DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) - Congresswoman, Abby Finkenauer, is joining the fight against predatory practices against mobile home communities.
In October, residents of the Table Mound mobile home community met with local lawmakers about a sudden increase in expenses. Residents claim they saw their rent increase as much as 60 percent when their community was purchased by Impact Communities.
In a previous report, Dubuque County Supervisor, Dave Baker, said rent was previously $270 a month with water, sewage and trash included. Now, rent has increased to $420 with no utilities included.
Earlier this month, Finkenauer called for an investigation into Impact Communities' business operations.
"Well now we are left with things that are legal but there are no protections in place for folks that are in these vulnerable positions in manufactured homes or mobile homes who do not or cannot move their homes," said Finkenauer. "When it can cost them $5,000 to move their homes to another place, that's prohibitory and it puts them in a very vulnerable position."
In the following months, residents formed the Dubuque Mobile Homes Community Association. Their president, Carrie Presley, said the spike in additional fees, such as water and trash, has forced some of their neighbors to move.
"This is a home, there's pictures on the wall. This is a family," said Presley. "Just because it ain't built with bricks or sticks doesn't mean that it's not what's inside that counts."
Finkenauer said Impact Communities practices are predatory. And communities like Table Mound are being exploited by big corporations.
"What we're talking about here are values on how we treat people in this state and in this country. It's not how we treat our neighbors," said Finkenauer. "And the predatory practices we've seen from these out-of-state companies, it's not right."
Finkenauer wants to introduce a bipartisan bill that would protect mobile home residents. She said similar actions are happening to mobile home communities across the country.
The investigation into Impact Communities is ongoing. The Dubuque Mobile Home Community Association said they will continue their fight against their practices.