El Monte Council Supports Assembly Bill that will Help Control Rent at Mobile Home Parks

Chelsea Dickerson
April 10, 2014 • 324 views

The El Monte City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, March 25 to support California Assembly Bill 2587, legislation that, if passed, will enable local cities to modify base rents at certain mobile home parks after conducting rent surveys.

“We need a change in our State laws to be able to control the excessive rent increases that certain residents in our City are facing,” said Councilwoman 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.”

The bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Roger Hernandez, will empower local jurisdictions to conduct surveys to determine the base rent amount for regional mobile home parks. After 90 days, the local government would be able to consider and approve a different base rent amount that is more appropriate for demographic and economic conditions.

Mobile home parks are a source of affordable housing for many low-income households and senior citizens in the City of El Monte. The cost of moving a mobile home is often so expensive that owners are forced to accept onerous rent increases instead of paying the prohibitive cost of moving their mobile home to another park.

Following concerns by residents, the City found that rents at Brookside Mobile Country Club were 51 to 71 percent higher 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.

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2012 election, El Monte voters passed Measure F, the “El Monte Fairness for Mobilehome Owners Ordinance,” which repealed a 1990 voter-approved ordinance that bars the City Council from regulating rental levels in mobile home parks.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 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.

“When voters passed Measure F, they voted for skyrocketing rents to end,” Macias said. “This new law will allow local cities to reset rents at mobile home parks 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.”

Macias also made the recommendation to add language to the bill that would strengthen the disclosure requirements made by park owners during the leasing process.

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