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How CT's expanded 'just cause' eviction bill would impact mobile home residents

Aerial view of trailer park in Autumn in VT (Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Joe Sohm / Visions of America
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Getty
FILE: Connecticut’s “Just Cause” eviction law has some mobile homeowners concerned about how it could affect them. The llaw protects residents who are at least 62-years-old or have a disability, and live in a building with five or more units, from groundless evictions.

As tenants and housing advocates rally across the state in support of a bill that would expand Connecticut’s “Just Cause” eviction law, some mobile homeowners are concerned about how it could affect them.

Mobile homeowners own the home, but rent the land on which it sits. The bill would enable mobile home owners to rally against rent increases.

Carol Sembersky, a Plymouth mobile home resident, says mobile home residents deserve more protections, especially from what they consider unfair cost rises.

“That is something that is worth fighting for, because they think that they could do anything and everything to us residents, because we have no rights,” Sembersky said. “We have no say. We have nobody to back us up.”

The bill would have the greatest impact on apartment and mobile home renters, rather than mobile homeowners, according to Rafie Podolsky, an attorney at Connecticut Legal Services.

“It provides some overlay protection, particularly in regard to how rent increases can be challenged. But to a large extent, park residents already have those rights,” Podolsky said.

Housing advocates are looking to broaden the rights of tenants through an expansion of the “just cause” law. It would limit the grounds on which landlords can evict.

Connecticut’s “Just Cause” eviction law protects residents who are at least 62 years old or have a disability, and live in a building with five or more units, from groundless evictions.

The proposed bill would expand existing law to all residents of buildings with five or more units, regardless of age of disability. It would also prevent compliant tenants from being evicted without a legal justification.

“Its impact is relatively small,” Podolsky said. “It's a more significant impact if you rent an apartment in a big building.”

Opponents of the bill say a preferred alternative to expanding “just cause” is finding ways to increase housing stock.

For mobile homeowners, it would grant more ability to rally against an increase in monthly plot rentals and ensure a reasonable rent increase was employed across the park.

There are nearly 12,000 mobile homes in Connecticut, according to the housing advocacy nonprofit Partnership for Strong Communities.

The bill is awaiting a vote by the state senate. It is unknown whether the it will be called for a vote.

Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.