ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — Earl Bond, 54, has spent the past four months making his modest mobile trailer his home, but now he might be forced to leave it all behind.
Earlier this month, Bond and a dozen others at Edgewood Trailer Park, 1931 E. Prospect Road, were handed three-day eviction notices from their landlord, Bennett V. Norfleet II.
The trailer park property belongs to Jim Victor, of Madison, but Norfleet owns a dozen mobile homes in the park and collects the rent from his tenants. He then is obligated to pay Victor the $220-per-month lot rent.
Bond says Norfleet hasn’t done that and, consequently, he and a dozen others are being kicked out of their homes. But Bond says he’s not leaving because he has nowhere else to go.
Norfleet could not be reached by phone and did not respond to a request for comment via social media Friday, Monday or Tuesday.
Victor said it’s unfortunate Norfleet’s renters are caught in the middle.
“(Norfleet) is just not performing his responsibilities,” Victor said. “We feel bad enough this is going on. The last thing we want to do is evict someone from their home.”
Victor said, according to Ohio law, he had to send the eviction notices to the tenants and some of them thought he was evicting them. Technically Victor is evicting Norfleet, who owns the mobile homes, he said.
“If he doesn’t pay the lot rent, we have no choice but to evict,” Victor said. “We have to maintain certain standards.”
Victor said his goal is to make Edgewood Trailer Park a clean, quiet and safe place to live.
Residents who own their trailers are not affected by the evictions, only those renting from Norfleet, Victor said.
The park was
established in the early 1950s to meet the post-war demand for affordable
housing in the community. Victor’s parents, Ralph and Lola, purchased the eight-acre park in 1972.
In 2012, the next generation of the Victor family attempted to bring the park up to date by removing as many of the old, abandoned mobile homes as possible.
When some of the run-down trailers were removed from Edgewood Trailer Park, residents started to take pride in their neighborhood and fixed up their homes, said Carl Carter, 65, whose elderly aunt owns a trailer in the park.
“She’s not being evicted because she owns her place,” he said. “But I feel bad for the others.”