“No one should have an unexpected 35% increase,” Mayor Robert Garcia said.
By Hayley Munguia | Source |
Less than a month after hundreds of folks in a seniors-only mobile home park in Long Beach received notice of a 35% rent hike, city officials have committed to taking action.
After dozens of residents from Belmont Shores Mobile Estates spoke in public comment at the Tuesday, Oct. 15 City Council meeting about their plight, Mayor Robert Garcia and City Councilwoman Suzie Price — whose Third District encompasses the park — said they would ensure Long Beach prevents a similar rent hike from happening in the future.
“No one should have an unexpected 35% increase,” Garcia said, “especially not seniors on a fixed income.”
Among the residents who spoke on the issue Tuesday was Myrna Yoshihiro, who said she didn’t know how she would manage the increase from $1,020 per month to $1,375, effective Jan. 1.“I, and the rest of the 55+ residents, are mainly on a fixed income,” she said. “There’s no way any one of us can pay the increased rent of $355 per month.”
Candace Holcombe, senior vice president of operations at Newport Pacific, the company that manages Belmont Shores Mobile Estates, said in a statement last week that the owners are merely adjusting the rents based on the market — and on the $28 million the park has spent in recent years to renovate the property.
“Belmont Shores Mobile Estates is raising monthly rent rates for the first time in three years,” Holcombe said. “BSME continues to offer a unique ability for 55+ residents to live a beach city lifestyle at an affordable cost.”
Still, some residents have said they can’t afford the rent hike and fear they may become homeless.
Although the state and city have both recently passed laws to protect tenants from rent hikes this high, mobile home owners were exempted from both because they own their houses — just not the land underneath them, which is what the residents at Belmont Shores Mobile Estates rent.
Price, for her part, said she has received plenty of calls, letters and emails from the residents, and she’s researching what can be done on the issue.
“We’re going to look into how we can incorporate mobile home parks into tenant protections,” Price said, referring to an ordinance the council passed earlier this year.