The issue of “condo conversions” is one of our top priorities today. Remember, this issue is not about removing residents from a park and building condos. A condo conversion is about YOU purchasing your lot. (This is different from a resident purchase of a park. In that case the entire park is purchased.)
A condo conversion can be initiated by either the park owner or residents. The majority of condo conversions are happening in parks under rent control and are park owner initiated. Why? Because the sale of one space will void rent control for all other spaces in the park, i.e. this is a way for park owners to break rent control.
Today, park owners are trying to convert at least 50 mobilehome parks with thousands of homes around the state to condominiums. They want to charge us $200,000 and up for the boxes of air where our mobilehomes now sit. Condo conversions will wipe out most or all of any equity we have in our homes, and will make it difficult or impossible for us to ever sell our homes.
Under current law, when a park is “condoized”, park owners are not supposed to raise rents for any current residents who are low income, but there’s NO AGENCY TO ENFORCE THIS and park owners have creative ways to get around this.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TO SB900?
As of June 5th, SB900, a bill about condo conversions, is being amended to take out language that gives cities and counties some control over conversions. This bill, as it is now written, will make it much easier for park owners to convert to condominiums. It strips away the power that local governments have to protect us, the residents, when a park owner tries to convert the park to condo’s.
Local governments have the right, under current law, to reject condo conversions which a majority of residents oppose, and to require park owners to repair infrastructure deficiencies prior to any conversion. Many cities have adopted ordinances to protect residents where the park owners are trying to convert to condo’s. IF SB900 passes, in present form, cities will no longer have the power to protect us. Instead of 50 conversions, we’ll be looking at hundreds. All the good things we’ve accomplished by beating Prop 98 will be lost if our parks can be converted to condominiums.
GSMOL officials say we should support SB900 because it’s the best deal we can get. We disagree. While the bill would slightly increase the income levels covered by the rent controls of current law, it would wipe out the much greater protections which cities can provide. .
CoMO-CAL is working with key legislators to try to restore and expand local control to the mobilehome park condo conversion laws. Prior to 1996, cities had the same power to deny condo conversions of mobilehome parks that they had when apartment owners applied for conversion. They could protect residents and preserve our affordable housing. A bill sponsored by GSMOL took away much of that power. Now GSMOL wants to take away what little local control is left. We said “No on 98” and we won. Now let’s say “NO ON SB 900.”
This newsletter will reach you after the June 11th hearing. We will update those in the email network after the 11th.