LA County Considers Rent Control Ordinance for Mobile Home Parks

If ultimately passed, any ordinance would apply to 102 parks in unincorporated Los Angeles County

The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to consider capping rents at mobile home parks in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

Supervisor Janice Hahn recommended a rent control ordinance after residents of Rowland Heights Mobile Estates complained to the board about rent increases, unfair evictions and being forced to sign contracts for as long as 15 years in order to secure a space, among other concerns.

"Mobile home residents are in a difficult and unique situation,'' Hahn said. "While they own their homes, they do not own the land underneath it and so-called 'mobile' homes are often not mobile at all. This is a population that is particularly vulnerable to rent hikes, and it is time the county step in and provide them a level of reasonable protections." 

Hahn said mobile home parks amount to a virtual monopoly. Those who cannot afford rents are sometimes forced to sell their homes to park owners at a discount.

A representative of the Rowland Heights property said the owners offered rental assistance programs to residents and had worked to address other complaints.

The 327-home park is seeking to renew its conditional use permit to operate, and residents have appealed an initial decision by regional planners to allow the renewal.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl co-authored the motion.

"We have a critical shortage of affordable rental housing in Los Angeles," Kuehl said. "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." 

Kuehl has focused on the overall lack of affordable housing as a root cause of homelessness.

The board directed its lawyers and regional planners to research the feasibility of limiting rent hikes and addressing other unfair practices by mobile home park owners.

If ultimately passed, any ordinance would apply to 102 parks in unincorporated Los Angeles County, according to Hahn.

A report is expected back in 60 days.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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