Tension rises between property owner and mobile home tenants after eviction notices

Several tenants gathered and formed a group.

WEXFORD COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) — A Mesick RV and mobile home park is being ordered to stay open, despite its owner’s efforts to close a portion of it.

Pat Sniff, owner of Pat’s RV Park, says he needs to close the mobile home portion because of financial reasons. Sniff says his father, who originally owned the property, passed away and left him with a lot of unfinished business.

Sniff's attorney, Nathan Piwowarski, says that’s why he raised the rent for mobile homes from $200 to $250 a month.

After many of the tenants did not return the signed leases, he said he had to increase the price to $400 a month.

That caused several tenants to gather and form a group.

One of the tenants’ attorneys, Chris Campbell, says they planned to discuss a compromise with Sniff.

Piwowarski says the tenants sent his client a letter. Several days later, Sniff decided to close the park, sending out eviction notices after much thought and remorse.

The tenant took Sniff to court. His attorney claims the eviction notices were sent out of retaliation for the group working against Sniff.

A Wexford County judge ruled in the tenant’s favor.

“The judge found that the landlord in fact intended to retaliate against the tenant and punish the tenants for organizing and challenge his authority, present a lease and demand that it would be signed,” said Campbell.

Piwowarski says because of financial setbacks, there is a possibility that Sniff not be able to operate the RV portion of the park this season.

He said the rent increase was due to some mismanagement prior to Mr. Sniff taking over the business.

Piwowarski said his client still plans to close the mobile home portion and convert the entire property into a seasonal RV park in the future.

"The Sniff family did not decide lightly to close the park,” Piwowarski said. “We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision because it is forcing the Sniff family to run a money-losing business.”

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