Home / Mobile / Water Rate Increase and Mobile Home Rent Control at Fullerton City Council April 2 – Fullerton Observer

Water Rate Increase and Mobile Home Rent Control at Fullerton City Council April 2 – Fullerton Observer

Local Government

Two items of intense interest will be discussed at the April 2, at 6:30pm City Council meeting held at City Hall: Proposed increases in Water Rates;  and Rent Control options for mobile home parks within the City of Fullerton.

Unfortunately the agenda item #7 for the discussion of rent control states incorrectly that the owner of Rancho La Paz has “rescinded” the rent increases. Actually the owner has given a 155-day reprieve to mobile homeowners in the park. What happens after that is still up in the air. So – “postponed” would have been a better word.

To see the entire agenda package and back-up material for these and other issues that will come up at the meeting visit www.cityoffullerton.com and hit on the Meetings and Agendas link on the first page. Below are the two items of interest:

  1. DISCUSSION AND DIRECTION REGARDING ABILITY TO CONTROL RENT INCREASES IN MOBILE HOME PARKS WITHIN CITY AND / OR OTHER OPTIONS REGARDING PRESERVING AFFORDABLE HOUSING OPTIONS WITHIN MOBILE HOME PARKS Residents at one of the City’s mobile home parks were served with a 90day notice of increased rents, ranging from $197 to $397 a month, which have since been rescinded by the new owner. The rent increases as initially proposed for some senior and low-income renters was approximately 55% more than their current rent. The rent increases if implemented, according to the tenants, would have priced residents out of their rental spaces thereby placing seniors and other low-income residents into lesser living conditions or homelessness. While the park owner has since rescinded the increases, it brought to light the fragile nature of some mobile home park tenants’ ability to retain affordable housing under current state law which allows a rent increase with a 90 day notice.Request by the Mayor:

    1. Discuss rent stability options for mobile home park tenants to include possibility of implementing a rent control ordinance for mobile home parks.
    2. Provide direction to City Manager regarding alternative options to preserve affordable housing opportunities within mobile home parks within the City.

According to the agenda back up material:

While exact demographics are not known, the mobile home park is age-restricted and contains a very high percentage of seniors and person on fixed-income. Public comments at the March 19, 2019 City Council meeting included many examples of people not able to afford the increase in rents with many saying their income would barely cover the rent increase or not at all. Several of the speakers were veterans, on disability, or existing on Social Security payments and had chosen the park due to its very affordable pricing.

Based on public comments and potential that many residents could find themselves displaced if the rents were increased as proposed, City officials in both Anaheim and Fullerton began meeting with residents and placed calls to the management and ownership of the mobile home park. Additionally, efforts to draft emergency moratoriums on rental increases were proposed. There is some question as to whether a general law city may adopt an urgency ordinance, which requires a four-fifths vote of the City Council, to impose a moratorium on rental increases, because Government Code section 65858 limits such urgency measures to immediate threats to the public health, safety, or welfare with respect to land use matters. The City of Anaheim, which is a charter city, has informed Staff that it is citing to Section 400 of its Charter to introduce an urgency ordinance to impose a temporary moratorium on mobile home rental rate increases.

Accordingly, the Mayor wanted the opportunity to discuss rent stability options for mobile home park tenants to include the possibility of implementing a rent control ordinance for mobile home parks. Such an ordinance would be governed by the provisions of the California Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL) (Civil Code section 798 et seq.). The MRL exempts from local rent control any mobile home space subject to a long-term (a year or longer) rental agreement, any newly constructed mobile home space first offered for rent on or after January 1, 1990, and mobile homes not being used as a person’s primary residence which are not being leased to someone else (Civil Code §§ 798.17, 798.21, and 798.45). There is flexibility in how a city would impose rent control and costs associated with its enforcement.

However, it must be noted that with rent control, there are associated costs and administrative requirements of a City imposing such control. For example, a city would be required to create an administrative process for hearing requests for increases and appeals of any such denials. Along with the necessary staffing, a city would impose a fee upon the actual parks to cover the costs of the rent control implementation which it can be argued the owners of any affected mobile home park would pass back to their tenants, thereby increasing the rent requirement. As there are many facets to implementing rent control programs, this item should be fully researched and could be more openly discussed in a study session format.

Additionally, based on the discussion and public comments, the Mayor wanted the opportunity for the City Council to provide direction to the City Manager regarding alternative options to preserve affordable housing opportunities within mobile home parks in the City.

#8. WATER RATE STUDY PRESENTATION AND SET PUBLIC HEARING DATE

Approval of Citizen Water Rate Ad Hoc Committee recommendations, as shown in “Water Rate Recommendation” presentation and draft “Water Rate Study” report, along with authorization to mail Proposition 218 Notification.

Recommendation by the Public Works Department:

    1. Approve water rate recommendations presented in “Water Rate Recommendation” presentation and “Water Rate Study” report.
    2. Authorize mailing of Proposition 218 notice which starts 45-day comment period related to the proposed rate structure changes and rate increases.
    3. Set Public Hearing for June 4, 2019 related to water rate structure changes and adjustments.

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