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Rent hike decision may come next month

Polynesian Mobile Home Park residents protected from increase until ruling is made

Posted: January 6, 2010 9:30 p.m.
Updated: January 7, 2010 4:55 a.m.

This Dec. 16, 2009, photo shows the bridge leading to the Polynesian Mobile Home Park in Canyon Country. A rent increase on residents of the park is proposed to offset the cost of flood damage repairs, including this bridge at the park entrance.

 

A city panel in charge of rent at local mobile home parks expects to decide as soon as next month whether the owners of Polynesian Mobile Home Park in Newhall could hike rent for its low-income residents by up to $200.

The panel met with city staff and an attorney on Wednesday about a potential lawsuit regarding the case, but made no decisions, Housing Program Administrator Erin Lay said.

While residents of the park are left waiting to hear if their rent will increased, the owners of the park are not allowed to change rent until after the panel comes to a final decision, Lay said.

The panel's next public hearing will be on Feb. 3, Lay said.

The fight between the owners of the park and its residents over the proposed rent increase began in September when residents were told by mail that their rent would be increased in January to pay for flood damage sustained by the park in 2005.

Residents appealed the rent hike to the panel in November. The lawyer representing park residents has said the increase is retaliation for a negligence lawsuit that cost park owners $500,000 in April.

In an interview Wednesday morning, panel member John Lang said he hoped the panel could reach a decision as soon as possible.
The process has been dragged out in part because it was hard to reach people over the holidays.

Lang owns Placerita Mobile Home Park and represents other park owners on the panel.

Since the last meeting in December, panel members have had to review more than 100 pages of financial documents and rent analysis from Polynesian Mobile Home Park LLC and the city, panel member Bob White said.

White lives in Parklane Mobile Estates off of Soledad Canyon Road and represents other park residents on the panel.

At the last public meeting in December, more than 100 residents from the park showed up and told the panel the proposed rent increase was too steep. The meeting took hours and ended about 11:45 p.m., White said.

About 30 residents in the 143-space park are living on a fixed income. On average, residents would see about a 39 percent increase in rent if the panel approves the $200 hike.

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