On Monday tenants of Pacific Skies Estates Mobile Home Park located at 1300 Palmetto Avenue stood in opposition to the park owners who seek to raise their rents in a 9 a.m. hearing at the City Council Chamber in Pacifica.
In keeping with a 55-year legacy of fighting for affordable housing in San Mateo County, the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County has agreed to represent a group of the mobile home owners who rent spaces in the park.
The owners of the mobile home park Pacific Skies are seeking a rent increase of more than 170 percent from 15 mobile home owners. Pacific Skies owners say they need to raise rents in order to pay for $1.5 million in improvements, such as new gas and sewer lines.
In addition, they are requesting the homeowners to pay their attorney, accounting and consultant fees, which totaled $79K at last count, according to Pacific Skies homeowner Debra Mallan.
Because of a Rent Control Ordinance that applies to owner-occupied mobile homes, an administrative hearing must be held to consider the park owner’s request for a rent increase beyond the allowable rate of 75 percent of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
In 1991, the City of Pacifica’s City Council enacted a Rent Control Ordinance as a means to protect mobile home owners against exorbitant increases in rent and to preserve affordable housing in Pacifica. Increases in rent beyond 75 percent of the CPI must be approved by a city-appointed hearing officer according to the Rent Stabilization Regulations.
The park owner is requesting permission to raise rent for these 15 spaces by $1,119.58 per space per month, on top of the approximately $800-$1300 monthly rent the mobile home owners are already paying. The mobile home owners include seniors and veterans on fixed incomes who have been park residents for decades, all of whom will be forced out of their homes if the requested increase is approved.
The hearing date has been set and the home owners have turned to the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County for help in representing their interests at the January 6th hearing. Legal Aid’s Directing Attorney Shirley Gibson and volunteer attorney Jeff Hyman are actively working with the home owners to present their opposition to the proposed increase.
“There is no support for the petitioner’s position that the park owners’ are entitled to such an enormous increase. The amount they are asking far exceeds any comparable mobile home space rent and is simply unreasonable,” says Gibson. “This is an example of a time when people need to stand up to greed in order to preserve our communities.”