Settlement agreement reached over water and habitability at Oasis Mobile Home Park 

Twenty-two residents of the Oasis Mobile Home Park, along with a tenant association called Juntos Por Un Mejor Oasis, settled their civil suit against Park owners on February 21. The lawsuit sought remedies for exposure to arsenic at nearly 10 times the drinking water limit, sewage spills, and other unacceptable and unlawful problems.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2024

MEDIA CONTACT
Jill Hindenach, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, 202-494-6309, jhindenach@leadershipcounsel.org

THERMAL, CA — Twenty-two residents of the Oasis Mobile Home Park, along with a tenant association called Juntos Por Un Mejor Oasis, settled their civil suit against Park owners on February 21. The lawsuit sought remedies for exposure to arsenic at nearly 10 times the drinking water limit, sewage spills, and other unacceptable and unlawful problems. The settlement agreement includes enforceable commitments by Park owners that protect residents from retaliation, rent increases, and eviction, provides other tenant protections, and resolves litigation arising from a long history of environmental and habitability issues.

The settlement agreement resolves civil litigation filed by residents, represented by Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability and Sher Edling LLP, more than three years ago. While portions of the settlement are confidential, the negotiated tenant protections are expressly public. These include the following commitments by Park owners: 

  • Not to retaliate against the Plaintiffs or any member of Juntos Por Un Mejor Oasis for participation in the suit; 
  • Not to evict any resident of Oasis Mobile Home Park, except for nonpayment of rent after 30 days written notice and opportunity to enroll in a payment plan; 
  • Not to raise space rent more than once annually, capped at 5% per year and following 90 days written notice; 
  • Not to take any action or threaten to lock out tenants or disconnect electricity or other utilities for nonpayment of rent; 
  • Only to charge for rent, utilities, and incidental reasonable charges for services actually rendered, and to stop charging an “IID Fee” not actually charged by Imperial Irrigation District; and
  • Not to exclude representatives of the plaintiffs from the Park for the purpose of meetings in their spaces.

The settlement is a critical step forward. Juntos Por Un Mejor Oasis and the other plaintiffs, secured the agreement after nearly five years of advocacy to ensure that all Oasis Mobile Home Park residents secure safe homes with access to clean water and adequate sanitation.

“We hope that the settlement agreement is honored in its entirety, ensuring the prevention of retaliation, among other protections,” Juntos released in a joint statement. “This agreement must be accompanied by extensive efforts to ensure relocation of current residents, prevention of new residents moving into the park, and ultimately the closure of the park.”

The settlement does not resolve an ongoing federal lawsuit brought by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against Park owners related to water and septic tank problems. Nor does it conclude Riverside County’s efforts to relocate current residents and enforce a moratorium on new families moving into Oasis Mobile Home Park. Juntos Por Un Mejor Oasis looks forward to working with Riverside County, EPA, the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe, and other stakeholders to ensure that all remaining residents are relocated to safe and affordable housing.

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Juntos Por Un Mejor Oasis is a community organization formed by Oasis Mobile Home Park residents to advocate for safe housing, safe and affordable drinking water, safe wastewater, clean air, and improved living conditions for residents of Oasis Mobile Home Park.

Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability works alongside the most impacted communities in the San Joaquin Valley and Eastern Coachella Valley to advocate for sound policy and eradicate injustice to secure equal access to opportunity regardless of wealth, race, income, and place. Leadership Counsel focuses on issues like housing, land use, transportation, safe and affordable drinking water and climate change impacts on communities.

​Sher Edling LLP’s work arises out of their conviction that the courts provide an even playing field essential to taking on the biggest polluters. Sher Edling combines decades of litigation expertise and trial experience to hold those polluters accountable for their damage and deception.  

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