultz challenged a property manager's attempt to terminate his lease last fall, he had no idea he'd become an activist on Capitol Hill.
Schultz's dispute with Riverside Mobile Home Park led the park's owner, American Residential Communities, to file a complaint against him in October in West Jordan's 3rd District Court.

Schultz, 74, got a lawyer to fight the eviction -- but also quickly became involved with manufactured housing issues through the Salt Lake Community Action Program.

He spent days lobbying the 2010 Utah Legislature for a proposed bill to ensure the right to form homeowner associations in mobile home parks.

"I learned a lot," he said in a recent interview at his home. "I'll be there every dog-gone second next year."

The new law -- which will end retaliation evictions -- was passed and goes into effect May 10.

Schultz got to stay in his house, and the complaint filed against him in court has been dismissed. But the flooding under his home -- which started the fight -- is still unresolved, he said.

Schultz and his wife bought their $60,000 mobile home and moved into the Riverside park in November 2005. A year later, Schultz complained to the city about flooding, and officials told him the park was in a flood zone.

In spring 2008, park managers had an employee install a water pump to remove hundreds
of gallons of water from under his home. Schultz said it hasn't helped much, and about 10 other homes have similar problems.

Schultz, a retiree who drives an airport shuttle van, said he is worried the water is damaging his home and is afraid of mold. A test to check for mold would cost $70, which he doesn't have, he said.

After a meeting in December, ARC representatives agreed to drop the eviction complaint against Schultz and look into the flooding issue, he said. "But we haven't heard a thing," he said.

On Tuesday, ARC spokesman Derek Wilson said homeowners are responsible for flood zones issues. But he added he will have a representative follow up with Schultz to answer questions.

ARC operates 275 manufactured-home communities nationwide, including 23 in Utah.

Schultz, an Air Force veteran of the Korean War, said he is looking into solutions while he organizes the park's homeowners association. He hopes members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars join him on Capitol Hill next year, he said, because so many manufactured home owners are vets.

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