Several Highland mobile home residents asking for “rent stabilization” during the March 26 City Council meeting learned that should the city pass such an ordinance California law exempts their long-term mobile home leases from the rent control.
During the last City Council meeting, several Highland mobile home residents took the public comment opportunity to voice complaints about conditions and rising costs at their mobile home parks asking the council to consider placing a rent control ordinance on a future meeting agenda.
According to the mobile home residents, they have previously voiced their complaints to their perspective park managers but the issues persist and the rent continues to rise each year.
Aside from the rising rent, several of the speakers shared concerns over parking issues and public safety in the parks with one Jeffery Courts resident sharing that several cars have been stolen from his park and that he was threatened by a neighbor.
“My issue is the rent just keeps going up and up. It takes many people to pay rent space and the mortgage, and fees increase for any little thing,” said Silvia Trivano, a resident of Highland Mobile Home Estates. “My rent space goes up, the electrical and insurance goes up, and there are stipulations for park fees and late fees.”
According to Sonia Torres, manager for Highland Mobile Home Estates, the park is working to address the concerns of the residents and held a meeting with about a half-dozen residents earlier that day. She also shared that the park owners offer a rental assistance program.
Representatives from Manufactured Housing Educational Trust and Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association, non-profit organizations dedicated to assisting managers and owners in the operation of successful manufactured home communities, also attended that meeting and were present at the city council meeting.
According to Vickie Talley, executive director of the Manufactured Housing Educational Trust, the Green Bill of California Home Residency Law would preempt the city from imposing rent control on the mobile home parks because long-term leases are exempt from rent control.
Should the city pass a rent control ordinance, as requested by the mobile home residents, it would not apply to mobile home parks where they live.
“Even with a rent control ordinance rent increases every year, that’s the model. With this park, rent increased 3 percent last year while the CPI [consumer price index], a standard inflation index, last year was four percent,” said Julie Paulie of Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association. “They got a low increase, although it might not feel that way as utilities are going up.”
This 3 percent raise in rent was also below the rate stipulated in Highland Mobile Home Estates rate agreement, according to Talley.
“Many of these issues are common to many communities not just mobile home parks,” said Talley, about the residents’ other concerns, such as vagrants frequenting the neighborhood. “We are chipping away at those and many are being resolved.”
During the morning meeting they also helped clarify for residents which complaints and issues are to be addressed by the park managers and which issues residents should take to law enforcement.
City Council gave no instruction for city staff to place rent control on a future City Council meeting agenda.