Middlebrook MHC, LLC recently came under fire over allegations of illegal charges and intimidation.
Middlebrook MHC, LLC. of Middlebrook Mobile Homes was hit with a lawsuit last week. Based in Germantown, Maryland, the suit alleges the mobile home company “illegally charged and intimidated 28 tenants, and that the business threatened to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent when they complained about abnormally high billing.” The suit itself was filed by CASA, an organization dedicated to advocating for immigrants and Latino people.
When did the alleged illegal charges happen? What are the details behind the suit? For starters, it happened back in 2018, according to CASA, when “Middlebrook took over and installed new water meters.” The suit alleges “the water bills reportedly spiked immediately, with bills reaching nearly $1000 for some.”
When commenting on the case, Jonathan Riedel, a staff attorney with CASA said:
“CASA is suing today because, for over two years, the management at Middlebrook has not listened to our concerns…the water bills are absurd. Middlebrook believes that a family of four can use three full swimming pools’ worth of water in a single month. In a mobile home, no less. This lawsuit is designed to tell the landlord that no, it is not the residents’ fault. These residents deserve a voice, and they deserve justice.”
In one case, a single mother with four children thought her family was being mindful of their water usage. In fact, CASA said the family “does as much as possible to conserve water, but they were still hit with an $800 water bill.” Resident Berta Bonilla chimed in and said:
“The water bills would reach as high as $800 a month! As a house cleaner and single mother of four, these water bills have forced me to make tough financial decisions for my family, which have gotten worse during the pandemic…the possibility of being evicted from the home I’ve lived in for 15 years was frightening, for not paying my water bills on time was frightening. I am here today to demand accountability and answers. No one should ever have to pay such an outrageous amount for water bills.”
In a show of support for the residents, County Executive Marc Elrich issued the following message:
“I salute the residents of the Middlebrook trailer park for fighting for their families and in that way fighting for our broader community…It is time for the owners of the property to meet residents and eliminate the outrageous charges that they confront.”