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Publication Date: Friday, October 10, 2003


Lieber mobile home bill becomes law Lieber mobile home bill becomes law (October 10, 2003)

Assembly member said anti-abuse measure inspired by experiences in Mountain View

By Candice Shih

A bill inspired by the experiences of local mobile home owners was signed into law by Gov. Gray Davis on Saturday.

AB 1059 -- authored by state Assembly member and former Mountain View Mayor Sally Lieber -- is intended to protect tenants from landlord abuse.

Although the original bill was written to prevent any type of landlord harassment, it was amended to cover only manipulation that is intended to make tenants move out. It includes a penalty of up to $2,000 if a landlord uses fraud, extortion, threats, or force to influence tenants to move, and raises the existing penalty for retaliatory conduct from $1,000 to $2,000.

"In our negotiations in the Assembly and in the Senate, we were forced to narrow the bill somewhat," said Lieber. "But it's still a very significant measure for the folks who are subjected to abuse."

The bill passed the Assembly 49 to 29, and won in the Senate 22-13.

Lieber, who is chair of the Assembly's Select Committee on Mobile Homes, said this legislation, which applies to all types of tenants, was a result of her work with mobile home owners and park managers in Mountain View.

Before she left for Sacramento in December, Lieber brought several initiatives to the city council designed to support tenants at Santiago Villa and Sahara Village mobile home parks, where relations between tenants and park owner John Vidovich have been tense for years.

Vidovich did not respond to requests for comment.

The city council is currently in the process of reviewing efforts to address the citizen complaints.

"What we found in Mountain View mobile home parks was that many times when landlords have a financial incentive to get a tenant out, they are emotionally terrorizing single women living alone," said Lieber.

Another bill she authored, AB 1287 would require mobile home park owners to provide prospective homeowners with a copy of the rules and regulations of the park and a copy of the Mobilehome Residency Law if requested. It was passed by both the Assembly and Senate and is waiting Davis' signature.

Two more of Lieber's mobile home bills, which would increase the protection of homeowners from eviction and would make it easier for homeowners to access the Manufactured Home Recovery Fund, did not pass, although they may be reintroduced in January, Lieber said.

Lieber is also working on new measures to introduce next year that would further protect mobile home owners from abusive landlords.

E-mail Candice Shih at cshih@mv-voice.com


 

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