In a big win for residents who have been fighting the city of Santa Clarita over their skyrocketing rent, the city council voted this week in favor of strict rent control proposals at area mobile home parks.
Many viewers have contacted NBC4 about landlords suddenly imposing drastic rental increases, and in some cases the stories were especially heart-wrenching.
"It’s hurting a lot of people, they can‘t afford it," said Mildred Ballace, an elderly tenant at one of the city’s mobile home park.
For years, city law allowed owners of parks like Ballace’s to raise rent annually by a minimum of 3 percent to a maximum of 6 percent -- far outpacing many of the residents' cost of living increases.
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"There’s been some very large increases in the past," said City Councilman TimBen Boydston.
In the wake of an I-Team story, Santa Clarita’s City Council has acted, voting 4 to 1 this week in favor of strict rent control proposal at the parks.
The council’s new plan caps annual rent hikes at 5 percent.
And perhaps even better for tenants, there's a zero percent minimum -- meaning landlords will no longer be able to impose an automatic increase each year, any increases will be tied to the consumer price index.
For Ballace, the rent control proposal means fewer financial worries. She’s still on a fixed income, but has choices now on how to spend her money that didn’t exist with annual 3 percent rate increases.
"It’s less groceries, less everything. You can’t even smile because you don’t know if you want to buy this or buy that to save some money," she said.
The vote will be submitted for final approval on July 14.
Property owners have vowed to sue the city of Santa Clarita for imposing stricter rent control ordinances, but Councilman Boydston said at this point, the city has not been served with any lawsuit.