Sandcastle Estates

A group of tenants at the Sandcastle Estates 55 and over living community want rent control because the new owners of the trailer park are raising rates.

ATTLEBORO — A 19 percent rent increase at a South Attleboro mobile home park populated by many people on fixed incomes has prompted a city councilor to seek the establishment of a rent control board.

The measure was sponsored by Councilor Sara Lynn Reynolds, who represents Ward 1 where five of the eight city mobile home parks are located.

Reynolds submitted the request after approximately 85 percent of the residents at Sandcastle Estates on Mendon Road signed a petition in favor of creating a rent control board.

“The residents are all very concerned,” she told the council. “I’d like to see us get something in place.”

Joyce Fox, one of the petition organizers, said a typical rent at Sandcastle went from $442 a month to $526 — an $84, or 19 percent, hike — under new owner Legacy PIII Sandcastle LLC out of New Jersey.

Legacy bought the park for $13.35 million on Jan. 18 from Shannon Family Properties Inc. out of Florida.

Many Sandcastle residents are retired and on fixed incomes, and that much of an increase puts a strain on their budgets, she said.

Residents own the mobile homes they live in but pay rent for the lots on which the homes sit.

Reynolds’ proposal was referred to the council’s ordinance committee, headed up by Diana Holmes, and to the planning board.

Residents said the 172-unit park’s previous owner increased rents only by the consumer price index, which last year, for example, was 1.9 percent.

At the time of its sale, the park was assessed at $3.1 million.

Then-tax assessor Stan Nacewicz predicted the assessed value would eventually go up and so would the taxes, which meant the rents would likely increase as well.

The new owner has not responded to Sun Chronicle requests for comment.

George W. Rhodes can be reached at 508-236-0432.

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