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Pacifica Mobile Home Owners Seek Legal Aid to Oppose Rental Increase

Many fear they will be forced to sell their mobile homes to the park owners for amounts far below market.

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.”

JW Jones January 04, 2014 at 11:53 AM
Greed, greed, greed! I rent a house and have lived here 10 years and last year my rent increased $200 and this March it will go up another $270. Is it perfectly legal for Pacifica home renters to have to pay this ridiculous increase as well? Wouldn't be a problem if my two jobs paid an increase in salary but they haven't. It's really disgusting that money is more important than loyalty.
Maryann Strong January 04, 2014 at 09:28 PM
I lived there 22 years and every year it seemed we fought against the incredibly greedy owner. I moved 5 years ago. Good luck to all my friends and former neighbors..
Lois Poblitz January 04, 2014 at 09:40 PM
Same goes on here at Seacliff Apts. They are doing "renovations" that have already cost me over $1,500.00 in loss of property. Try being on a fixed income and dare anyone to find rent for a disabled teacher that does NOT included greedy nasty companies that don't give a damn. I have owned a house for over 36 years. Happy that I already put it in my son's name and all I can do is watch my savings go down...EVERY month. Have been on a waiting list at the back of the valley for 7 years. Good for you Maryann ! It's sickening, period! $$$$$$$$$$$$$ is ALL that matters to greedy landlords.
Debra Mallan January 08, 2014 at 05:07 AM
I am one of the homeowners affected by this $1119 proposed rent increase. Ms. Gibson and Mr. Hyman are to be commended for the terrific job they are doing for us. We would have been totally overpowered by the parks attorney without the support of these outstanding individuals. The park just keeps trying to ground us into the ground. Now they are requesting we pay their attorney, accounting and consultant fees which totaled $79,000 at last count. When will it end !!
Hutch January 08, 2014 at 11:07 AM
This is terrible. I'm not saying this is the case here, but a lot of rent increases are due to the astronomical amount of tax and fee increases Pacifica hits these landlords with. Although we defeated measure V, the water company just imposed a 7.5% increase late last year. The city will probably try for another sewer assessment soon too. That's why it's important for renters as well as home owners to make their voices herd and tell the city no more tax and fee increases. You can call or email the City Council here: http://www.cityofpacifica.org/government/city_council/default.asp
Bill Fairmont January 09, 2014 at 03:10 PM
They will raise the rent, but 170%? We'll see about that. Sounds like a ploy but even a partial increase negotiated with that number in mind; would mean at least an 75-85% increase. That's just ludicrous.
Bill Fairmont January 09, 2014 at 03:18 PM
@Hutch. Yeah, things are not getting cheaper for home owners. Everything is going up. I have an escrow account tied to my mortgage and it goes up about $1000 a year. California Schemeing.
Christa Bigue (Editor) January 10, 2014 at 03:03 PM
Also will have to pay attorney, accounting and consultant fees?! Debra, please call or email me with updates on this situation so we can inform the public and get you the support you need. 650 291 1414 or christa.bigue@patch.com.

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