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Mountain View poised to pass mobile home rent control by September

Rent control could soon apply to mobile homes in Mountain View, under an ordinance that could be voted on in August or September. Photo by Michelle Le

Mountain View City Council members agreed Tuesday night to prioritize extending rent control to mobile homes, unanimously agreeing to fast-track an ordinance that's set to come before the council as soon as August.

The decision comes more than a year after council members signaled support for extending renter protections to Mountain View's six mobile home parks. The ordinance is expected to closely mirror the city's existing rent control law, which covers apartments and other rental units.

Mobile home groups have long held that rent control, under the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA), should have applied to mobile homes from the get-go. But the city's Rental Housing Committee, tasked with administering rent control, has repeatedly disagreed.

Mobile home residents sued to reverse the committee's decision, but ultimately lost the battle in court in January. City officials cited the pending litigation as reason to pump the brakes on a mobile home rent control ordinance, which made the defeat in court a green light to move forward.

The rough framework of the ordinance would limit annual rent increases similar to the CSFRA, while removing provisions from the city's rent control law that would have conflicted with the state's Mobilehome Residency Law. The Rental Housing Committee would be responsible for overseeing and administering rent control for mobile homes, which includes petitions to increase or decrease rent.

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Council members all endorsed expediting the ordinance at the March 16 meeting, making it a high priority during a lengthy, late-night debate on what big-ticket items the city should tackle over the next few years. City officials cautioned the council to take a lean approach -- noting that staff time is already strained -- and plenty of projects were deferred or removed outright.

Casualties include a local ordinance that would have prohibited the sale of e-vaping and flavored tobacco products in Mountain View, and an ordinance that would've regulated e-scooters.

Though mobile home rent control is moving forward, some of the nuts and bolts of the ordinance are up for debate. At the Tuesday meeting, Councilwoman Lisa Matichak advocated for an exception in the ordinance that would allow landlords and tenants to negotiate a long-term lease that wouldn't necessarily have the same terms as the CSFRA. She said this would be a strong option for "responsible" park owners who have a strong relationship with their tenants and who don't really need rent control.

Mobile home park owners and regional groups including the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association have long advocated for these accords, or model leases, in lieu of rent control.

Councilwoman Margaret Abe-Koga said the exception for long-term leases should, at the very least, come back as an option for consideration in August or September, when the ordinance is expected to come before the council for approval.

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"I would like to see all of that come back to us, so we can really decide what is best for mobile home parks," Abe-Koga said.

Other council members felt these model leases only opened the door for exceptions to a uniformly applied set of renter protections for Mountain View's mobile homes. Councilwoman Sally Lieber said she wanted a "clean" ordinance, which mobile home residents overwhelmingly support and expect from the council.

"It's not my wish to change the goalposts now," Lieber said. "I think we need to keep faith with what we've offered to the public."

Councilwoman Alison Hicks agreed, and said she has yet to hear from mobile home residents who want an accord beyond what's contained in the CSFRA.

City Attorney Krishan Chopra said the ordinance being crafted behind the scenes right now does provide for an exception for park owners to offer some type of alternate arrangement or long-term lease, so long as it is at least as protective as the underlying rent control ordinance.

On the campaign trail last year, Matichak explicitly advocated for model leases alongside rent control, consistent with her calls for an exception Tuesday night. Lieber's calls for a clean bill echo her decadeslong fight for mobile home rent control in the city.

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Mountain View poised to pass mobile home rent control by September

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, Mar 17, 2021, 1:17 pm

Mountain View City Council members agreed Tuesday night to prioritize extending rent control to mobile homes, unanimously agreeing to fast-track an ordinance that's set to come before the council as soon as August.

The decision comes more than a year after council members signaled support for extending renter protections to Mountain View's six mobile home parks. The ordinance is expected to closely mirror the city's existing rent control law, which covers apartments and other rental units.

Mobile home groups have long held that rent control, under the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA), should have applied to mobile homes from the get-go. But the city's Rental Housing Committee, tasked with administering rent control, has repeatedly disagreed.

Mobile home residents sued to reverse the committee's decision, but ultimately lost the battle in court in January. City officials cited the pending litigation as reason to pump the brakes on a mobile home rent control ordinance, which made the defeat in court a green light to move forward.

The rough framework of the ordinance would limit annual rent increases similar to the CSFRA, while removing provisions from the city's rent control law that would have conflicted with the state's Mobilehome Residency Law. The Rental Housing Committee would be responsible for overseeing and administering rent control for mobile homes, which includes petitions to increase or decrease rent.

Council members all endorsed expediting the ordinance at the March 16 meeting, making it a high priority during a lengthy, late-night debate on what big-ticket items the city should tackle over the next few years. City officials cautioned the council to take a lean approach -- noting that staff time is already strained -- and plenty of projects were deferred or removed outright.

Casualties include a local ordinance that would have prohibited the sale of e-vaping and flavored tobacco products in Mountain View, and an ordinance that would've regulated e-scooters.

Though mobile home rent control is moving forward, some of the nuts and bolts of the ordinance are up for debate. At the Tuesday meeting, Councilwoman Lisa Matichak advocated for an exception in the ordinance that would allow landlords and tenants to negotiate a long-term lease that wouldn't necessarily have the same terms as the CSFRA. She said this would be a strong option for "responsible" park owners who have a strong relationship with their tenants and who don't really need rent control.

Mobile home park owners and regional groups including the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association have long advocated for these accords, or model leases, in lieu of rent control.

Councilwoman Margaret Abe-Koga said the exception for long-term leases should, at the very least, come back as an option for consideration in August or September, when the ordinance is expected to come before the council for approval.

"I would like to see all of that come back to us, so we can really decide what is best for mobile home parks," Abe-Koga said.

Other council members felt these model leases only opened the door for exceptions to a uniformly applied set of renter protections for Mountain View's mobile homes. Councilwoman Sally Lieber said she wanted a "clean" ordinance, which mobile home residents overwhelmingly support and expect from the council.

"It's not my wish to change the goalposts now," Lieber said. "I think we need to keep faith with what we've offered to the public."

Councilwoman Alison Hicks agreed, and said she has yet to hear from mobile home residents who want an accord beyond what's contained in the CSFRA.

City Attorney Krishan Chopra said the ordinance being crafted behind the scenes right now does provide for an exception for park owners to offer some type of alternate arrangement or long-term lease, so long as it is at least as protective as the underlying rent control ordinance.

On the campaign trail last year, Matichak explicitly advocated for model leases alongside rent control, consistent with her calls for an exception Tuesday night. Lieber's calls for a clean bill echo her decadeslong fight for mobile home rent control in the city.

Comments

Manduhai
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Mar 17, 2021 at 2:15 pm
Manduhai, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Mar 17, 2021 at 2:15 pm

It has taken a long time, but it is very pleasing to see that the council is finally moving forward on this issue. Rent control for mobile home residents is a natural part of rent control. Thank you Ms. Matichak (and others) for your support of this resolution.


Raymond
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Mar 17, 2021 at 2:46 pm
Raymond , Monta Loma
Registered user
on Mar 17, 2021 at 2:46 pm

With rent control limiting income of mobile park owners, is it possible that we will see some of our very few parks converted to different uses? The result could the loss of some of the lowest rents available in this area. Intents do not matter, results do.


Lenny Siegel2
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Mar 17, 2021 at 3:53 pm
Lenny Siegel2, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Mar 17, 2021 at 3:53 pm

Mountain View's mobile home parks are zoned as mobile home parks. They cannot be redeveloped without a zoning change. Without such protective zoning, some of the properties would have been redeveloped years ago.


sfcanative
Registered user
Whisman Station
on Mar 17, 2021 at 8:18 pm
sfcanative, Whisman Station
Registered user
on Mar 17, 2021 at 8:18 pm

Once again we see local government mandating and implementing onerous laws which essentially make landowners, and mobile home park owners in particular, the scapegoat, purveyors and involuntary custodians of affordable housing which is a duty of the community at large, not private land owners. Why is this happening? Because Mt. View's City Hall has dropped the ball and can't keep their hands out of the tax cookie jar by over-regulating everything under the sun. Allowing over development has driven up the value of an acre of land in Mt. View to ten million dollars. Then everyone wonders why there's a housing problem. It's a taking of property supposedly protected under the Constitution. And this coming from a Democrat.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Mar 18, 2021 at 8:19 am
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Mar 18, 2021 at 8:19 am

Move away and don't compound The Demand side of the equation. Or - eliminate restrictive single-family goverment zonning = Redlining? Mandating and onerous?

It is clear that Lisa and Margaret will keep on advocating for their similar positions on Public Policy. But 2 out of this Council is not a majority. I am glad to see that the City Council system of priority setting is Working Wonderfully. Not everything can get done - but Priorities do get done and the city staff is 'worked hard but not overworked'. (My Taxes at work)


Rick valley
Registered user
another community
on Mar 27, 2021 at 10:53 am
Rick valley, another community
Registered user
on Mar 27, 2021 at 10:53 am

I live at the Plaza Del Rey community mobilehome park in Sunnyvale. Just about every home here is under water, if not every home. Hometown america ownership has boosted space rents to $2380.00, or $2540 if you have a garage to the new buyers. $80,000,000 to $100,000,000 in lost home values, if you figure about $100,000 dollars per home. People cannot sell, or must do so at such a loss, its not a choice. The city council here in Sunnyvale is trying to produce an MOU, a non legally binding contract with all parties, which is a waste of time. God bless them though for taking it on, but homeowners deserve protection by an ordinance to show corporate GREED that you can't just rip citizens, GOOD peoples lives apart because the shareholders need to recover the funds of making a bad deal, so that they can count their profit. So shameful. 13 parks in Sunnyvale, 12 have relatively no issue with rents or home values, sales or otherwise, because they care more about their community and running their park based on morales, integrity, ethics, and a respect for their residents, not just how much money they can suck out of their investment, and how fast. Hometown america must be harnessed with a HEAVY HAND, because their GREED has cost them any respect here. Thanks Mountain View and the city council for giving HOPE to our community. On April 20th, 2021, City of Sunnyvale city council will be meeting to discuss our problem with MOU VS SRO. I will be using Mtn Views example as part of my 3 minute speech. If you don't stand for something, you stand for nothing. A lot of people suffering here financially, uncertain of their future now, seniors, retirees and many other stories. We've lost 100k, We will be ok, but so many more will not be, that is why III write this, for them. Stories of pain, that from the outside you cannot see, but from the E-mail in my inbox, you can see the despair in their words, and feel the pain through their words.
Any support would be greatly appreciated.


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