Tavares, FL Jan 5, 2016
As readers of this blog know, we have been researching elder abuse and other actions taken by a Tavares Mobile home park owner to stress out owners of mobile homes in his park. The park owner changed the land use of the park in order to close it and build a 120+ unit retirement apartment complex. He issued an illegal eviction notice, then rescinded it, then stated at a Tavares City Council meeting in December he would issue eviction notices as soon as the State approved the changes (which happened the end of December).
Now, the owner, Robert Tamburro has installed survey stakes in order "to tear down the park", but had a third party verbally inform some tenants (not in writing) he would not issue the legal eviction notice for another six months. Some tenants are so stressed out, they are moving out and giving the title to their mobile homes to the park owner so he won't bill them further. The park owner now has five of those homes he has listed for sale with a broker, thus he profits from intimidating tenants to move out.
Today, the Daily Commercial published a great front page article written by Theresa Campbell explaining the stress caused to tenants and lack of cooperation of the owner of the mobile home park, Robert Tamburro.
Tenants of the Three Palms Mobile Home Park at 15007 Old HWY 441 in Tavares, FL face constant stress from threats of evictions and lawsuits without getting help from local authorities to minimize the abuse. Florida requires that evictions for mobile home park closures give six months notice. However, the owner instead harasses tenants hoping they move and donate their homes to him (a process called abandonment).
I have much more information which will be published in several articles.
The owner has three other mobile home parks, including one in Lady Lake where he has practiced the same type of intimidation in the last two years.
Above is an early picture of some of the tenants who are angry at the Park owner’s methods of intimidating and harassing them to get them to move out and donate their home to him.
No elected official in local County or Tavares City government will help them except by providing referrals to other agencies, so it seems pressure on the state agency that governs mobile home parks is needed.
This is not a property rights issue, but the issue of ethics and methods used to destroy equity in mobile homes and stressing senior citizens (or snowbirds) to abandon their homes and give them to the park owner to sell or rent out again. He is an attorney and a complaint has been filed with the Bar by a former Lady Lake tenant who is exceptionally angry how their “dream” of living in Florida was destroyed from predatory behavior to tenants once they move in to his park. She also filed a legal motion to delay his eviction notice for one elderly tenant and the judge upheld her complaint. Other complaints to the BAR about his practices are pending the move of tenants from the Three Palms park. Attempts to locate a pro-bono or contingency attorney to defend the low income, elderly tenants from constant threats of lawsuits by the park owner, Robert Tamburro, are ongoing.
We have talked to the Lake County Board and the Tavares City Council and not one elected official has even visited them to understand the daily harassment seniors and Veterans are going through. We have, however, obtained helpful referrals from the County Community Services staff to other organizations for the residents that could provide helpful services or launch elder abuse and abuse of disabled hearings. The problem is it is a quagmire of agencies. As one tenant said "Turtle eggs get more coordinated government help than seniors in Mobile Home parks."
The park owner, Robert Tamburro, is currently stressing out home owners who plan to move by stating that hidden in their original application to move to the park is a requirement that leases are automatically renewed for an annual period. My sources say no one has copies of the application or any lease, and do not know about it. So the owner says he will bill anyone who moves for the rest of 2016. That is the type of stress he puts on people, but then won’t talk to tenants or even the Daily Commercial.
Mobile home parks are governed by “Chapter 723” of the Florida statutes and the State agency over Mobile Home parks apparently has the only power to investigate mobile home park violations and FiscalRangers is working to get them involved. I have documented numerous issues that need investigation. Our local Florida legislators are in session now, but after the session ends in March, I will ask them to champion reform of the Chapter 723 to fix the loopholes that allow predatory mobile park owners to intimidate, harass and stress out home owners. The ability of mobile home owners to maintain equity in their homes should be strengthened. We are not talking about deadbeat tenants or obnoxious tenants here.
Lake County needs some elected officials and state agency staff to stand up to this park owner. Who will do it? If you or friends live in a mobile home park in Florida, this could happen to them due to the lack of enforcement and investigations by State or local agencies. Florida, including Lake County, may NOT be the best place to retire if you buy a mobile home in a park with space rent fees.