Affording a home. For many people it's a life goal. What happens when you own your home but not the ground it sits on?

That's the reality of thousands of mobile home park residents in Pennsylvania. Two of them from Erie County made a third trip to Harrisburg this week, on their own dime. They are fighting a hike in lot fees.

Scenes like this exist all over Pennsylvania. This one in Erie County named Summit Heights, was purchased by the same owners who also now own Lexington Heights, in Erie County's Belle Valley Area.

Erie News Now has talked with residents at both parks who feel the out of town ownership and overall management is: unapproachable. 

We reached out too to get answers on rate hikes on the lot fees

Wendy Henry says, "We had a 24 percent rate hike increase in January." She told Erie News Now that she's lived in Summit Heights for 18 years.

Wendy and her neighbor Patti Starvaggi joined other mobile home park residents for a hearing in Harrisburg.

They listened to Representative Mike Sturla, the Housing and Community Development Chair.

Sturla says, "Getting the citizens who live in those communities to sign new lease agreements that basically say they can increase their rent anytime they want."

And he says if residents signed under duress, it's not legal. Plus the plight of rising lot fees could "re-open" laws of manufactured housing.

Bob Besecker listened intently. He was among the residents returning to get the attention of lawmakers and told us quote: "Legislators have a choice. They can support the efforts of out-of-state private equity firms with their predatory lot rent increases or they can support Pennsylvania residents who are being victimized."

Besecker is the Rent Issues Committee Co-Chair for the Douglass Village Park in Berks County, Pa.

He says lot rent increases have been around 13-15% annually since the parks purchase three years ago.
Residents want to see hearings and an eventual vote on both House Bill 805 and Senate Bill 861.

That would stop random hikes at their homes.

Originally the residents wanted a 10 percent cap on lot fees in Pa., but were told that would likely not pass. Instead, the hope is that it will not exceed the consumer price index.

Erie News Now will continue to reach out to owners of the local parks, for a response.