The efforts of the City of Huntington Beach to place a measure starting the process of putting rent contol on the November ballot have failed. A meeting was held on August 11, 2014 and the city council voted 4 to 3 not to go forward. Reasons given were lack of time and funds to educate Huntington Beach residents, a poorly written ballot measure, and cooperation by at least one park owner. Earlier in the year, the Huntington Beach council members voted to keep 10 mobile parks as seniors-only communities. The ordinance makes Huntington Beach the first Orange County city to pass such a rule. This was important as park owners were changing parks from seniors only to all age, a change which would negatively impact residents investments.
It is important to remember, rent increases effect the values of our homes. A 10% monthly rent increase decreases the value of our homes by $1,000. So you get hit twice, not only are you paying more each month to rent your space, but the value of your home is considerably less. Just think about those residents who get a $500/month increase. That results in an equity loss over night of $50,000! Many would label that criminal and put the perp in jail!
This whole process in Huntington Beach started when parks, owned by families respectful of their tenants, were purchased by corporations who were only concerned with their bottom line. Companies like Kort and Scott / Sierra Management and Star Management are involved. They have doubled rents in several parks. As a result many residents have walked away from their investments with little or no compensation.
We understand 130 have left Huntington Shorecliffs, perhaps selling their homes to the park for between $3,000 and $10,000, pennys on the dollar if the rents had not been drastically increased. Now Shorecliffs is renting these homes for $2,000 each! That’s $250,000 per month and $3.0 million per year! What a windfall for the park owner on the backs of seniors and low income folks who had purchased homes in these parks thinking they could live out their lives in peace and quiet, in a nice place, with a sense of community. Instead, not only were they required to pay more for the dirt under their homes which resulted in lost equity but in fact we believe their lives were shortened by the considerable stress they felt.
Research indicates that stress can increase illness and inflammation and thus, may affect life expectancey. Stress can take on many different forms, and can contribute to symptoms of illness. Common symptoms include headache, sleep disorders, difficulty concentrating, short-temper, upset stomach, job dissatisfaction, low morale, depression, and anxiety, sleep disturbances, and low energy. Part of the reason for this may be the effects of the physiological responses in your body that happen when you are stressed.
When stress does not end or when stresses comes rapidly and for a long time, one after another, the body does not have time to recover, and the stress becomes chronic. This extended activity of the physiological stress response can cause what some “physiological exhaustion.” It’s your body telling you it needs a break for the stress. Sleep is great, but you may need to do other things too.
L.A. Rent Stabilization Ordinance
As an aside, Los Angeles has rent control based on the Consumer Price Index. When the CPI is 3% or less, rents may be increased 3% yearly. For a CPI higher than 3%, rents may increase by the CPI percentage, up to a maximum of 8%. Also Los Angeles has a 10% vacancy control, which means a park can increase a rent upon sale by a maximum of 10%. Both these measures protect a residents investment. Of course park owners don’t like to have limits on rent increases, but at least the City of Los Angeles feels their rent stabilization ordinance is fair to both residents and park owners.