It started as a good deed for a mother at her son’s school. It has now become a second calling to change state law.
Jill Grano helped raise money for the mother when she was evicted from her apartment. She raised funds for a mobile home and moved the woman and her family into it. She thought everything was fine.
Then Grano discovered there was a lien on the new property that was a day away from being sold to an investor.
“The investor with a lien, as little as $73 in one case, can come and have ownership of the entire home,” Grano said Tuesday as she walked through a mobile home park, knocking on doors and warning some owners of liens on their properties.
Grano, a realtor, helped her friend pay off the debt on the property before it was sold to an investor. She tried to pay for the 25 other liens that were about to be sold, but she was informed she couldn’t because she didn’t have a stake in the properties.
So she went to the lien auction.
“People are literally sitting around the table, Googling names, trying to bet on who they think won’t be able to pay,” she said.
Mobile home owners have one year to pay off liens before those liens are sold at auction to investors who make money on any interest that accrues.
But the investors have the option to apply for ownership after one year.
Last year in Boulder, a lien holder applied for ownership on several homes, causing the Boulder City Council to begin looking into the practice.
Grano decided she’d try to outbid investors on the liens, pledging to never apply for ownership on any of the properties.
“I quickly realized between the prices and the premiums I wasn’t going to be able to buy all of them. So I just started underlining all the women on the list. So I bought 9,” Grano said.
And she’s going around and warning the other people on the list to pay their lien or run the risk of losing their home to an investor.
She’s also working with state legislators to help out mobile home owners.