Tenants of McCall mobile homes grapple with eviction ahead of apartment project
This May, residents of a McCall trailer park got notice that they would soon have to leave.
The occupants of McCall Manor received notice to vacate by no later than November 30 after Boise-based developer Michael Hormaechea announced his plans to build apartments on the site off of Idaho and Ward Streets.
As BoiseDev reported in late July, Hormaechea’s plan calls for 125 units consisting of 48 one-bed, one-bath units, 72 two-bed, two-bath units, and five three-bed, two-bath units. The project would replace the existing mobile home park.
When the tenants of McCall Manor found out they would be displaced, many said they worried about where they would live and how they could afford to move their home off the property.
The eviction notice
The several-page lease termination packet tenants received explains they have six months to move out and move their mobile home off the lot. It also gives them contact for a mobile home relocation specialist, a place at the top of the tenant list for Hormaechea’s future apartments with application fees waived, a rent rebate if tenants move out on or before October 1, and a copy of an Idaho Statue that details the legality of this.
Angie Olson and her husband bought a mobile home on the McCall Manor property about eight months ago. Olson sounded worried when she talked about her looming eviction. She pleaded for help and she explained she was still making payments on her home.
“(It’s) quite shocking, because I just bought this trailer eight months ago. I invested all the money that I had into it,” Olson said. “So I’ve got payments to make on this and if this goes to the air, then I lose everything. I have to sell everything… so there’s no option to go anywhere, and I have no options to have money to do anything left. So I don’t know what to do. I’m just frazzled.”
Megan Crawford lives at the park with her boyfriend and two children. Crawford said when she saw the November eviction date she was scared.
“I jumped so fast when I got the paperwork because I was like, ‘Oh my God, November’s like right around the corner,’” Crawford said.
Hormaechea said he determined the lease termination date by looking at Idaho statutes and doing his own research.
“The State of Idaho has addressed this in their state statutes,” he said. “And so we reviewed all that information. They speak to mobile home parks and closing them, and in their determinations, six months was the time that they determined was adequate for closing of parks to allow people to move their personal property off of there – so that’s what we went with.”
According to the Idaho Manufactured Home Residency Act, Hormechea is within his rights as a landlord, giving tenants 192 days to leave, which is more than the 180 required.
“…the landlord shall give the affected resident and any subtenant not less than one hundred eighty (180) days’ notice in writing prior to the date designated in the notice of termination,” the statue reads. “After the date notice of termination has been given as provided in this subsection, the landlord shall provide a copy of such notice to any prospective resident or purchaser if the home is to remain in the community. The landlord may not increase the rent during the notice period.”
Crawford says she has been fortunate to find a place to move. However, she worries about her neighbors who haven’t been as lucky.
“I’m like, I don’t even know where to start, and we found a bigger place which is great for us, but all my trailer people – they still need to find homes,” she said.
What help are residents receiving?
Hormaechea said he was working with each tenant on a case-by-case basis and had “some” funds available for relocation costs.
“I’m working now individually with each tenant to sort of determine what their needs are, what their capabilities are. Do they need some help to relocate? And if so, what can I do to help them? We do have some money available for tenants that need it for relocation costs, which vary depending on the tenant,” Hormaechea said. “…We do have some funds available to folks on a case-by-case basis to help them minimize the best we can the burden of getting moved off of the property.”
He added that he has reached out to every tenant.
“I’ve encouraged everyone to reach out to me, but I’m also just calling everybody,” he said. “At this point, I’ve connected directly with every tenant on the property. I’ve had at least one if not multiple calls and or meetings. So I’ve got a much better understanding today of who’s who, who needs some help, and how can I help them?”
A man who owns one of the trailers and rents it out to his employees and asked BoiseDev not to be named says he bought the mobile home in April 2022. He said that he got a list of potential places to move his trailer from Hormaechea but it hasn’t turned up any leads.
“He emails or texts me like a list, and I call and text the people in the list right away, and they’re like, ‘no, we don’t have anything,’ ‘no, we can maybe make that work,” he said. “It was good that he did have a mobile home mover guy on his list that came out and looked at the homes that wanted to be moved. So that was good. But besides that, a lot of the places that he referred me to either didn’t call me back or really weren’t open to taking more mobile homes.”
Olson, who is making payments on the mobile home she is buying, says she isn’t interested in renting.
“Why rent something when you already own it? I mean, we own this. We don’t have the money to go ahead and rent something else too in McCall,” Olson said.
Costs to move out and move in
Josh Febo and his wife have lived in McCall Manor for about three years. Febo says he and his wife are still making payments on their mobile home, which totals less than $800 per month. According to Zillow, for all bedrooms and property types, the median rent in McCall is $2,400.
Hormaechea says he doesn’t know how much rent will cost at the apartments he’s building because the final building cost hasn’t been determined, and he hasn’t gotten the green light to start construction. The application for the project filed with the City of McCall said the apartments will “support a broad spectrum of local residents.”
Crawford says whatever the rent comes out to, it will likely be a substantial increase from residents’ current payments, whether they rent or own their trailers.
“It would have been fine if he would let us stay there for another year, or if it was gonna get built closer, but like, what is everybody supposed to do for a year? Some of us own our trailer, and rent in McCall is almost three grand. Who can afford that (making) $15 an hour? I don’t know what they expect people to do,” she said.
Since Febo received notice to vacate, he got a quote to find out how much it would cost to move his trailer, which was between $8,000 to $10,000 to move the home within a 30-mile radius. He and his wife have decided selling is the better option.
“Me and my wife, we’ve come to the conclusion that we’re just going to try to sell our trailer and hopefully someone will buy it and move it off the property,” Febo said. “We’re given that about a month and a half from the time we list and we’re gonna list it sometime this week, and hopefully someone will buy it, and if they don’t, then we’re gonna have to figure out somewhere to move it and it’s just gonna cost a whole lot of money to do that.”
Since talking to BoiseDev, Febo has sold his his trailer.
Febo added that most of the residents he knows at the park would need a three-bed apartment, which would be expensive elsewhere.
“I mean, that’s pretty much every family in here that needs like that space,” he said. “I don’t know how big the apartments are going to be… but trying to find somewhere to rent, man, it’s almost impossible to find somewhere to rent here in McCall. If you do, it’s $2,000-plus. That’s way more than what we pay right now for what we have.”
Abigail Boretto recently bought a trailer in McCall Manor for her two sons and stays there part-time. She called the way this project was being handled “atrocious.”
“We invested into this thing, and in 90 days we were told we have to leave. We’re not prepared,” Boretto said. “We have been looking for land, and if there is land, there are no utilities. So again, even if we were able to move forward at this moment in time, and buy a piece of land, now we have to install utilities. So that is just not going to happen. In four months, things just don’t happen that fast…. The city needs to step in here. He’s within his right to shut down the park… but the timeline, it doesn’t jive.”
The man who rents out his trailer to his employees and wishes to remain anonymous is also upset about recently purchasing his mobile home. He wishes that there would have been a forewarning that the property would be developed.
“I wouldn’t have bought there a year ago if I ever thought that they would develop it, let alone kick people out,” he said. “Like I get that I don’t own the land, I get that I pay the lot fee… But it’s like the people that live there are your workers that are working in restaurants that are keeping the town alive. Yeah, they’re not the hospital employees. But they’re the restaurant employees I think that are like the true backbone of McCall – a tourist destination. No one can afford a $1,000 bedroom.”
Hormaechea said he finalized the outright purchase of the property in March 2023. He bought the property from Aries Partners, an entity which he owned along with his family. As for the tenants who recently bought trailers, Hormaechea said he wasn’t sure what he was going to do with the property when he first bought it and “hadn’t decided to move ahead with any redevelopment.”
Hormaechea declined to comment on how much he paid for the property.
Hormaechea’s apartment project has gone through its pre-application meeting with the city. This is the precursor to the development team submitting all applications. Hormaechea says the team is still working on the final design application and anticipates submitting it later in the fall.
“It’s important that I continue to work with the existing tenants to help them however we can to relocate,” Hormaechea said. “We understand it’s a burden on them, and we want to help them because we think our ultimate redevelopment of the site will add a bunch of housing to help a much larger segment of the community, and that’s why we’re moving ahead.”
The anonymous mobile homeowner said he was in disbelief that the city was even allowing Hormaechea to ask residents to vacate the property.
“I don’t know how the city council and planning and zoning and developing, are allowing it to happen or even letting people get kicked out with a six-month notice,” he said. “Anywhere else, it would not fly at all, and there’ll be protests and people just squatting.”