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For Immediate Release
November 18, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

OWNERS OF CECIL COUNTY MOBILE HOME PARK CHARGED WITH ILLEGAL FEES AND SECURITY DEPOSIT VIOLATION

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has charged the owners of the Woodlawn Estates mobile home park in Cecil County with violating Maryland’s Mobile Home Parks law by requiring residents to pay a "processing fee" in order to sell their homes and failing to pay 4 percent interest on security deposits.

The charges allege that Annis P. Sherrard required residents to pay a $500 processing fee if they wanted their home to remain in the park after resale. The fee was reduced to $200 after Ms. Sherrard transferred the park in December 2001 to Woodlawn Estates, LLC, a company owned by Ms. Sherrard, her daughter Annis S. Jackson, and Ms. Jackson’s sons Donald W. Jackson, Victor R. Jackson, and Rhett Lee Jackson.

" Park owners cannot be allowed to restrict a resident’s right to sell his or her home and have it remain in the mobile home park," Curran said. Curran noted that mobile home park residents usually are able to sell their homes for more if the home can remain in the park, because it is extremely difficult to find a space in a mobile home park for a used home and most Maryland counties do not allow homes to be placed on private land. Even if a resident can find a place to move their home, it is expensive to do so, Curran added.

In addition to illegally impeding residents’ rights to resell their homes, the charges allege that the processing fee constitutes a prohibited exit fee and exceeds the $60 fee that the Mobile Home Parks law allows park owners to charge to inspect a home to remain in the park after resale. The charges further allege that, until Woodlawn Estates, LLC became the park’s owner, residents were not given the 4 percent interest on security deposits required by the mobile home parks law. The charges ask that Woodlawn’s owners be ordered to cease and desist from violating the Mobile Home Parks law and Consumer Protection Act and to pay restitution, civil penalties and costs.

A hearing on the charges is scheduled for Tuesday, May 4, 2004 at the Office of Administrative Hearings, 11101 Gilroy Road in Hunt Valley. Residents or former residents of Woodlawn Estates having information about the alleged violations may contact the Division at (410) 576-6556. Information about the rights of mobile home park residents is available at the Attorney General’s website at www.oag.state.md.us/consumer.

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