CEDAR CITY – Residents of the Mammoth Mobile Estates in Cedar City picketed owners Friday claiming they are “slumlords” who refuse to fix important issues with their homes despite numerous requests, a protest, Landlords say, is unfounded and coming from tenants who are angry about an eviction notice for nonpayment of rent.
The group of disgruntled tenants gathered together in front of the mobile home park with brightly colored signs that read: “They want rent… *We want floors we can’t fall through!! *We want MOLD removed!! *We want CODE VIOLATIONS FIXED!!”
The protest was posted to social media via Facebook on the Iron County Rant and Rave page and the comments started flowing in from previous residents who said they had similar experiences.
“I used to live there,” Onna Spivey wrote. “My trailers ceiling was falling in there was a giant crack between the porch and front door where my baby had fallen in several times one of my rooms light bulbs dangled from the ceiling the toilets weren’t attached to the floor in either bathroom none of the windows sealed properly. I can keep going.”
Protestors at the park had similar complaints:
Holes in floors, leaky pipes, noncompliance with American Disabilities Act standards, drooping ceilings that leak when it rains, broken appliances, mold, back doors without stairs leaving no way to escape in case of a fire, broken stairs, walls that bowed due to heavy moisture and separated from the trailer so you could see outside, swamp coolers that have mold inside of them or do not cool the residence, open mobile home skirts that allow for pests to enter and pets to escape and carpets that are still filthy from previous tenants who lived in a unit.
It’s time to take a stand and demand that mobile home park owners Kyle and Kolby Pulsipher fix the ongoing problems once and for all, residents Ryan and Brooke Langhans said.
Allegations of negligence
The Langhans moved into their unit in April, they said, and since then, they have had nothing but problems. Problems, they said, that have contributed to their 2-year-old daughter’s grand mal seizures.
“When we moved in I had complaints, like the sink,” Brooke Langhans said. “When you turn it on, and I explained to them, when you turn it on, water just runs down.”
When maintenance men came and looked at the sink she was not home, she said, and they told her there was nothing wrong with it.
“I said, ‘did you turn it on?’” Brooke Langhans said. “(They told me) ‘Well no.’ Well, it only happens when you turn it on.”
Walking into the bathroom and turning on the sink, after only a moment it was clear to see water consistently leaking from the pipes underneath the sink.
Ryan Langhans pointed to the wall in the hallway where the paneling was pulling away from the wall under the swamp cooler. The swamp cooler was full of mold when they moved in, he said, and when they replaced the old, mold-infested pads inside of the unit, he got in trouble with the owner for doing so.
“He got mad at me for even changing the pads,” Ryan Langhans said. “He told us that, that was uncalled for and we should not have changed them.”
Their little girl has had three grand mal seizures since the couple moved into their unit, Brooke Langhans said, explaining that she believes the seizures were brought on by the faulty cooler and mold spores that were distributed throughout the trailer every time the unit is on.
Previous to moving into Mammoth Mobile Estates, Brooke Langhans said, their 2-year-old had one seizure that was brought on after receiving a vaccination. Their little girl had been six months seizure-free before moving in to the unit where they currently live, she said.
“(Doctors) said try to keep her cool, make sure you’re not in an environment with mold, and keep her sodium levels higher,” Ryan Langhans said. They were also told to wait to give their daughter her next inoculation until she was older so her system would be more resilient, he said.
Having lived in Mammoth Mobile Estates for three years, resident Dorothy Draper said, she has lived in two separate units – both with continuous issues that go unaddressed – one causing her to injure herself and become bound to a walking boot, hindering her mobility.
The ceiling in her current trailer leaks and water comes in when it rains, Draper said. She has been asking them to fix it, along with the broken swamp cooler, since she moved into it over a year ago, she said, but so far, nothing has been done.
“It rained back in July,” She said. “And when it rains my kitchen floor gets wet.”
Waking up that rainy morning, Draper said, she walked into her kitchen unaware of the water that had pooled on the kitchen floor and slipped and fell. This happened twice that month, she said, but still, nothing has been done about the issue.
Draper also claimed there was mold in her home. She said she tested it and then filed a complaint with the Southwest Utah Public Health Department in Cedar City, she said.
If these problems exist, Mammoth Mobile Home Office Manager Sara Smith said, tenants have not complained to the office about it. There is a work order procedure that requires renters to file a request with her in the office so that the maintenance man can be given a list of jobs to be done, she said.
Many of the residents go directly to the maintenance man, she said, and usually while he is already working on other jobs for the day making it nearly impossible to track and fix all of the problems the tenants are complaining about.
“Repairs are typically handled within a week,” Smith said, explaining that sometimes turnaround time can depend on the situation. “(But) when you order parts for appliances, if they are older appliances, sometimes it take a month to get those parts in.”
The Langhans were served with a 3-day pay or vacate earlier in the month, Smith said, and though Brooke Langhans said she would come in to make arrangements to pay, she never did.
“As soon as they received the summons of complaint is when they started going door to door knocking on people’s doors,” Smith said.
The 3-day notice to pay or vacate was issued to the Langhans on Aug. 5, Smith said, but she waited nearly three weeks before filing the summons of complaint, because the Langhans had always been on time with their rent before and she was hoping to be able to work things out with them.
A counter-protest was formed outside of the office to the park. Several residents and employees gathered with a sign of their own: “Kyle and Sadie (Kyle Pulsipher’s wife) are great landlords, God bless them, We love them!”
Those who stood by the sign expressed their devotion to the owners of the trailer court and said they have been nothing but good to them in the years they have lived there.
“As long as you tell Sara in the office that something’s come up, you know, and I can’t pay you the rent, she’ll work with you,” two-year resident Crystal Nay said. “Since we’ve lived here, this place has really been excellent.”
On more than one occasion when she has had an issue with her home, Nay said, the problem was fixed within days.
The Pulsiphers have been very good to her through the years, resident and employee Sherry Smith said. Smith cleans trailers when people move out, and helps with lawn maintenance, she said.
There have been complaints about lawns not being mowed, she said, but those are from homes where the owners have informed her or the office that they have had dogs die from parvo. There is a more in-depth procedure for dealing with these properties, she said, and because of the potential to spread the deadly disease to other pets in the area they have discontinued maintenance on those units’ lawn care.
No maintenance, no rent money
The rent money has been withheld, Ryan Langhans said, because of the issues they have been complaining about for months to no avail.
They still have the rent money, he said, picking up a donation jar from the table where they were protesting and shaking it to expose all of the $20 bills on the bottom.
The donation jar is for those who wish to help the residents get an attorney to fight the Pulsiphers, Ryan Langhans said, explaining that they have received $36 while picketing, but the other $650 was their cash for rent.
“We agreed to rent a house in livable condition,” he said, “not one that was nearly condemned.”
Not paying rent, because of a landlords delinquency in addressing a matter can actually cause more harm to a tenant than help, Martin Blaustein, managing attorney of Utah Legal Services and chair of the Housing Task Force committee said.
“What happens is, they would be subject to eviction,” Blaustein said, “and they wouldn’t be able to raise the issue of the Fit Premises Act if the matter goes into court.”
Many times the tenants spend the rent money, which a judge would determine as not an act that dwells within good faith territory, he said, but where the Langhans still have their rent money and have not spent it, that could potentially play in their favor if the matter should make it to court.
Most of the time however, Blaustein said, the matter never does make it to court, because typically tenants in these situations are on a month to month rental agreement and are left scrambling to find a place to move into because of eviction and all of the resources that could have gone into fighting it, wind up being spent on survival.
The Langhans intend to stay put and fight this issue, they said.
In response to the summons of complaint the couple drafted a letter of complaint and went door to door through the park talking to neighbors about their concerns and had them also sign the bottom of the letter so it could act as a petition for improvements.
The letter and petition were filed with Iron County Courts on Friday.
“This is what it comes down to,” Mammoth Mobile Estates co-owner Kyle Pulsipher said. “If you don’t have a job and you’re not paying your rent, you have to leave – and if you don’t have a job and you have nothing else to do, you protest your landlord, because he’s the nasty guy that needs to collect money from you.”
Of the protestors who were out front of the mobile home park Friday, all but the Langhans said their rent has been paid in full and they have never missed a payment.
As of Friday afternoon, the Langhans have received support by way of signatures from residents who live in 20 of the 52 trailers within the park, and additional signatures from previous tenants who heard about the protest and showed up to offer support.
Previous history for Kyle Pulisipher
The Pulsiphers own a number of properties throughout the Cedar City area, including Mammoth Mobile Estates, Country Aire RV Park, Cedar City Travelodge, Raindance Laundromat Cleaners and Historic Cedar Theatre.
In 2005 they were fined $110,000 for fraudulent loan activities in Clark County, Nevada, according to an article in the Las Vegas Sun.
Kyle Pulsipher was charged in Iron County on Jan. 1 with failure to obtain a business license for the Historic Cedar Theatre, a class B misdemeanor according to court documents. An arraignment is scheduled for September 9 at 2:30 p.m. in the Iron County Justice building, 82 N. 100 East, Suite 101.
In January 2013, Kyle Pulispher was charged with theft, a class A misdemeanor, in regards to an issue with a tenant and her cats. He pleaded no contest and agreed to a 6-month plea in abeyance, according to court documents.
In a letter of apology to the tenant, Kyle Pulsipher wrote, “We felt we were justified in removing some of your cats from the premises as your contract did not allow the number of cats you had. However, we could have been more sensitive to the situation and worked with you rather than against you.”
Kyle Pulsipher was also convicted of theft, a class B misdemeanor, in 2012, court documents reported.
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