In a highly charged campaign that focused on rent control measures for manufactured home communities, Humboldt County, California’s Measure V passed on November 8th with 54.57 percent of the vote.
The Daily Business News has covered the measure V battle extensively, breaking the measure down to its key points:
- Manufactured home community owners would be permitted to raise site rents once annually, and the increase would be tied to inflation via the Consumer Price Index;
- When a home is sold or transferred, new resident site fees could only increase five percent higher than what the previous residents paid;
- A community owner could raise rents to pay for improvements, but would first require written approval from more than 50 percent (a simple majority) of the homeowners/residents.
Both sides involved with the measure provided details on their position leading up to the election.
“In May, a federal jury unanimously found that the city of Carson and its rent control board violated the constitutional rights of the owner of Colony Cove — a mobile home park in Southern California,” said Doug Johnson, who is a member of Citizens Against Rent Control — NO on Measure V, in his letter to the Times-Standard.
“The jury concluded that the board’s rejection of lawfully filed rent increase applications in 2007 and 2008 constituted a regulatory taking without just compensation,” Johnson wrote. “Such government actions are barred by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
Hilary Mosher, chair of the Humboldt Mobile Home Coalition, provided a different take.
“Park owners are being merciless, and in some cases, outside the law in their rush to gouge park residents in raising fees and lot rents prior to the Nov. 8 election,” Mosher alleged.
“This provides us with a perfect example of why Measure V is necessary – park owners are not required to be fair with their increases and we park residents are captive and have no say about whatever they want to do to us,” Mosher continued.
“One park owner in McKinleyville, who failed to give tenants adequate notice, has even gone so far as to tell them in a letter that if Measure V does not pass, he may not raise the rent! We view this as voter manipulation and intimidation.”
The MH industry also weighed in with their perspective.
“Park owners in Humboldt County have been addressing the issue of alleged “excessive” rent for well over a year,” attorney C. William Dahlin told MHProNews.
“However, the reality is that rents in Humboldt County are not excessive. Indeed, rents in Humboldt County mobile home parks are exceptionally low. Do the research,” Dahlin said.
“Most Park owners offer long-term leases that address and stabilize any legitimate concern about rent increases,” Dahlin explained. “A rent increase that reflects an increase in property taxes simply reflects the costs of doing business. Not one penny of such increases go to the park owner. Rather, such funds go the county for roads as well as police and fire services.”
“I think rent control is a symptom of a larger problem. To my eye, these stories are always about both sides doubling down politically and legally,” Paul Bradley, president of Resident Owned Communities (ROCUSA) told MHProNews.
“I would like to think there are alternatives that don’t rely on third-party boards and local ordinances. I approach things with a win/win mindset, and from what I’ve seen; courts and boards seem to satisfy neither party in most cases. A fundamentally different value proposition and mindset is required to stem the tide of rent control,” said Bradley.
“The fact is, if we [as community owners] raise our rents too high, we will have no sales and no occupancy,” said UMH President and CEO Sam Landy.
“No reasonable landlord would do such a thing. Our rents have to make economic sense or we have no business. Therefore, in the long term, there is never a need for rent control.”
The Daily Business News will continue to monitor the progress of Measure V and its impact on the manufactured housing industry. ##
(Editor’s Note: for a similar, related story featured in a Fox News video, please click here.)
(Image credits are as shown above.)
Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.