Attorney General Tong Launches Inquiry into Sun Communities Over Beechwood Community Concerns, Submits Testimony in Support of Mobile Manufactured Home Park Residents
(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong today sent a letter to Sun Community management opening an inquiry into longstanding property management concerns at Beechwood Community mobile manufactured home park in Killingworth. Attorney General Tong additionally submitted testimony regarding two legislative proposals seeking to ensure mobile home parks in Connecticut remain both affordable and well-managed.
Over the past year, the Office of the Attorney General has received numerous complaints from Beechwood Community residents in Killingworth who have seen sustained, escalating rent hikes despite deteriorating conditions. Beechwood residents, like many residents of mobile manufactured home parks, own their homes but pay monthly rent for the lot of land they sit on. That rent covers various common amenities, including property maintenance.
Beechwood was acquired by Sun Communities in 2019, one of several real estate investment trusts that have acquired hundreds of mobile home parks across the country. The result has been increased lot rent and decreased responsiveness to tenant needs, according to residents.
“Residents everywhere—regardless of the type of property—deserve affordable, safe, appropriately maintained housing. I fully support the Housing Committee in their efforts to ensure Connecticut’s mobile home communities remain an affordable option,” Attorney General Tong states in his testimony.
Attorney General Tong visited Beechwood in November to meet with residents. He heard complaints from dozens of residents regarding community-wide septic problems, among other concerns. Beechwood tenants reported that Sun has not kept up with regular septic tank maintenance, and as a result tenants are experiencing sewage back-ups into their sinks, toilets, and bathtubs. Many of these tenants are elderly and disabled. Some have paid out of pocket to have plumbers address problems resulting from these septic backups. One disabled resident complained of a large beehive in front of her porch. The management company said they did not have money in their budget to remove it. The tenant paid herself to get it removed. Another tenant complained that her stairs lacked rails and were loose. She reported that maintenance agreed they were dangerous, but management has yet to fix them.
In a letter to Sun Communities Regional Vice President Kathy Ecke, the Office of the Attorney General cites state statutes regulating the duties of mobile home park management, including maintenance of common areas in a “clean and safe condition” and the maintenance of water and sewer lines in “good working order.” The letter lists ten properties where residents have complained of septic-related problems and asks Sun for records of all complaints regarding those properties as well as records of septic tank maintenance. The letter further asks Sun to describe how the company is meeting its obligations to its residents under state law.