The following is a modified copy of a petition that was formulated as a template for submission to the county. The issues were solved in Chula Vista and we did not pursue the issue any further. Petition requesting that the appropriate authority, such as the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, schedule a meeting with representatives of the various mobile home parks, (especially the Senior Mobile Home Parks) in San Diego County to formulate a Rent Control Law for the Protection of residents against the predatory actions of most Park Owners, against Park Tenants.

The actions of far too many Park Owners, gouging the Tenants’ space rental fees to such astronomical levels has caused many tenants to choose between eating, buying necessary prescriptions, or “paying the rent! There is no choice, they must pay the rent!

However, when the choices of Tenants are reduced or eliminated, some of them are forced by economic necessity to eat less, to the point of eating the cheapest canned food available, including cat food, to survive, then that choice becomes intolerable!    If something isn’t done very soon, there will be many hundreds, possibly thousands of homeless people  living on the streets, due to being forced out of their homes. If you  think it’s bad now, just wait. It will get worse!

The general public, including some government officials do not realize that there is a “captive mentality” among  Park Owners. They have the  “attitude”, Hey, if you can’t pay the rent,—-Move the hell out!  That is much easier said than done!

Problem #1  Where can you move to?  There have been no new mobile home parks built in this area since the 1960’s. None will be built in the foreseeable future! There is not enough profit in it!

Problem #2   The cost. Most people can’t  afford to move their mobile home! The costs to dismantle and  move the unit or if it’s a double or triple wide and reassemble it at another location can cost from $5,000 to $15,000 and up, if you can find another location!  Where might that be???

This is a statewide problem. Politicians of all levels, City, County and State,  must take immediate action to formulate and pass legislation in the form of state wide rent controls to protect Mobile Home Park Tenants, most of whom OWN THEIR MOBILE HOMES—-THEY PAY RENT ONLY FOR THE TINY SPACE THAT THEIR UNIT SITS ON!  In addition., they pay for their own gas, lights, water, sewage charges, cable, maintaining their space, planting flowers and shrubs and keeping their units clean and painted.

Park Owners maintenance costs have averaged $59 to $70 per month in the Chula Vista area yet they are crying “poor mouth.” With maintenance costs as indicated above, collected rents of $360 to $600  per month plus annual CPI increases are a very respectable return on your money! The fact is that many if not most are making 68 to 70% profit on their original investments.

That is not peanuts! In addition, they are receiving substantial markups on their utility and cable TV fees. A TV cable company in one Chula Vista Park for example, charges about $44 per month for TV cable service, while exactly the same level of service going into a condo complex costs about $19 per month. This is in addition to the space rent fees, a very  nice markup.

All this income to the park owners  doesn’t even address the profit on a New mobile home that is sold to new tenants in a park. The average cost to the park owners of a new double wide  mobile home including transportation, setup and skirting is about $47,000 to $51,000 and that is then sold  for up to $139,000 and much more depending on location.  However, Seniors on Social Security, received a whopping 1.4% “raise” in their checks in 2003. In that same approximate time frame, the park owners received 5.7%

No tenant in any mobile home park is against a park owner getting a good return, but the GREED FACTOR MUST BE CONTROLLED! Some of the seniors have a small pension, in addition to social security. But with interest rates at all time lows, and with skyrocketing HMO rates, HMO premiums, prescriptions and space rents, seniors continue to fall behind.

It is therefore our fervent request that, with strong new legislation, our Seniors in mobile home parks will  cease being “victimized” by greedy  park owners

© Steve Molski CoMO-CAL member, San Diego  (April 5, 2006)