Better living conditions sought for mobile home park’s residents

By: Gena Johnson | Warren Weekly | Published January 9, 2024

 Elected officials say living conditions at Warren’s Landmark Estates need improvement while the management company says residents are “happy.”

Elected officials say living conditions at Warren’s Landmark Estates need improvement while the management company says residents are “happy.”

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


WARREN — Local and state politicians have united to improve living conditions at Landmark Estates, a mobile home community in Warren, while the property management company says improvements have been made and that residents are “happy.”

“I have been working alongside my colleagues in the city of Warren and residents in Landmark Estates for over a year now to improve their living conditions,” said Warren City Council President Angela Rogensues. “Their private equity ownership group continues to drag their feet in large capital improvements, bully and fearmonger residents, and provide lackluster services. Our community deserves better, and I will continue working to ensure our residents have quality living standards.”

Rogensues has partnered with state Sen. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit; state Rep. Donavan McKinney, D-Detroit; and Detroit City Council President Mary Sheffield as part of a broader effort to improve the living conditions at the Landmark Estates and the Jeffersonian apartment building in Detroit.

“For three years, Landmark Estates residents have experienced persistent sewerage issues, roof issues originating from fallen trees, and electrical outages from water leaking onto DTE circuit breakers. Residents have also feared retaliatory action from management after voicing their concerns,” according to a written statement from the four politicians.

Michelle Oppelt, vice president of property management for Open Management, the company that manages Landmark Estates, said, “We purchased the property in late 2021. There was definitely some deferred maintenance from the previous owner, and we have invested nearly $500,000 to replace sections of sewer line that under the previous owner would be consistently backing up. We’ve replaced large sections of water lines and we’ve worked with the city on an agreement last year to do large capital improvement projects under the previous mayor.”

“We’re certainly not done with all of the projects there,” Oppelt said. “But we haven’t had any major sewage issues, water issues, anything like that here since we’ve finished our large-scale projects. We will continue to replace lines if needed and if we need to invest additional capital in the property we plan to do so.”

DTE owns their own electrical boxes, according to Oppelt.

“If residents alert us that there is an issue, we can call DTE out and they can handle it, which we’ve done,” Oppelt said. “Residents own their own homes at Landmark so any roof issues would be on the residents.”

If a tree were to fall on a trailer home, according to Oppelt, depending on the circumstances, the company may not be responsible.

“If it were an act of God, we would not be responsible,” she said.

Oppelt said the tree work is done on a yearly basis.

“The company has invested more than $50,000 in tree work in the last 18 months,” she said.

According to Chang in the Dec. 4 press release, there was a stall in communications between management and residents.

“I believe change starts with uplifting the voices of our residents. My office has received communication from Landmark Estates that failed to substantively address the concerns I raised in my letter,” Chang said.

“Detroiters and Warren residents deserve to live with a good quality of life in safe housing and I will keep working to achieve that goal,” said Chang.

Oppelt said she recently made a trip to Landmark Estates in mid-December and met with the community’s director, property management, the regional property manager and the two local staff members that work on the property. She said the group went around and talked to about 24 residents who were home “to make sure everybody was happy with the progress.”

“Everybody that we spoke to, 100% of the people, had positive feedback, and we have video testimonies.” Oppelt said.

McKinney said concerns about living conditions for mobile home residents extend throughout the state and are not limited to Landmark Estates.

“I have met many constituents in my district and throughout the state that have shared with me significant concerns over the condition of their mobile home community,” McKinney said. “The lack of a proper response to resident complaints and concerns from mobile home community managers such as Landmark Estates is not surprising and is unacceptable. It shows that we need to do more as a state legislature to hold bad actors accountable for their failure to maintain a safe community to live in. I am proud to have cosponsored legislation that would look to give residents in mobile home communities a greater voice as well as hold bad mobile home community managers responsible for their actions or lack thereof.”

Oppelt believes she and Rogensues and her team are on the same page.

“I am hoping to have a fruitful relationship with the new mayor and Councilwoman Angela as well and everybody in Warren. That’s our goal,” said Oppelt. “We all have the same goal, I think, is to have quality affordable housing for our residents.”