A manufactured housing community (MHC) senior rent control initiative may become law when it goes on the ballot for voters to decide in Lakeport, California on the June 2014 referendum. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to put the measure to the people after the group, “Save our Seniors,” collected 2,500 signatures. The proposal rolls rents back to Jan. 1, 2012 and requires increases to be based upon Social Security increases, and applies to any MHC where at least 80 percent of the homes have one person over age 55. A social services director says it will stabilize rents for long-term tenants, especially seniors who are already on fixed incomes. According to lakeconews.com, Doug Johnson of the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association (WMHCA) sent board members a letter asking them not to approve placing the initiative on the ballot. He wrote, “Any law that proposes – as the rent control initiative currently before your Board does – to strip almost all the economic value of a property in perpetuity, without just compensation and a rational process of appeal, is a gross violation of the Takings Clause and the Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” County Counsel Anita Grant, telling the board they could order her office to determine if the proposal is lawful before the ballot, says they should not make it an ordinance because she questions whether it would survive judicial scrutiny. Richard Filipowicz, owner of Kelsey Creek Mobile Home Park in Kelseyville, who will not be affected by the initiative, states he opposes it, and says the county will have the cost of enforcing it and any litigation that may arise. Counselor Grant said there are two approaches: An appellate court has ruled that because of the cost of placing an item on the ballot, there is cause to examine the proposal before hand; but a CA Supreme Court ruling says the democratic process should move forward and legal review should occur afterward. As MHProNews understands, the costs of operating a community could outstrip SS increases. The board voted 5-0 to put it on the June ballot.
(Photo credit: santeepatch.com–MHC, Santee, Calif.)