My Community May Be Losing Our Homes- Help Me Protect Others From Ending Up Like Us

Angela Kaufman
5 min readJul 12, 2021

My name is Angela Kaufman. I live in a mobile home park. I moved into this affordable mobile home park community in Saratoga county in summer of 2020. My partner and I wanted a place we could afford considering my declining health and inconsistent income as a self-employed freelancer. I also wanted a place with a fenced in yard so I could do something I’ve always wanted to do- rescue dogs.

This past January, my neighbors and I received a certified letter indicating our park was being sold. This letter also notified us of our right of first refusal, which is guaranteed by real property law 233-A. The letter was sent to us by Brett VanZandt, then property owner. Even though less than six months prior, he showed us the park, encouraged us to make repairs and enhancements on our lot, and told us he planned to stay here a long time- even to retire here someday.

The right of first refusal- meaning that my neighbors and I could get together and make an offer matching the buyer’s offer in order to own and keep our mobile home park- only goes into effect if a buyer plans to change the use of a mobile home park.

In other words, if someone were to make an offer to buy the park you live in, and if they let your park owner know they plan to shut it down to build a mall, you and your neighbors would have the right to collectively purchase the park and keep it before the sale goes through.

My neighbors and I didn’t think it was feasible for us to use our right of first refusal at first. We’re all on limited incomes. Some of us are elderly, some are young parents. Some are disabled. Many of us work in service industries and are “essential workers.”

We were approached by the director of a local nonprofit called Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, and were told that we may have an option to align with this organization and form a Homeowner’s Association. If we did this, it would be possible to get state programs to help give grant money so we could match the buyer’s offer.

We spent months working on this goal with the help of Rebuilding Together. It was clear most if not all of the residents wanted to keep our homes and remain in our community.

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Angela Kaufman

Angela Kaufman is the author of Queen Up! Reclaim Your Crown When Life Knocks You Down. Her new novel Quiet Man, is available now through Trash Panda Press.