El Monte City Council to Consider Rent Control Law
By Chelsea Dickerson
August 7, 2013 • 809 views
El Monte -
Following the release of an economic study that revealed that Brookside Mobile County Club is charging residents exorbitant rents, the El Monte City Council will consider adopting a rent control ordinance at its Aug. 6 meeting.
“This is a positive step forward for mobile home owners who have long been subjected to drastic rent increases that, in some cases, have imperiled their very livelihoods,” said Mayor Pro Tem Norma Macias, who has been a champion of the issue for nearly two years. “This is also an important, long-term solution to stopping price gouging and protecting our residents from those who prey on them and their vulnerability.”
During the November 2012 election, El Monte voters passed Measure F, the “El Monte Fairness for Mobilehome Owners Ordinance,” which repealed a 1990 voter-approved ordinance that bars the City Council from regulating rental levels in mobile home parks.
The approval put into motion a comprehensive study that exposed the need for the City of El Monte to step in and protect the community’s most vulnerable residents. Los Angeles-based land economics and real estate consulting firm Waronzof Associates, Inc. conducted a comprehensive economic and demographic study of mobile home parks in the City.
According to the study – which provides insight into housing affordability, tenure, living conditions, economic needs of parks for operation, capital improvements and competitive return on investment – about 48 percent of those living in the park and are below the age of 55 are impoverished.
Brookside residents were found to be paying 51 to 71 percent higher rents than the equivalent apartment rent space.
A 2012 survey, which did not include Brookside, showed the average rent paid in El Monte’s mobile home parks was $488 per space a month. In contrast, the 2013 City tenant survey found Brookside rents to average $1,322 per space a month, with a high of $1,633 per space a month.
The passage of Measure F restored certain powers to the City Council that would enable members to inquire into the fairness of rents being charged at mobile home parks in El Monte and consider measures to protect affordable housing resources within parks, including rent control.
On June 18, the City Council extended an urgency ordinance that imposed a moratorium on pending or new rent increases on mobile home park rents of $1,000 or more to Sept. 29 to allow for permanent regulatory action.
The ordinance also prevented mobile home park owners from requiring tenants or prospective tenants to enter into any park space rental agreement that has not been subject to rent stabilization regulations.
Using information from the study to formulate the new law, the City Council on July 16 directed staff to prepare an ordinance that establishes a review board to consider rent increases and appeals.
“When voters passed Measure F, they voted for skyrocketing rents to end,” Macias said. “Setting up a new ordinance to regulate how high rent at mobile home parks can be before they become excessive and begin to take advantage of residents, who often live on fixed incomes, is imperative to addressing home owners’ concerns in a fair and just manner.”
City staff is preparing a Mobilehome Park Rent Stabilization Ordinance for public hearing and consideration at the Aug. 6 City Council meeting. The Planning Commission will also consider a proposed mobile home park conversion ordinance at a special Aug. 13 meeting.