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Mobile home residents file appeal over rent control

Original post made on May 10, 2019

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.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 10, 2019, 9:58 AM

Comments (19)

4 people like this
Posted by Joe Cutietta
a resident of Bailey Park
on May 10, 2019 at 2:10 pm

As a resident of one of the city’s mobile home park’s I find this appalling! We are among the most vulnerable residents in the city financially speaking. A large majority of us are seniors on fixed incomes. Some of us grew up here and a going to be forced out. Which could aversely effect our health if we are forced to move. Pretty soon if it hasn’t happened already the city of Mountain View will be a tale of; “ The Haves, and the Have Nots!! “ There will be no service workers just rich tech folks!!


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Old Mountain View

on May 10, 2019 at 2:28 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


5 people like this
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 10, 2019 at 2:55 pm

The greed over taking the City of Mountain View is disgusting. If the city’s own attorneys recommended rent control, to the Rental Housing Committee, that should mean something. Obviously, the members of the committee are highly out of touch with the community. They should be ashamed of themselves.


3 people like this
Posted by PARALLELS
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 10, 2019 at 3:12 pm

Please Mr Noack, read the entire comment before you decide to remove because it really speaks to your article posted.

Reminds me of the 1st attempt to establish a residential parking permit program in Old Mountain View. Single family dwellers got together with the city and proposed 4 permits per single family dweller, specifically excluding PERMIT applications for those in apartments, condos, PUD's and TOD's stating "those kind of dwellers already have plenty of parking (more than single family homes with driveways!).

It took the attorney general of California to say the first iteration of the RPP program was discriminatory. There is a second proposal in the pipeline much more lenient with the hopes of acceptance. Bad news for visitors to downtown Mountain View as there is a dearth of parking on city streets available.. The city will soon be inviting those who can already walk downtown unrestricted parking for their own (2 personal vehicle permits and 2 guest permits)vehicles on city streets adjacent to the downtown parking district.

If the city is managing rent control on multi family landlords, then it should extend those blessings upon mobile home operators, commercial building operators, duplex owners and single family owners. Why discriminate against a few old landlords that operate old residential apartments?


11 people like this
Posted by Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 10, 2019 at 3:47 pm

Beware of rent control for mobile homes, it might cause the owners to sell out for condo development or similar.
Rent control means owners cannot pay for maintenance and improvements. plus what other business has to deal with type of nonsense and control to recover their costs.


Like this comment
Posted by Dubious
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 10, 2019 at 4:19 pm

It seem dubious it would cover mobile homes unless explicitly called out in the law, but we'd have to read the statue to be sure.

Yes, it will likely cause the owners of these mobile home lots to sell and turn them into expensive condos.


18 people like this
Posted by Mountain View Neighboe
a resident of North Whisman
on May 10, 2019 at 4:37 pm

Mountain View Neighboe is a registered user.

Roger of Sylvan Park is correct. Rent Cobtrol is a field day for redevelopment. It’s slready started, as small landlords scramble to keep their properties from devaluing. Rental properties that fall under rent control have lost nearly half their value since rent control was implemented. Landlords are forced to sell before they lose all their equity. Rent Control only affects older properties, many run by small landlords. It literally bankrupts the only affordable housing we have left.

But, of course, renters have zero understanding of this because they don’t own property. How typical. Just keep blaming the other guy and let the whole town get torn down and redeveloped. Nobody gets anything. The deveopers win. No small landlords, no more affordable housing. Get it?


2 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 10, 2019 at 4:51 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Mountain View Neighboeyou said:

“Roger of Sylvan Park is correct. Rent Cobtrol is a field day for redevelopment. It’s slready started, as small landlords scramble to keep their properties from devaluing. Rental properties that fall under rent control have lost nearly half their value since rent control was implemented. Landlords are forced to sell before they lose all their equity. Rent Control only affects older properties, many run by small landlords. It literally bankrupts the only affordable housing we have left.

But, of course, renters have zero understanding of this because they don’t own property. How typical. Just keep blaming the other guy and let the whole town get torn down and redeveloped. Nobody gets anything. The deveopers win. No small landlords, no more affordable housing. Get it?”

Let’s use some real calculations to prove this wrong regarding the claim that the high cost of building makes it impossible to provide affordable housing. I have heard that most projects cost $700,000 to per unit for an apartment to be constructed in Santa Clara.

Let’s understand that that construction will have a lifetime from 50-60 years. Thus you can right off do math to divide the cost by the number of years to establish the annual cost of the unit. But I will go even further by showing an example regarding affordable prices and their results.

Say it is $700,000 to build a 1 bedroom 650 square foot. If you look at that information you can state that $1,077 per square foot for building lifetime.

Say that it could cost another $3,000 annually to maintain that single unit, which adds $6 per square foot for the year.

So first you divide that the lifetime cost by 50 years for the lifetime, which costs $22 for each year and add the yearly $6 you come to a total of $28. Per square foot per year

You divide that by 12 months and the monthly cost per square foot is $2.33.

That means you will break even on a 650 square foot apartment with a rent of $650 times 1.8 which comes to $1,516 a month.

Now let’s say that the owner wants to get a 20% profit on the monthly rent, then that rent should come to only $1,820 per month. THAT’S a TOTALLY NEW UNIT. THAT IS AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR THIS AREA. Because if the goal proportion of earnings for rent is 30% of earnings than a person would need to earn $6,066 a month. Which comes to $36.40 an hour for all earners in the unit. There could be 2 in a one bedroom apartment which means the earnings if both earn the same would be only $18.20/ hr per workers.

So it is possible to make a significant profit with a rent as low as $1,820 a month, and realize if the rent is increased an annual rate of 3%, that profit does not decrease. Also I took into account operating costs on the specific unit annually so that has been already been accounted for.

What is amazing is the average rent for a 650 sq. foot apartment is $2,533 a month. What makes Mountain View so expensive? If a new unit can make 20% profit at $1,820, then this doesn’t seem to explain what explains the current prices other than price manipulation due to the critical shortage of housing, or collaboration between the current providers to prevent cost competition.

SIMPLY PUT, THERE IS PLENTY OF OPPRITUNITY TO BUILD AFFORDABLE HOUSING EVEN AT $700,000 PER UNIT BUILDING COST.

The fact is that if builders would build affordable units they would make a significant profit even if the cost is based on the disproportionate cost of what is likely a luxury unit.

THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING TO BE BUILT IN THE SANTA CLARA COUNTY AT ALL.


2 people like this
Posted by rich tech folks, no more
a resident of Bailey Park
on May 10, 2019 at 6:50 pm

@Joe Cutietta, you said, " Pretty soon if it hasn’t happened already the city of Mountain View will be a tale of; “ The Haves, and the Have Nots!! “ There will be no service workers just rich tech folks!!"

The answer to this is simple and fair to everyone. You pass a law stating that everyone who is working shall be paid no more than $16 an hour, including tech folks!!

That way no one can accumulate more than the next guy. That is infinity more fair and just than imposing rent control on a few really old apartment owners.


28 people like this
Posted by Censorship
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 10, 2019 at 7:12 pm

People should notice that the Voice posted a new story today titled,
"Barely scraping by: How the Bay Area housing crisis is making it near impossible for students to stay in community college"

There where 6 comments, most negative towards the Voice, and some pointing out that these stories are just starting and will only continue thru to the next election, to tug at peoples hearts so they will note vote to change or modify Measure V.

Purely for a political agenda.

So what does the Voice do?
Delete all the comments and close the thread. Censorship continues with the Voice on subjects where posters do not fall in line with the Voice.

"Comments
Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed."


4 people like this
Posted by Pathetic
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 10, 2019 at 8:23 pm

@Censorship, when did conservatives get so absolutely pathetic? Spending all your time whining and crying about how you're the victims. Buck up, and if you don't like how a private business conducts itself, go elsewhere or make your own newspaper.


34 people like this
Posted by Censorship
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 10, 2019 at 8:32 pm

@ Pathetic,

You said, "Buck up, and if you don't like how a private business conducts itself, go elsewhere or make your own newspaper."

Exactly right!! If you do not like the high price of rent, go elsewhere or make your own apartment house!! Do not pass rent control, but you did, even thou it is a private business.

I bet your next comment will be that is different, so do as I say and not as I do.



6 people like this
Posted by Pathetic
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 10, 2019 at 9:04 pm

What are you even talking about? I don't care about rent control, I just want to know when conservatives like you started crying about being oppressed victims all the time.


Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 10, 2019 at 9:12 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Censorship

Censorship

I just demonstrated that the problem of a lack of affordable housing is caused by factors that are not related to the real cost of building. It is in effect caused by the collaboration of groups that falsely claim it is too expensive to build affordable housing.

I showed that that is not true. In fact my demonstration was based on the cost of luxury housing being built. Some resources provide that it can cost as low as $350,000 per unit if the design and the planning is efficient and simple. Let’s explore the same scenario but with that cost.

Let’s use some real calculations to prove this wrong regarding the claim that the high cost of building makes it impossible to provide affordable housing. I have heard that most projects cost $350,000 to per unit for an apartment to be constructed in Santa Clara.

Let’s understand that that construction will have a lifetime from 50-60 years. Thus you can right off do math to divide the cost by the number of years to establish the annual cost of the unit. But I will go even further by showing an example regarding affordable prices and their results.

Say it is $350,000 to build a 1 bedroom 650 square foot. If you look at that information you can state that $539 per square foot for building lifetime.

Say that it could cost another $3,000 annually to maintain that single unit, which adds $6 per square foot for the year.

So first you divide that the lifetime cost by 50 years for the lifetime, which costs $11 for each year and add the yearly $6 you come to a total of $17. Per square foot per year

You divide that by 12 months and the monthly cost per square foot is $1.42.

That means you will break even on a 650 square foot apartment with a rent of 650 times $1.42 which comes to $923 a month.

Now let’s say that the owner wants to get a 40% profit on the monthly rent, then that rent should come to only $1,292 per month. THAT’S a TOTALLY NEW UNIT. THAT IS AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR THIS AREA. Because if the goal proportion of earnings for rent is 30% of earnings than a person would need to earn $4,030 a month. Which comes to $26.00 an hour for all earners in the unit. There could be 2 in a one bedroom apartment which means the earnings if both earn the same would be only $13.00/ hr per workers.

So its possible to make minimum wage with 2 people, and the property owner can get a 40% profit, and the people can afford to live in that apartment. So it is possible to make a significant profit with a rent as low as $1,292 a month, and realize if the rent is increased an annual rate of 3%, that profit does not decrease. Also I took into account operating costs on the specific unit annually so that has been already been accounted for.

What is amazing is the average rent for a 650 sq. foot apartment is $2,533 a month. What makes Mountain View so expensive? If a new unit can make 40% profit at $1,292, then this doesn’t seem to explain what explains the current prices other than price manipulation due to the critical shortage of housing, or collaboration between the current providers to prevent cost competition.

SIMPLY PUT, THERE IS PLENTY OF OPPRITUNITY TO BUILD AFFORDABLE HOUSING AT $350,000 PER UNIT BUILDING COST.

The fact is that if builders would build affordable units they would make a significant profit even if the cost is based on the disproportionate cost of what is likely a luxury unit.

THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING TO BE BUILT IN THE SANTA CLARA COUNTY AT ALL.


2 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 11, 2019 at 2:16 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

Further research

The lower court got IT so wrong regarding its decision. Because the federal court already made the decision years ago it is found here:

The case of Daniel GUGGENHEIM; v CITY OF GOLETA, a municipal corporation (582 F.3d 996 (2009) United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. This case establishes that:

“Daniel Guggenheim and others bring a facial challenge to the City of Goleta's mobile home rent control ordinance. Guggenheim argues that the ordinance, which effects a transfer of nearly 90 percent of the property value from mobile home park owners to mobile home tenants, constitutes a regulatory taking under Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City, 438 U.S. 104, 98 S.Ct. 2646, 57 L.Ed.2d 631 (1978). We have fielded such challenges before, but have never reached the merits of the takings claim. See, e.g., Equity Lifestyle Props., Inc. v. County of San Luis Obispo ("Equity Lifestyle"), 548 F.3d 1184, 1190 n. 11 (9th Cir.2008); Carson Harbor Vill. Ltd., v. City of Carson, 37 F.3d 468, 475-77 (9th Cir.1994), overruled on other grounds by WMX Techs., Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133, 1136 (9th Cir.1997) (en banc); Levald, Inc. v. City of Palm Desert, 998 F.2d 680, 686-89 (9th Cir. 1993); Sierra Lake Reserve v. City of Rocklin, 938 F.2d 951, 955 (9th Cir.1991), vacated, 506 U.S. 802, 113 S.Ct. 31, 121 L.Ed.2d 4 (1992).

To determine whether a taking has occurred we must decide several issues. We must first determine whether the mobile home park owners have standing to bring this case. Additionally, we must consider whether this case is ripe under Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172, 105 S.Ct. 3108, 87 L.Ed.2d 126 (1985). If so, then we must determine whether the city ordinance constitutes a regulatory taking under Penn Central. We also address challenges to the ordinance under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.

The district court did not address either the standing or ripeness questions due to the unusual procedural history of the case, but implicitly found the case was properly brought. The district court found that no taking had occurred. For the reasons explained below, we agree with the district court that this case is properly brought and ripe for decision, BUT WE DISAGREE WITH THE DISTRICT COURT ON THE MERITS OF THE TAKINGS CLAIM. BECAUSE WE FIND THAT A TAKING HAS OCCURRED, WE REVERSE AND REMAND TO THE DISTRICT COURT TO DETERMINE WHAT COMPENSATION IS DUE. We affirm the district court's judgment on the due process and equal protection claims.”

Another case ensued found here Daniel GUGGENHEIM; v CITY OF GOLETA, a municipal corporation (638 F.3d 1111 (2010) United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. This case establishes that:

“The case went through a complex procedural course, but the complexities are of no importance here. First the case in federal court was stayed pursuant to Pullman[11] abstention while the Guggenheims pursued claims in state court. They and the City settled the state case. RETURNING TO FEDERAL COURT, THE GUGGENHEIMS WON SUMMARY JUDGMENT, AND THE CITY APPEALED. While the appeal was pending, THE SUPREME COURT DECIDED LINGLE V. CHEVRON U.S.A. INC.,[12] AND THE GUGGENHEIMS AND THE CITY AGREED THAT LINGLE SO UNDERMINED THE DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT THAT THEY STIPULATED TO DISMISS THE APPEAL AND THEY REOPENED THE LITIGATION IN DISTRICT COURT. THIS TIME THE CITY WON SUMMARY JUDGMENT, and the Guggenheims appeal. THE DISTRICT COURT OBSERVED THAT THE GUGGENHEIMS "GOT EXACTLY WHAT THEY BARGAINED FOR WHEN THEY PURCHASED THE PARK — A MOBILE-HOME PARK SUBJECT TO A DETAILED RENT-CONTROL ORDINANCE." WE REVERSED,[13] BUT DECIDED TO REHEAR THE CASE EN BANC,[14] AND NOW VACATE OUR EARLIER DECISION AND AFFIRM.”

So there was a direct case that applies to this situation, where rent control is constitutionally applicable to mobile home parks in California, granted it originally looked like it would not, the federal court vacated the takings decision and affirmed the fact that rent control does apply to mobile home parks.

So there was case precedence. The RHC carefully instructed their attorneys to only address the statute and not research past decisions. If they had this would have been disclosed and the RHC’s actions would be clearly demonstrated as arbitrary, capricious and without merit. In fact there was a case directly on point. The fact it was not discovered in my opinion was proof of poor legal practice, since all I had to do is google cases.

It would appear that the lower court really made a mess of this case because it did not take the consideration that rent control does apply to Mobile home parks under Federal Court Precedence.


2 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 11, 2019 at 6:28 pm

The ruling made sense. I assume the law firm is working for free (and gets paid nothing unless the plaintiff(s) prevail. It will take two years to get a decision from the Court of Appeal. A more promising approach may be to press the City Council to impose some rent control at mobile home parks. The Council majority apparently is against rent control for apartment complexes but might view mobilehome parks differently.


6 people like this
Posted by A Local
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 11, 2019 at 7:15 pm

@The Business Man' - If you are correct on your numbers, why aren't investors, both big and small, running to make that 20% profit? In fact, if you can make so much money on it, please confirm you are putting your money where your mouth is, own many properties and making boatloads of money.


4 people like this
Posted by so few understand mobile homes
a resident of North Bayshore
on May 11, 2019 at 7:38 pm

Someone earlier wrote, "renters have zero understanding of this because they don’t own property."

That's the crux of the issue, with mobile homes there are two property owners: the resident owns their own home (pays property tax, home insurance, home repairs, even driveway repairs), and the landowner pays to keep roads and utilities functional. Anyone who has driven through a mobile home park knows the home owner ("renter") is paying a lot more upkeep then the landowner.

The landowner knows they can raise space rent, since mobile homes aren't actually mobile once placed down. A resident faces the choice to pay the raised rent or lose their own property (their home).

Many investors get into mobile home park ownership because they know their renters are trapped, which is why government regulations are warranted. There are very few industries as deeply exploitive of poor people than mobile homes (from the specialized high interest mobile home loans to ever rising space rent).


Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 11, 2019 at 8:03 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Gary you said:

“The ruling made sense. I assume the law firm is working for free (and gets paid nothing unless the plaintiff(s) prevail. It will take two years to get a decision from the Court of Appeal.”

Here is the real problem Gary. The rent rollback is effective December 2016. The fact is that land rent will be rolled back to the rate charged October 2015, and will have to be refunded for overpayment.

In fact the mobile home parks will have to refund the overpayments since January 2017. That means you have 28 moths of overpaid land rents. This may in fact bankrupt the mobile home parks if you take your logic because it will become 52 months. It is simple math if there are 358 units. The land rate was between $800- $900. But it was risen to around $1,800 a month. Simple math 358*$1000 * 52 = $18,616,000. Even if the land rent only rose $300 the accumulated cost would be $5,584,800 for Santiago Villa alone. You said:

“A more promising approach may be to press the City Council to impose some rent control at mobile home parks. The Council majority apparently is against rent control for apartment complexes but might view mobilehome parks differently.”

But if the Court rules the CSFRA is applicable to land space rent, the City Council can do nothing about it. It is in the City Charter, and cannot be modified by the City Council. The fact is that only if the CSFRA is repealed entirely by the voters can you achieve the results you describe.

With regards to A local, just like everyone else I have a special skill that I am working with in my Carreer which is information security. I am responsible for very sensistive assets in my day job and cannot be distracted by a side business becasue errors in my work can be extremeley catastrophic.

But nice try. If you were to underwrite my work in the housing business, I would only take 5% of that profit as compensation. Then you could recieve the other 15%.

You willing to get started?


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