Despite a setback, Mountain View's mobile home residents are pressing forward with their demand to be included under the city's rent control law. On Monday, attorneys representing two Santiago Villa residents filed a suit in the Sixth District Court of Appeal seeking to overturn an unfavorable lower court decision issued last year.
In a decision delivered in August, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Mark Pierce found it far-fetched to believe that the city's rent control law should automatically include space rents for mobile homes. Given the ambiguity, he ruled that granting rental protections for Mountain View's 1,100 mobile homes located in mobile home parks like Santiago Villa was ultimately a decision for the city's Rental Housing Committee, and that body had already voted 3-2 last year to exclude them from rent control.
The new appeal, filed by attorneys with the firm Fenwick & West, argues that including mobile homes should be perceived as mandatory. They note that the city's own attorneys shared this interpretation and had previously advised the Rental Housing Committee to include mobile homes.
In asking for a new review of the case, attorneys representing mobile home residents emphasize that the city's rental control law takes a broad definition of what is covered, and its language specifically lists what types of housing are excluded -- and mobile homes aren't on that list.
While the lawsuit specifically targets the city of Mountain View, it has been opposed aggressively by a coalition of mobile home park owners who stand to take a financial hit if forced to abide by rent control laws. Attorneys representing park owners have pledged to file their own legal challenge if their properties were compelled to abide by Mountain View's rent control ordinance, passed by city voters in 2016 as Measure V.
The appeals case does not yet have a scheduled hearing date.