Next Monday, May 13, our City Council will have on its agenda several recommendations made by the Mobile Home Rent Stabilization Control board for changes to the local Mobile Home Park Rent Control Ordinance. The intent of this 40-year old law is to protect low-income families and seniors residing in our mobile home parks from predatory rent increases and to preserve our shrinking affordable housing. It worked well in the beginning. Indeed, several families are still benefiting from this regulation. But the ordinance has become nothing more than a nuisance to unscrupulous park owners. Soon after its implementation, park owners found ways to circumvent the ordinance and increase rents. Many units have lost rent control protection and are now paying twice the maximum rent allowed by the regulation. One consequence is that in one park over 60 percent of the spaces have lost rent control protection forever. Another is that this ineffectual ordinance is being held in total contempt by owners and managers because they know they can easily overwhelm any disgruntled resident.
Park owners claim that it is expensive to maintain a park, but it is obvious that maximum profits are their objective because a park owner has seldom, if ever, appeared before the Rent Control Board to ask for a rent increase. To do so would mean a park owner would have to open its books and show cause. Owners are in a class with Trump when it comes to disclosing their financial records. All mobile home residents should attend this very important meeting. It is not necessary to speak out on our behalf but to be there in support. Our mobile home parks have been abused and neglected for too long and all we ask is to be treated fairly and with dignity under the law.