Rent control may be coming to mobile home parks
LOS ANGELES — On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted to to draft a rent control ordinance for mobile home parks in unincorporated LA County.
“Mobile home residents are in a difficult and unique situation,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “While they own their homes, they do not own the land underneath them. Because so-called ‘mobile’ homes are often not mobile at all, residents are particularly vulnerable to rent hikes.
“It is time the county step in and ensure mobile home residents do not join the ranks of the homeless families living here in LA County.”
The term “mobile home” is misleading. Mobile homes are often placed permanently in a park and moving them is difficult and expensive. This gives mobile home park owners a virtual monopoly and gives residents few options if they cannot afford rent hikes or fees.
Mobile home owners are often forced to sell their homes to their landlords for substantially less than their value because moving the home would be cost-prohibitive.
“We have a critical shortage of affordable rental housing in Los Angeles,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “This proposed rent stabilization program would help protect residents of mobile home parks from unreasonable rent increases while providing park owners with a fair and reasonable return on their investment. Today’s action is one of many steps the County is taking to preserve existing affordable housing and reduce the number of people driven into homelessness by rising rents.”
In unincorporated Los Angeles County, there are 86 mobile home parks and a total of 8,503 mobile home units. 1,381 of these units are in the Fourth District.
The motion which passed today instructs the Community Development Commission to report back to the Board in six months with a proposed mobile home rent regulation ordinance which would: place an annual cap on space rent increases; provide protections for residents against impacts to services and maintenance with reduced space rents; provide a rent increase process for park owners who believe they are not receiving a fair rate of return on their property; and require park owners to complete an annual report on occupancy, rental rates and services and amenities provided by the park.
In drafting the ordinance, the Community Development Commission has been instructed to conduct thorough stakeholder outreach with both mobile home tenants and park owners.
The motion passed by a 4-1 vote, with Supervisor Kathryn Barger voting no.
After several mobile home residents testified at the meeting that they experience intimidation and feared retaliation from mobile home park owners, Hahn said she believes these residents. She also asked county counsel to explore the idea of placing a temporary rent freeze to prevent mobile home park owners from increasing rents ahead of implementation of this ordinance.
County officials will report back to the Board on the feasibility of a rent freeze in 30 days.