At the May 13 City Council meeting, councilmembers voted 3-0 (Mayor Nomura, Councilman Shaw recused) to approve a set of actions suggested by the Mobile Home Rent Stabilization Board. These recommendations stem from the surge in mobile home spaces no longer being subjected to the city’s Rent Stabilization Regulations and include:
• Require owners and managers to disclose information about the maximum rent for the space to prospective tenants
• Require sellers and/or real estate agents to disclose the current rent and maximum monthly space rent to prospective buyers
• Create an advisory portion of the Board to work with staff to hold education meetings for interested parties
• Send a strongly worded letter to state legislators suggesting that they initiate and/or support legislation that addresses some of the existing ambiguities in the State Mobile Home Residency Law.
In Santa Barbara County, Carpinteria has the highest percentage of mobile homes as available housing, making it one of the highest percentages in the state. As such, these ordinances affect a large part of the community. Paralleling the population impacted, three councilmembers asked to be recused because of conflicts of interest: Nomura, Shaw and Gregg Carty. However, with three members missing, a quorum could not be met, and city legal counsel followed procedure and randomly selected Carty to return to the dais and hear and vote on the report.
As rents continue to increase statewide, mobile homeowners are particularly vulnerable. City Manager Dave Durflinger explained, “They are an owner, they have a significant investment…and they are also a renter, a tenant. So, they need to have a lease agreement, as a renter would, and they also have a mortgage. They have all the ties of property ownership and there needs to be a cooperative working relationship. These mobile home rent laws at the state level and locally are aimed at trying to provide some protection for someone, for example, being priced out of a park.” The four actions approved at the recent meeting hope to offer protection and more clarity to prospective buyers.
(ED. NOTE – This effort was spearheaded by Carpinteria mobilehome park residents, including members of GSMOL Chapter 776.)