Sunnyvale mobile home owners scored a key victory in the fight against rising rents.
With new terms for long-term leases at mobile home parks going out to owners this month, the Sunnyvale City Council approved an agreement that would limit monthly charges for new residents, Mercury News reported. Park owners believe the agreement could preserve home values in the parks as well as provide long-term stability for the affordable housing communities.
Mobile home owners have until the end of the year to sign the new agreement or stick with their original leases that could lead to higher annual increases. The ordinance should cover about 10,000 residents across 10 parks in the city.
“Sign it. Protect your assets,” Gail Rubino, an El Dorado Mobile Home Park resident and one of the organizers of Sunnyvale Mobile Home Residents Stakeholder Group told Mercury News. Volunteers have been knocking on doors and distributing leaflets to encourage mobile home owners to sign up.
Mobile home parks in the Bay Area, one of the country’s most expensive housing markets, have become a primary source of affordable housing. However, in recent years national investors have been acquiring the parks, driving up rents and decreasing the values of the homes.
Many other counties and cities in the area have rent stabilization ordinances in place that limit increases on rents. According to the Mobile Home Park Home Owners Allegiance, three counties — Alameda, Contra Costa and Sonoma — are covered along with the cities of Concord, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas and San Jose.
Mobile home owners in Sunnyvale began petitioning city officials for some form of rent stabilization about five years ago. The city rejected the proposal and negotiated a 20-year agreement with owners of 10 of the city’s 13 parks instead. The agreement is technically an amendment to the existing leases that caps increases on yearly renewals based on the consumer price index. The three parks that were excluded — Aloha, Ranchero and Thunderbird — are strictly rental properties.
Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein voted in favor of the agreement saying, “I’m glad we finally got to this point.”
[MercuryNews] — Victoria Pruitt