The Residents of a Commerce Street Trailer Park Are Getting Booted, But They Won't Go Quietly

CarlosQuintanillaMobileHomePark.jpg
Facebook
Carlos Quintanilla and residents at Dallas West Mobile Home Park.
The residents of the Dallas West Mobile Home Park on Commerce Street probably should have seen the writing on the wall almost a decade ago, when the Dallas City Council rezoned the property and turned their trailers and RVs into "non-conforming uses." If not then, when the Oak Cliff hipsters began flocking to Chicken Scratch.

It was certainly pretty clear when The Dallas Morning News reported last month that the property is being eyed for a posh new apartment complex. Nevertheless, the dozens of families who live there were surprised this week to find yellow notices on their door telling them they had 60 days to get out.

The residents are upset. So is longtime activist Carlos Quintanilla, who led them in protest at Dallas City Hall on Thursday. Univision was there.

"They told them, 'You have to vacate in two months. If you don't vacate, we're gonna evict you,'" Quintanilla says, describing the decision variously as "shameful," "disgusting" and "bullshit."

Randall White, who represents the trailer park's owner, an outfit called West Dallas Property Partners, acknowledges that the residents have been asked to leave by August 31 as the property is "readied for sale," but he paints things in a different light.

"All of the residents have lease agreements that have 30-day-notice clauses in them," he says. "The owner wanted to go above and beyond what would be required in this circumstance."

To that end, White helped organize a community meeting earlier this week that featured representatives from the Dallas Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity as well as information on nearby trailer parks so residents can get help relocating.

But Quintanilla says 60 days is too brief a window for the families who have lived there for decades. He would have liked more advance notice, and it would have been nice if the developer would establish a relocation fund to help ease the pain. "Let's talk to the children. These kids grew up there, they've lived there for 15, 20 years. These individuals have paid their rent like clockwork. ... These people, you talk to them, they've been there for a long, long time."

White isn't unsympathetic to their plight, but he says the owners feel they have acted fairly.

"Certainly in any situation where there is change, it unsettles folks," he says. "But the reality is, it's been widely known." He likened it to his own experience back in his 20s when the owner of his apartment complex came buy one day and told him it was being sold.

White, presumably, left when he was asked. But Quintanilla says the trailer park residents plan to stay and fight. "They're gonna have to come with bulldozers and sheriffs," he says. They'll also have to arm themselves with lawyers for the breach-of-contract suits Quintanilla says will be filed on behalf of each of the residents.

"This has angered me more than Farmers Branch. It's angered me more then Irving," he says. "Not as much as cheese heroin, but this angers me."

My Voice Nation Help
44 comments
amberly2you
amberly2you

"He likened it to his own experience back in his 20s when the owner of his apartment complex came buy one day and told him it was being sold." BUY should be BY.

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

Jeez the poor should just go die already or move to garland

govnor
govnor

Moral of this story:  If you're renting the land you're living on then something bad can happen.  Just ask the business owners in Dallas who become fairly successful and create traffic in questionable areas.  They're soon priced out of the market and go belly up (oak lawn).  If you don't own the property then you will be forced out at some point.

TexMarine
TexMarine

Why couldn't Carlos organize a mass migration and call on Dallas's "concerned citizens" to show up with their 5th wheels and relocate the trailers to Frisco?

anon
anon

It's not immediately obvious why there is any value in organizing this extortion attempt. But it's actually logical when you think about it. The owners here are a couple Park Cities guys who have owned this land as a close Dallas real estate play. It's a good deal for them, bad deal for the trailer owners. As other commenters have noted, trailer owners typically have mortgages on the trailers, which means at some point they had to qualify for a mortgage. So they're a sort of hybrid between renters and owners. The intent is for permanence from the perspective of the trailer owners/occupants, but the lease terms are unrealistically short term. Meanwhile, the land owners have people who will almost surely pay the rest each month, because they've got more to lose than your typical renter.

So what's my point here. My point is that low income renters are not engaged with the community, typically. But these trailer park residents are. That makes them a good target for activists looking to shake down a developer. And despite the protests of the armchair lawyers, I'm going to come down on the side that says the property owners will pay up to make this problem go away. The reason? Subsidies and zoning. Any developer looking to build something there will be seeking both. Maybe people don't think it's right, but do you think there's a chance in hell any project here gets subsidies when there are dozens of angry, evicted working class Hispanics showing up at every meeting to yell at the tactics of a couple Park Cities developers? Yes, this type of displacement happens all the time, but the white guys almost always pay the hush money. 

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

When it's time to go, it's time to go.

gm0622
gm0622

would be nice to see a picture or two of these mobile homes. If they have had a secondary roof installed, they can not be moved. If the rodent/insect barrier material has been cut or damaged, in most cases they can not be moved. Also, what is the condition of the tires, wheels, axles, and bearings?

Obummer
Obummer

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAAI NEED MY MOMMY!

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

They are lucky to get 60 days...it's usually 30.

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

"and it would have been nice if the developer would establish a relocation fund to help ease the pain."

More Obama voters looking for hand outs. Thinly veiled extortion attempt. 

Also this Mexican Jesse Jackson here is doing a real disservice to the gullible sheep he claims to be defending. 

But Quintanilla says the trailer park residents plan to stay and fight. "They're gonna have to come with bulldozers and sheriffs," he says. 


Ok great. The eviction on their credit report(or the stolen identity they use) will really help them relocate in the future. Short sighted idiots. 

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

So fucking what? Are they special because they lived in a trailer park for 15,20,30 years? No. Why should they receive special treatment? Oh because they are hispanics so the white liberal media will cry for them. 

If they spent half as much energy educating themselves as they do being pawns of the welfare state they might be able to afford to buy something other than a patch of trailer park for a month. 

arstubblefield
arstubblefield

Though I've never seen any of these folks' leases, I've signed leases for housing every year or two since I was 18.  As downtownworker pointed out, leasing property is, by its very nature, a temporary arrangement and subject to termination in accordance with the provisions of the lease.  Assuming the statement by Randall White is correct and these leases do include 30-day termination provisions, I think that Mr. Quintanilla may have a difficult time finding a lawyer to take on the threatened "breach-of-contract suits."  Earlier this year the new Rules of Civil Procedure (authorized during the last legislative session) went into effect.  Under the new Motion to Dismiss rule, if these folks sue the property owner and the property owner successfully moves to dismiss the suit(s) on the basis that their breach of contract claim is baseless (owing to the terms of the lease) then the court must award attorney's fees to the property owner.  Seems like a risky proposition; but, of course, it's entirely possible that there are presently-unknown aspects of this brewing dispute that could alter the risk equation.

downtownworker
downtownworker

Anyone who rents knows that their lease is their contract to live somewhere temporarily. Nobody wants to see people leave the place they've called home for years, but this was never theirs in the first place. 

I would understand the outrage if it were La Bajada homeowners, but this is not the same thing.

Daniel
Daniel

Aug. 31 is 77 days. 

Threeboys
Threeboys

By definition, their houses are on wheels.  Why should it take 60 days to move?

Bobtex
Bobtex

@StupidHippies "and it would have been nice if the developer would establish a relocation fund to help ease the pain."You mean, just like the relocation funds that Rick Perry gives to corporations with your tax dollars to seduce them to move to Texas?  Sounds like more Perry cronies looking for hand outs. It's good when Republicans do it, but it's bad when Democrats do it? 

PersistentID2345
PersistentID2345

@StupidHippies They been there that long then throw out rule of law property rights, they get amnesty and free Verizon La Conexion cable packages for life.

mewkins
mewkins

The landlord could go that route or he could just file a forceable detainer action against any holdover tenants, per Section 24.002 et seq. of the Property Code. He can get unpaid rent. And assuming the landowner gives the requisite notices, and he prevails, he's entitled to reasonable attorney's fees and all costs of court. Mr. Quintanilla may be doing these tenants a disservice by encouraging them to stay put.

Threeboys
Threeboys

While I agree with you on the fact that the landowner has right to evict with agreed upon notice, Mr Quintinalla will have no problem finding an abocado to handle his case based on racial descrimination.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

@Threeboys Depending on the type of trailer, they need to do the following:

1. Arrange for a new place to take the trailer. Something not easy to do in Dallas County.

2. Arrange for a moving service or vehicle capable of moving their home. This is not necessarily something cheap. And, depending on the age of the mobile home, it may not survive such a move. Mobile homes have mobile in their name, but they are only designed to be moved to one location and sit their for the rest of their lives.

MaxNoDifference
MaxNoDifference

@Threeboys It will take that long to roundup the dogs from underneath the porch and move the appliances off the front porch.  Oh, wait.  These aren't rednecks.  Nevermind.

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

@Bobtex @StupidHippies I would be perfectly fine with doing away with such subsidies. However, at least you can make the argument it has a positive benefit. Perhaps we could start a collection and relocate these low class poor people to California?

DSmithy3211
DSmithy3211

@Threeboys Yes, of course he'll find someone to represent them. But he'll also have to pay the property owner's attorney's fees... which won't be cheap.

Threeboys
Threeboys

It's a trailer park so one must assume so.

yoka
yoka

@StupidHippies @Threeboys Usually the residents are paying a mortgage on the trailer just like purchasing a house.  You should read (or re-read) Tim.Covington's comments; he's right, it isn't easy or inexpensive to relocate a trailer.  This isn't just losers wanting a handout.  The greedy developers behind all this should be compelled by law to help with their moving expenses if nothing else.  

Threeboys
Threeboys

Trailer. Mobile. Landlord

Move it. Lucky to have 60 days

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

@Tim.Covington @Threeboys "designed to be moved to one location and sit their for the rest of their lives."

Kinda like DMV workers?

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

@DSmithy3211 @yoka @MichaelinLH Yeah but you are forgetting they are minorities.. so in the eyes of the white liberal paternalists.. they are stupid and incapable of doing anything or thinking for themselves and must be saved. 

PersistentID2345
PersistentID2345

@yoka @StupidHippies @Threeboys The community organizer has found a group that easily forms a collective he can come in with his white hat on and represent a public face for. Notice there is no community organizer representing the large hispanic base of construction workers that are going to be idled if the project stalls.

DSmithy3211
DSmithy3211

@yoka @MichaelinLH Not that eminent domain would work here anyway, but so what? They don't own. That's the whole point. The property owner owns.

"[T]hrough no fault of their own"??? They are the ones who signed the lease! Living in a rental property in perpetuity is called...owning. 

If the issue is simply that 60 days to move out is insufficient, they should have negotiated this in their leases. Obviously, moving out of a trailer park requires more effort/money/planning than simply moving out of a conventional apartment, but this is something they should have considered when they entered into the lease.


/my 2 cents

Threeboys
Threeboys

These people have trailers on land owned by someone else. I would love to hear of your reasoning as to why the owner of the property cannot exercise his right to move his renters based on a lease they signed.

I would also like your answer to be based on fact, not emotion.

yoka
yoka

@MichaelinLH @yoka I'm not kidding.  These people are being involuntarily bounced out, through no fault of their own.  They're going to incur significant expense so some zillion dollar development can replace the park. 

And what if they did own?  The developers would get the city to invoke eminent domain, offer them ten cents on the dollar, and give them the bum's rush.



MichaelinLH
MichaelinLH

@yoka Surely you are kidding? So, every landlord should have to pay to move the former tenants out? They have a lease. Lease is up. Sorry but that is the way it works. If you don't want this problem, figure out a way to buy.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...