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By PK HATTIS | Source |

CAPITOLA — Following a public outcry earlier this month from Capitola mobile home park residents condemning a significant rental increase from their property owner, Capitola leaders will consider taking action this week to address the situation.

The Capitola City Council will weigh an urgency ordinance at its Thursday meeting that would, if passed, immediately add mobile home park rent stabilization measures to its municipal code.

The City Council requested the proposed ordinance after numerous residents of Cabrillo Mobile Home Estates Park at 930 Rosedale Ave. showed up at the council’s May 11 meeting saying they had been notified that their rents would increase 56% from $641 to $1,000 effective June 1.

The increase was announced in advance of the expiration of existing 12-year leases at the 68-space mobile home park set to end May 31. The long-term leases were agreed to in 2011 by residents and park owner Vieira Enterprises as a way of circumventing the city’s more complex rent stabilization ordinance, which was amended earlier that year to settle several lawsuits.

The Cabrillo Estates agreement set a monthly base rent per space at $475, with an annual increase consistent with the consumer price index – or average change over time paid by urban consumers – according to the staff report.

A few of the requirements and impact of the proposed ordinance, which would apply to Cabrillo Estates, include:

• A maximum allowable annual increase at 5% plus the consumer price index or as much as 10% of the base rent, whichever amount is lower. The base rent would be the rent as of Thursday.

• Exemptions include spaces that are subject to a lease longer than 12 months; newly constructed spaces; spaces where the tenant does not claim the space as a principal residence; spaces subject to an agreement that offers more protection than the ordinance; parks that are owned by residents.

• Requires park owners who are requesting a long-term lease, which would be exempt from the ordinance, to allow residents the option of a shorter term lease, which would be subject to the ordinance.

• Permits park owners to raise the rent of spaces that become vacant by 15% and that rent will become the base rent for that space once it is occupied.

• Guarantees a fair return on the owner’s investment in the park.

A detailed overview of the ordinance is at

The seven other mobile home parks in Capitola – excluding Cabrillo Estates – are currently subject to some affordability controls and are either owned by the residents, have existing long-term leases, or are owned by a nonprofit.

Unlike a regular ordinance and most other council votes, the urgency ordinance can only pass with approval from four of five councilmembers.

To provide an extra layer of protection against a potential legal challenge, city staff will also introduce at Thursday’s meeting a standard ordinance with the same rental controls in substance. If the council approves the first reading of the standard ordinance at the Thursday meeting, it would put it on track for final passage June 8 and an effective date of July 8, according to the staff report.

That ordinance would then replace the urgency ordinance, which would immediately go into effect if adopted Thursday.

[ED. NOTE: GSMOL Chapter 51 and Homeowners Association at Cabrillo Mobile Estates initiated this effort to get an urgency Rent Stabilization Ordinance on the agenda for the City Council, assisted by GSMOL Corporate Counsel Bruce Stanton, GSMOL Zone B-1 VP Anne Anderson, GSMOL VP at Large Henry Cleveland, and GSMOL Region 10 Manager Rick Halterman.]

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