Harmony Closing Mobile Home Park. Future Use for Land Unknown.
A north Fresno mobile home park is set to close within 12 months, with several residents receiving new eviction notices last week.
Harmony Communities sent the notice to several renters demanding they leave the park within the next year. Some residents did not receive the new notice because they are already fighting the landlord on existing eviction notices.
The notice reads: “La Hacienda Mobile Estates, LLC … is exercising its right to terminate your tenancy for the purpose of permanently closing the Park.”
“We all knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time,” said a resident on Monday who did not want her name published.
Rumors were floating that Harmony would sell the land to Derrel’s Mini Storage next door.
“This is a strong possibility. All options are on the table,” Harmony Communities COO Sherrie Johnston said in an email to GV Wire.
But Derrel’s Mini Storage CEO Derrel Ridenour texted GV Wire that he is “not interested.”[This story has been updated to include Derrel’s Mini Storage response.]
Harmony is Selling
Harmony Communities, a mobile home park operator based in Stockton, took over the facility in 2022 — it was previously known as Trails End — after neglect from its previous owner. The facility received increased scrutiny after Ronald Richardson died in a fire at Trails End in 2021. Richardson’s family filed a wrongful death suit against the previous owner, which is ongoing.
Residents were worried about their future, given several published reports of how Harmony treated other residents in properties that it manages.
“We have come to the sad realization that the structural issues facing La Hacienda have created a situation in which it makes the most sense to close the park,” Johnston said. “While unfortunate, sometimes land uses become obsolete and must be repositioned for the betterment of the entire community.”
Harmony plans on listing the property to either find a partner or sell the land “to someone with the vision to re-concept this land in a way that is more compatible with the surrounding community.”
The land at 104 E. Sierra Avenue used to be zoned for a trailer park. It is now zoned as “CMX,” corridor/center mixed-use. It is unclear when the land was rezoned.
Resident Patricia Shawn did not receive the notice, because Harmony is currently attempting to evict her. She said it was because of an unkempt front yard, which looked normal as of Monday afternoon.
“I’m going to stay here and fight to the end,” Shawn said.
Even the park’s manager received the notice, other residents say. The manager said he plans to move out by September.
Related Story: Trails End Tenants’ Attorney Shines Light on Criminal Past of Harmony ...
Resident: Surprised, but Not Surprised
Aurelia Franquez and her family received the 12-month notice.
She said receiving the notice was “shocking.”
“It was a surprise. Because, you know, nobody expected that. But then at the same time, we already like knew how Harmony was. We did … research on them and all that stuff. We kind of expected it, but at the same time we didn’t,” Franquez said.
She said her family is already looking to move.
“We’re disappointed because we fought really hard to stay here. We went to the city council meetings, you know, we wanted our voices to be heard, but obviously, it wasn’t enough,” Franquez said.
Most units pay about $300 in rent. Several residents told GV Wire that Harmony tried to nearly double the rent.
“They did try and they were only able to raise it $20,” Franquez said.
City Councilman Garry Bredefeld — who represents La Hacienda residents — said he is “looking into it.”
Franquez says several La Hacienda residents plan to attend Thursday’s Fresno City Council meeting.
“This community is really full of loving people, sweet people. Like we all just mind our business. We never want to start any trouble. We’re just a regular neighborhood,” she said.
Legal Requirements to Shut Down
Mariah Thompson, an attorney with California Rural Legal Assistance, represents several La Hacienda residents in eviction court — including Patricia Shawn.
“Residents knew that sale of this Park to these owners would result in displacement and homelessness, and they were right,” Thompson said in an email to GV Wire.
Thompson tells GV Wire that state law requires mobile homes to file paperwork with the city known as a Closure Impact Report. To her knowledge, such a report has not been filed.
Harmony would also be responsible for relocation costs, Thompson said.
“It begs the question — why did Harmony acquire the Park just to shut it down? Why keep filing new evictions if the Park is headed towards closure? In San Rafael, they announced a park closure after a Court ruled they were required to comply with rent control. Here, they have given no justification. The impact this will have is obvious — residents who proposed to buy the park themselves or sell it to a nonprofit will instead be forced from their homes with nowhere to go,” Thompson said.
Sherrie Johnston with Harmony Communities answered the question when asked by GV Wire.
“We have developed a much better understanding of the issues over the last year,” Johnston said.