“I wake up every day in fear – fear that I will lose my home … Along with my fear, I also have a prayer and my prayer is that someone will help us, someone will help us save our homes. City council members, I’m hoping that you will be that someone.” Jeanne Farrens
Two Petaluma Parks: A Premonition for the Perilous Future of MHP Across the State and Nation
With the national trend toward rent control and rent stabilization growing, alarmed real estate conglomerates are trying to find any and all ways to block cities and communities from establishing any limits on their ability to increase rents with impunity and collect their egregious profits. Among these greedy conglomerates are mobile home park owners. Over the summer two parks in Petaluma, Little Woods Mobile Villa and Youngstown MHPs, became victims of the latest scheme by park owners to subvert the protections provided by the city’s rent stabilization ordinance. In spite of being a rent controlled property, after Youngstown MHP was sold to new owners in 2020, residents received a notice of rent increases of up to 40 percent. They fought against the rent hike in arbitration and won and then lobbied the city for stronger ordinances to strengthen the rules around rent control and won again.
But then notices started coming. First there was an advisory that Youngstown might change its senior-only status, followed by a letters from owners of both parks saying they would close altogether, citing that the owners could no longer operate the parks ‘based on measures taken by the state and local government”, a clear reference to the city council’s decision to lower its cap on annual rent increases for mobile home parks. Then in August residents received in the mail a 200 page notice of a rent increase as high as 159%! This all in spite of the city’s rent stabilization ordinance. Petaluma owners are following suit with other conglomerates across the country by claiming that rent control is unconstitutional. “Petaluma’s mobile home rent control ordinance cannot act as an unconstitutional taking of private property, because all property owners in the U.S. are constitutionally entitled to earn a fair and reasonable return on the capital they invested to buy their property."
Even though the proposed rent hikes are clearly above the cap, the issue must still go to arbitration. In the meantime, in response to the rent hikes and the fear of park closures, Petaluma park residents have organized. Their struggle is not just about rent increases. They’re fighting for their homes.
What’s happening in Petaluma may be shaping up as a much larger legal challenge to the concept of rent control in general. And it may represent a premonition of the perilous future of MH communities across the entire nation. Read the saga of Petaluma in the following articles.
Click the following to read the articles
- Petaluma mobile home parks threaten closure over rent ordinance 7/19/23
- Petaluma mobile home residents fear eviction by property owners - CBS San Francisco 7/31/23
- Petaluma mobile home residents panicked by massive proposed rent increases - CBS San Francisco 8/10/23
- Petaluma Mobile Home Residents Organize in Fight Against Park Closure 9/7/23
- Petaluma mobile home park residents facing 300% rent increase 10/05/23
SCOTUS Refuses to Hear NY Anti-Rent Control Case
Great news! For now.
Landlords had argued that a rent-stabilization law that covers about a million units in NY is an unconstitutional government taking of private property. While the Court announced on Oct 2 that it would not hear the challenge, other petitions asking the Supreme Court to rule on aspects of the regulations are pending. Keep on alert for further decisions on a case that could impact the future of rent stabilization nationally.
Organizing Mobile-Home Owners as Investors - Like IPG - Gobble Up Parks
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Check out the NMHOA Newsletter
The NMHOA is a nation-wide membership based organization representing and advocating for manufactured home owners. Their mission is to promote, represent, preserve, and enhance the rights and interests of manufactured home-owners throughout the United States. Their monthly E-blasts contain important up-to-date information on legislative actions, analyses of bills, and a link to their website where readers can sign up for the newsletter, as well as find further information and articles on state mobile home associations and NMHOA accomplishments and homeowner stories, as well as organizing efforts taking place across the country. Please share these monthly E-blasts with as many home owners and other interested individuals as you can via email. The E-blast is an important way for NMHOA to share exciting news from across the country.
The California Apartment Association (CAA) is funding political committees.
The California Apartment Association (CAA) is funding political committees also funded by big oil, big tobacco, privatized healthcare, and prison guards who are making our communities less stable, safe, sicker, and less able to fight climate change.
In 2018-2020 alone, the CAA spent over $121 million to defeat 2 statewide-ballot measures that would have drastically expanded tenants’ rights statewide.
The CAA, and the interests they align with in their political contributions, are all deeply rooted in putting profits over people with our communities paying the price. These interests profit from our communities whether we are housed (higher rents, utilities) or if we are unhoused (homelessness to prison pipeline).
See More from this article authored by ACCE, Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability, PICO California, Tenants Together & Housing NOW! California.
MHRC Joined MH Action in Sacramento and visited legislators to lobby for