OC Homeowners Claim Landlord is Unfairly Hiking Fees

Residents say they may have no choice but to move out

Some Orange County homeowners claim their landlord is unfairly raising fees to the point where they have no choice but to move out.

"This was once worth $400,000. Now I'd be lucky to get $60,000-$80,000 because of what's hanging over us," homeowner Arlene Pavey said.

Pavey bought a three-bedroom condo in the Shady Hollow complex in Santa Ana in 1979, but she predicts this will be her final Christmas in the home.

All 150 units of the complex sit on leased land. The fee was fixed for 30 years at $42 a month. In 2005, the lease said the landowner could reappraise the neighborhood on Tustin Avenue and increase the lease payments.

In the case of Margaret Rangel, the payment will go up to $1,098 a month, and that amount is retroactive for a total of $96,000.

"I don't have the money. It's just not there. You can't squeeze blood from a turnip," Rangel said.

An attorney for the Rohrs family, which owns the property, accused the homeowners of going to court seven years ago simply to delay the rent payments.

"We're hoping they pay the rent, hoping they comply with the leasehold obligations," attorney Michael Leifer said.

The landlord's attorney said the rent figures are not negotiable, but both sides will be back in court in January.

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