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By Muna Sadek | Source |

“Don’t give up on us,” said Celeste Macklin. “Let us get this rent stabilization passed so we can get some happiness in our final years.”

Macklin was among the residents of Pleasant Valley Mobile Estates who attended Tuesday night’s Chico city council meeting in support of a rent stabilization ordinance. Residents point to back-to-back rent increases, which they say is a result of “corporate greed.”

“Because we are on limited incomes, we can’t afford these things without any kind of preparation or anything,” Macklin said.

Council members ultimately voted against the proposal in a 4-2 vote. KRCR reached out to the council members who voted against it and received a response from Tom Van Overbeek.

“New rental housing isn’t built in rent control markets. That money goes someplace else. If we keep doing things to restrict supply, whether it’s rent control or not having land available for development, the cost of housing is gonna continue to go up,” he said.

In Tuesday’s meeting, Tara Williams, a consultant for RSG Inc., gave councilors an overview of California’s 1978 Mobilehome Residency Law which establishes procedures on noticing to residents, lease terms, and allowable fees among other things.

“Mobile home parks are a very unique form of ownership,” she told councilors. “You have a mobile home owner, the resident that lives at the park, and then you have the park owner that owns the underlying land or the space that is being rented… Mobile homeowners make investments, they purchase a home, they make improvements to those homes over time, and if those space rents increase to a point where they can no longer to make the payments, it’s really challenging to just pick up a mobile home and move it to another space.”

Williams says the cost to move a mobile home is often over $25,000.

Following Tuesday’s vote, residents shared a statement with KRCR saying in part:

Moving forward, park residents will be exploring both supporting new council members’ campaigns and the possibility of mounting a voter’s initiative, such as the one in Humboldt County.

In 2016, Humboldt County voters approved a mobile home park rent control initiative. The county later established guidelines to help renters and park owners maneuver the process.

Council member Dale Bennett addressed mobile home park residents Tuesday as well, suggesting they exhaust communication with Legacy Communities, which owns and operates Pleasant Valley Mobile Estates. Residents tell KRCR that Legacy has not responded to repeated letters, emails, and phone calls.

On Wednesday, a representative for Legacy shared a letter addressed to city councilors with KRCR in response to a media request. The letter, in part, reads:

…We strongly oppose rent control and we’re very concerned with the concept of rent control in terms of the negative impact it will have on us in trying to achieve our goals as an operator of high-quality, well-maintained communities. Rent control is detrimental to current operators, our residents, property values (and, consequently city tax revenue) and future investment in the area.

The letter also says that they sell homes for 40 to 60 percent below cost to provide “affordable entry to home ownership.” President Andrew J. Fells continues in the letter to say if rent control is imposed, they can’t continue to offer homes at a discount.

Residents have criticized park ownership for what they say are “unnecessary” upgrades to the park, pointing to a new clubhouse patio without ADA-accessible features.

“You tell me what are you going to improve here,” Dave Donnan previously told KRCR. “They don’t own any of the houses, they own the land…There’s no dog park, there’s no weight room…there used to be a commercial washer and dryer, they took that out. So it’s like they’re charging us more but we’re getting less. They rebuilt the clubhouse but it didn’t need to be done. There was nothing wrong with it.”

EDITOR’s NOTE:  GSMOL Region 2 Manager Hilary Mosher wrote the media release for this article.

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