On Dec. 21, a group of mobile homeowners filed a federal class-action lawsuit claiming real estate giant Equity LifeStyle Properties (NYSE:ELS) has ignored decades of complaints over failed drainage issues, leaving residents to deal with frequent flooding, mud, injuries, damaged mobile homes and cars, and more, in dereliction of their duties as mobile home park operators and owners.
The suit alleges ELS failed to maintain the Heritage Plantation property since 2003 by ignoring code violations, failing to maintain the park’s buildings and common areas, and ignoring a failing stormwater drainage system causing severe flooding during ordinary rainfall.
Heritage Plantation is located in Vero Beach and has over 400 homes across its nearly 70-acre campus.
The complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, notes that ELS has been put on notice of the park’s various deficiencies, including citations and fines by Indian River County concerning the failed stormwater system.
Residents and homeowners at Heritage Plantation mobile home park have suffered economic damages, according to the suit. At least two homeowners have incurred more than $10,000 in fees replacing their flooring that is persistently damaged by the three-feet high floodwaters that enter the home, only to find that their floor will need to be replaced again after the next bad flood.
In addition to the stress of frequent household damages, residents face the physical impact of injuries caused by muddy accumulations. Heritage Plantation is an age-qualified community, meaning its residents are over the age of 55 and face additional risks in the park’s slippery and unsafe environment, frequently riddled with sink holes and exposed electrical wiring.
The lawsuit seeks to represent all former and current residents who leased a lot in the Heritage Plantation mobile home park.