The owners and residents of a local mobile home park have reached an out-of-court agreement in a dispute over ongoing water problems in the park.
Bob Eye, a attorney representing several residents of the Green Acres mobile home park, 1045 E. 23rd, said park owners Wade and Joann Qandil agreed to supply water to residents for drinking and cooking until new water lines are in place at the park. Residents have had little or no water since December.
In a related move, a legislative committee is preparing a bill that would extend provisions of the Kansas Landlord-Tenant Act to mobile home parks.
Several residents of Green Acres had refused to pay rent because they had had little or no water pressure in the park. In turn, the Qandils filed motions in Douglas County District Court seeking to evict residents who refused to pay rent.
A JUDGE was to consider Wednesday a request by Eye to block those evictions. However, Eye said the hearing was canceled after he and Brian Schultz, the Qandils' attorney, reached the agreement.
In addition to providing drinking and cooking water, the agreement also prohibits the owners from making retaliatory evictions against park residents. It does not address the rent issue, Eye said.
"We basically got everything we wanted," Eye said.
The agreement has been signed by both attorneys and has been sent to Douglas County District Judge Michael Malone for his signature, Eye said.
Installation of new water lines in the park began last week. Work had been delayed, the Qandils said, by cold temperatures and the location of existing natural gas lines.
BOB NITSCH, a park resident, said today that a new water line already has been hooked up to a few of about 30 mobile homes in the park. He said the line is providing adequate water pressure to those homes.
"It's been bad, but I think it will work out," Nitsch said.
Attempts today to reach the Qandils were unsuccessful.
"I think the agreement speaks for itself," Shultz, their attorney, said.
He would not elaborate or say whether the Qandils have provided temporary water to residents, but Greg Olmsted, a county health department official, said that a community tap for residents was being installed at the park this morning.
Olmstead said the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department would test the tap to ensure that the water met health standards.
DAVE CORLISS, city management analyst, said installation of the water line and connection to all mobile homes may take several weeks. However, he said, a project timetable has not been set.
"It's our understanding that the owners are moving," he said.
Residents of the mobile home park have complained of little or no water pressure in their homes since before Christmas. On Jan. 22, the residents were advised by the health department not to drink or cook with their tap water because of the possibility of bacterial contamination caused by low water pressure.
Since the health department recommendation was issued, many residents have been forced to obtain drinking and cooking water from outside the park.
MEANWHILE, Rep. Bill Roy Jr. said a bill that would include mobile homes in the Kansas Landlord Tenant Act will be introduced this week in the Kansas House.
In 1990, Roy introduced a similar bill, which was referred to but not considered by the Interim Judiciary Council. This year, the bill will be introduced by the entire House Federal and State Affairs Committee, Roy said.
"The biggest problem is there is no clear rights and responsibilities for both mobile home park owners and lot renters," Roy said. The bill, he said, would provide a way for tenants, owners and the courts to regulate disputes.
Rep. Betty Jo Charlton, D-Lawrence, said she asked Roy to include in the bill a section that says a mobile home park landlord must provide an adequate, safe and sanitary supply of electricity, water and sewer services. Roy is honoring Charlton's request.
Julia Pitner, director of Consumer Affairs Inc. of Lawrence, said providing a legal recourse for people who live in mobile home parks is important.
When the people at Green Acres were having problems with the loss of water pressure last year, Pitner said her agency called city and state officials trying to get assistance for the tenants, to no avail.