We are happy to announce the residents at Royal Western are close to settling their lawsuit against Sierra Management and Kort and Scott. Paul Masminster, the President of Save Our Souls (SOS), has told MHMag that the settlement will be finalized before the September issue.
Paul is a fighter (see photo above of Paul with Utah Senator Karen Mayne. He has documented years of abuse and failure to maintain issues in his park. He has taken thousands of photos and has written hundreds of letters. All this documentation is known as a paper trail, which Paul took to the San Diego Attorney group of Endemen, Lincoln, Turek and Heater. They litigated on behalf of the residents at Royal Western.
Paul is available to consult with anyone having questions about failure to maintain cases, and/or other problems such as intimidation, harassment, senior abuse, etc. You can reach Paul through Mobilehome Magazine.
Another Sierra Lawsuit
On May 28, 2014 a group of attorneys representing two residents of Bayshore Villa MHP in Redwood City filed a lawsuit against Sierra Corporate Management and Trailer Rancho Associates. The lawsuit lists six complaints for damages including: 1) Violation of the Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL), 2) Violation of the San Mateo County Mobilehome Park Rent Ordinance, 3) Breach of Contract, 4) Breach of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, 5) Violations of the Business and Professional Code, and 6) Unjust Enrichment.
Strategy to Break Rent Control Ordinance
In 2003 the County of San Mateo, reacting to soaring rents at Bayshore and the County’s one other mobilehome park, enacted a Mobilehome Rent Control Ordinance. To circumvent the Ordinance, mobilehome park owners and operators, such as Sierra and Trailer Rancho Associates, have induced their residents, through the promise of lower rents, to sign long-term leases that they claim to be exempt from rent control. However, the leases contain terms that do not comply with the MRL’s requirements for exempt leases. In reality, after two or three years, Sierra massively inflate the rents based on a conflicting amount stated in the lease. The resulting rent leaves residents paying hundreds of dollars more per month and thousands more per year. For many of these residents, the new space rents are completely unaffordable, putting them at serious risk of losing their homes and their investments in those homes.
Mobilehome owners purchase and own their mobilehomes, but pay rent for the land upon which the mobilehomes are installed. Thus give the singular nature of mobilehome tenancies, mobilehome park tenants are particularly vulnerable both to eviction and to rent increases. It is necessary that the owners of mobilehomes occupied within mobilehome parks be provided with the unique protection from actual or constructive eviction afforded by the provisions of the MRL.
The MRL requires that rental agreements be in writing and include the term of the tenancy and the rent therefore. Local jurisdictions are permitted to enact mobilehome rent control laws that apply to mobilehome park residencies.
The MRL lists, in considerable detail, the form and contents of lease agreements in general and of long-term lease agreements that may be exempt from locally enacted rent control.
Park Management must provide prospective residents with a separate disclosure statement that simply states the rent and explains that long-term leases may be exempt from local rent control.
The MRL forbids rental agreements that require a waiver of any of a mobilehome owner’s rights.
Watch Out Unscrupulous Park Owner’s, The Sheriff’s in Town!