Rental property tenants form union, voice opposition to Horner
Members of the Lawrence-based Kansas Tenants Union held a special meeting last Monday at the Lawrence Public Library.
Their agenda was simple with a strong message: the tenants of mobile home parks owned and operated by Tom Horner Jr. are tired of how they're treated and they're fighting back.
The group also expressed concerns for Eudora's future and the prospect of Horner's planned 140-acre spread of manufactured homes in west Eudora.
"With our own experience in Lawrence, we can guess to tell you how long your mobile home will be there 10 years," said Danette Seymour, KTU president. "Then all the homes will be moved out and a Home Depot put in there."
Debra Housworth is a tenant of Gaslight Mobile Home Park located at 31st and Iowa. She is among those evicted to make room for a Home Depot retail hardware store coming to Lawrence. Housworth said Eudorans should be careful when Horner proposes affordable housing as a selling point to bringing a manufactured park to the city. The attraction was nice, she said, but now she's being forced to move her mobile home after living there since late 1996.
"Mobile homes are not safe if you rent the lot," Housworth said. "I don't not encourage anyone to buy a mobile home. Seriously, Eudora does not need another trailer home park, especially from Horner."
Housworth said she plans on fighting the eviction. Housworth said according to the Mobile Home Residential Act, a tenant must be notified with a handwritten notice 60 days from the first day rent is due, unless stated otherwise in the rental agreement. When Housworth signed the agreement, it stated 30 days overriding the law.
"What good is the law if it's not enforceable?" she asked.
Tuesday at midnight was when Housworth was supposed to have her trailer out of Gaslight Park.
Angela Hedges, KTU vice-president said a landlord such as Horner with that much control offers no haven for a homeowner wanting to rent land.
"But that's scary he can have that kind of control because he can go in and yank out anyone he wants to," Hedges said. "There's no security for those people."
Members of KTU plan on attending future city meetings on rezoning Gaslight from residential to commercial. Seymour said the group would be there to speak against the rezoning and Horner and would show at future meetings in Eudora regarding Horner to do the same.
"If we can at least stop him in Lawrence, that may set the standard for Eudora as well," Seymour said.
Horner refused to comment for this report.