Residents of a mobile home park near Des Plaines are upset with their property manager for taking belongings from their yards and levying fines on them -- an apparent enforcement of the fine print in their leases.
Some 200 residents of the Blackhawk Estates at 400 W. Touhy Ave. in an unincorporated area near Des Plaines held signs and chanted Monday afternoon during a protest over what they say is mistreatment by management.
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They say it all culminated Friday when managers from Zeman Homes walked through the mobile home park and removed everything from children's bicycles and toys to yard tools and tables.
A representative of Zeman Homes at the Blackhawk Estates management office declined to comment Monday night.
Stuart Bieber, a 15-year resident who helped organize the protest, said residents' leases state the only property leased from the management company are mobile home structures -- not yards -- and the manager is allowed to take items from outside if proper notice is given.
Bieber says a note was posted near the guard's office that inspections were going to be conducted.
Still, he says, no one expected their belongings to be removed or to receive fines that ranged from $50 to $300.
"If I were to do this, I'd be in jail," Bieber said he told property managers in a meeting Monday afternoon. "What you're doing is hiding under a lease that's 50 pages long and has small print that probably nobody reads."
"You're taking things from people's lives. You're taking things that are worth value."
Bieber said items removed from his gated backyard include a table, shovels, and plywood he was going to use for a home improvement project.
He says several items -- including children's bicycles and toys -- were being kept in a shed on site, though it was immediately unclear when or if residents would be able to retrieve those items.
Bieber says management officials told him fines would be voided.