MOUNTAIN ISLAND LAKE, N.C. -- Neighbors forced to move out of a mobile home park along Mountain Island Lake are planning a lawsuit to stop the eviction and see if they can recoup money lost by having to sell their homes quickly, plus other expenses.
The lawsuit has not yet been filed, but several neighbors in the Riverside Mobile Home Park say it could happen in the next couple of days.
They are under a December 22nd deadline to move out. A letter came in the mail this summer with that date, saying the land was being sold with the intention of turning it into a park.
"Everybody is supposed to be out and it's sad because we were a very close-knit community out here," said former Riverside neighbor Carol Pietras.
"Altogether I probably had $50,000 to $60,000 invested with the landscaping, the rip rap and all that," Pietras said. But, she estimates she lost $20,000 to $25,000 on the sale just to meet the deadline.
Neighbors say taking that kind of loss is one reason why they are considering a lawsuit against the property owner. Also, to recoup thousands in upgrades and repairs they say the owner wouldn't pay for.
Pietras is not one of the neighbors currently talking with an attorney, but says she will consider joining the lawsuit if it's filed.
"We all invested money in piers, decks, all this stuff we can't do anything with. We just have to walk away from it."
Some neighbors admit they stopped paying rent once that letter came.
Court records show the owners are taking one neighbor to court next week over $2,200 dollars in unpaid rent.
It's a back-and-forth battle neighbors thought they would never have to fight, saying the owners told them decades ago this spot on the lake would be theirs forever.
"I understand why they want to do it. Some people have been here for 45 years and this was their home. They're losing everything," Pietras said.
Neighbors say the letter they got months ago says anything left after the December 22nd deadline becomes the landowner's property.
We called the property owner but haven't heard back.