“Sheer depression and chaos”: Residents of Sauk City mobile home community given 31 days to vacate
SAUK CITY, Wis. (WMTV) - Residents of a Sauk City mobile home community have until the end of January to vacate the property and remove their homes, according to those who live there.
Resident Bianca Gerambio says on December 30 around 9:30 p.m. a man served her husband legal papers detailing the property manager’s decision to terminate leases and close the community due to escalating operating costs. For Gerambio, her husband and the entire mobile home community, the decision came as a shock.
“[There was] nothing that would indicating why someone would want to kick someone out in the middle of winter,” she said.
Gerambio and her husband bought their home in February 2020, nearly two years ago. She said they love the Sauk City area, being close to the river and were intrigued by the “Tiny Home” movement. This community was perfect for her small family and a smart financial move.
“Due to finances, we felt it would be a financially smart decision to be renting in this capacity but attempt to buy our own trailer to have some freedom,” she said. “We were planning on being here 5 to 7 years, that was the intent. We’ve only been in the trailer two years now, and this is what we have to deal with.”
But as their two-year home-buying anniversary approaches, Germabio and her husband are forced to leave the quiet river-side community and look for another home. They will also have to figure out how to remove their mobile home from the property on their own.
“Not only do they want us out, they want us to attempt to move the trailers,” she explained.
Gerambio’s neighbor is Kody Schmitt. His home and the few others on the street are some of the original property structures, and while they are in a mobile home community, he says moving them off the property will likely be impossible.
“A lot of the homes here, they just can’t be moved,” Schmitt said. “It’s like a house of cards, if you try move them they will topple over.”
Schmitt has lived in the community for three years. Like Gerambio, the location and price point were a draw. He bought his trailer with the hopes of eventually selling it and using the money for a down payment on a home. That won’t be an option now.
“They [legal team] stated economically it wasn’t beneficial for the owners to keep this alive, but why all of the sudden? They just decided when this place has been here for years,” Schmitt said.
According to Schmitt the community has stood for 60 years. He says some of his neighbors are elderly or have a family of kids that will make relocating in a month extremely difficult.
“Twenty-nine days is not a very long time to figure it out,” he said. “This just sucks, it really sucks. I wish people had more compassion. But that’s the reality of life. People will be people. At the end of the day we all have to figure it out.”
Schmitt says he is looking at rental options but nothing comes remotely close to the price he is paying now in Sauk City. He will likely return to Madison but the “insane” rent prices are deterring.
Looking back, Gerambio says she regrets purchasing her home at all. She is suspicious the property owner had been considering closing the community for some time, and is resentful she was not warned about the decision to close in a year when she purchased the home.
“If we would have know there was some sort of sale we may have rented but definitely would not have purchased a trailer outright,” she said. She will now attempt to consolidate the debt into one lump sum or tie the loan into her new mortgage shoudl she buy a home.
“[It’s been] sheer depression and chaos,” Gerambio said. “It’s been terribly sad. It’s been the worst holiday I have seen. You can just tell people are sad. Definitely sadness, chaos and an urge to correct it so we aren’t homeless.”
When reached for comment, the legal group representing the property owner provided this statement on behalf of their client:
The Lake WI 2, LLC manufactured home community will be closing because it is not economical viable.
The decision was prompted by previous and future Increases in the cost of operating the community.
The residents of the community have been on month-to-month leases. Lake WI 2 LLC has given them
notice terminating their leases, based on the pending closure of the community, as provided by
Wisconsin’s manufactured home community rules.
This is the only comment which Lake WI 2, LLC will offer.
January 3, 2022
According to the notice provided to residents, the property manager’s contract will also be terminated once the community closes. The community is being removed from the housing market, however it is unlcear what will happen to the property once residents vacate the 24 homes.
To help residents of this Sauk City community, Schmitt has set up a Go Fund Me. Donations will go to families as they attempt to make a transition out of the park.
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