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CASA Lawsuit Alleges Germantown Trailer Park Illegally Overcharged Residents For Water

ROCKVILLE (WJZ) -- CASA, a group that advocates for immigrants and Latino people, filed a lawsuit Friday against Middlebrook MHC, LLC. of Middlebrook Mobile Homes, a mobile home park in Germantown.

The organization alleges that the business illegally charged and intimidated 28 tenants, and that the business threatened to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent when they complained about abnormally high billing.

The change happened in 2018, said CASA, when Middlebrook took over and installed new water meters. The water bills reportedly spike immediately, with bills reaching nearly $1000 for some.

"CASA is suing today because, for over two years, the management at Middlebrook has not listened to our concerns," said CASA staff attorney Jonathan Riedel. "The water bills are absurd. Middlebrook believes that a family of four can use three full swimming pools' worth of water in a single month. In a mobile home, no less. This lawsuit is designed to tell the landlord that no, it is not the residents' fault. These residents deserve a voice, and they deserve justice."

CASA said the family of one woman, a single mother with four kids, does as much as possible to conserve water, but they were still hit with an $800 water bill.

"The water bills would reach as high as $800 a month! As a house cleaner and single mother of four, these water bills have forced me to make tough financial decisions for my family, which have gotten worse during the pandemic," said resident Berta Bonilla. "The possibility of being evicted from the home I've lived in for 15 years was frightening, for not paying my water bills on time was frightening. I am here today to demand accountability and answers. No one should ever have to pay such an outrageous amount for water bills."

County Executive Marc Elrich sent a message of support to the residents.

"I salute the residents of the Middlebrook trailer park for fighting for their families and in that way fighting for our broader community," said Elrich."It is time for the owners of the property to meet residents and eliminate the outrageous charges that they confront."

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