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Mobile home residents storm City Hall

Voice opposition to the proposed rent hikes

Posted: December 3, 2008 10:55 p.m.
Updated: December 4, 2008 4:30 a.m.
 

Dozens of local mobile home park residents packed City Hall Wednesday night to plea with the city's Manufactured Home Rental Adjustment Panel to accept their appeals against a proposed rent hike at two local mobile home parks.

"It would create a lot of seniors that either become homeless or be forced to have foreclosures," said Carol Parks, resident of Cordova Estates Mobile Home Park in Canyon Country.

Parks started a petition and gathered more than 200 signatures to bring the rent concerns at Cordova and Greenbrier Estates Mobile Home parks in Canyon Country before the panel.

Both parks are managed by Francis Property Management.

Currently, the residents of Cordova Estates Mobile Home Park, a majority of whom are senior citizens living on fixed incomes, pay $638 a month, Parks said.

The proposed 5.7 percent rent increase would add $36 to the rent, effective Jan. 1, Parks said.

In the staff's recommendation, Erin Moore-Lay, housing program administrator for the city, said the city has considered the rent increase to be "reasonable."

The city ordinance considers a rent adjustment to be reasonable if there is an increase in the Consumer Price Index, a rise in the cost of government-required services and an increase in utility costs.

During public comment, Nancy Must, who recused herself from voting on the panel to speak on behalf of Francis Property Management, told the panel that the company has seen an increase in expenses.

"We are experiencing exactly the same thing you are," she said, inciting boos from the mobile home residents.

By 8:30 p.m., the panel had not voted on whether to institute the rent adjustment, however, panel members shared concerns that their hands were tied if the rent adjustment met the requirements of the city ordinance.

The five-person panel that heard the appeals is made up of two residents of local mobile home parks, two mobile home park owner representatives and one mediator serving as chairman, according to Moore-Lay.

The city established an ordinance in 1991 to protect the tenants of mobile home parks from unreasonable rent increases while at the same time recognizing the right of mobile home park owners to receive a fair return on their property.

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