Lancaster Tenants Fear Coronavirus Outbreak at Mobile Home Park, Sue Owners

The worry about the virus exists because with a lack of heat and hot water, the tenants cannot obey Gov. Gavin Newsom's order to shelter-in-place, the suit states.

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Tenants who live at a Lancaster mobile home park are suing over "deplorable living conditions'' they allege make the location ripe for a coronavirus outbreak.

The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit names as defendants Roseian I LLC, identified as the owners of the Terra Nova Mobile Home Park in the 1600 block of East Avenue I; Park Avenue Asset Management Inc., the park management company; and Scott and Marilyn Monroe, who manage the park on behalf of the other defendants.

The suit filed Thursday alleges nuisance, negligence and breach of contract. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages and a court order directing the defendants to correct the allegedly defective conditions.

A representative for the owners or managers did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

As dozens of states relax social distancing guidelines and allow businesses to reopen, health experts are warning a second wave of COVID-19 infections could be on the horizon. Thirty-two states have begun lifting restrictions as crowds flock to beaches, parks and shopping malls over the weekend.

The plaintiffs' attorneys work for Basta Inc., a tenants' rights law firm. They state in the suit that about 300 tenants -- 79 families -- live at the Terra Nova and that most are low-income, Spanish-speaking Latinos. The attorneys also say many of the residents are young children, older adults and people with physical and mental disabilities, many of whom they allege are being subjected to "deplorable living conditions.''

On March 19, Southern California Gas Co. shut off the main gas line to the entire park due to recurring leaks, the suit states. Three days later, a mobile home exploded after the park's maintenance worker made one of many unlicensed repairs to the "substandard'' gas line system, the suit alleges.

"Since then, residents have not only been living in fear of another explosion, but also a COVID-19 outbreak,'' according to the lawsuit.

The worry about the virus exists because with a lack of heat and hot water, the tenants cannot obey Gov. Gavin Newsom's order to shelter-in-place, the suit states.

"On the contrary, they have to go outside and interact with their neighbors for their very survival,'' the suit says. "Not surprisingly, many residents, especially young children, have already fallen sick with cold and flu-like symptoms.''

The park's plumbing systems are not properly maintained, causing sewage backups that spill onto road, spaces and common areas, creating a foul smell, the suit alleges.

The substandard electrical system causes blackouts and makes it hard to run more than one appliance at a time, according to the complaint, which also alleges the water is discolored at times and the pressure is too low.

The plaintiffs also allege that cockroaches, ants, mice and termites roam the park, the landscaping is untidy and poor security allows burglaries and drug activity to take place.

The tenants complained to the defendants about the conditions, but any repairs that were made were inadequate and those who spoke out were threatened, harassed, intimidated or evicted, the suit alleges.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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