Vacancy decontrol opponents actively campaigning

Vacancy decontrol opponents actively campaigning
ACTION President Dana Corso and Vice President Bob Markley staff the volunteer desk. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — Volunteers in opposition to the proposed vacancy decontrol ordinance on the June ballot have taken to neighborhood streets to pass out campaign literature. Other volunteers are calling registered voters, or holding neighborhood teas and coffee meetups to answer questions about the proposed ordinance.“We’re mainly trying to bring attention to the title of the ordinance,” said Dana Corso, president of ACTION (Alliance of Citizens To Improve Oceanside Neighborhoods). “The amendment says (mobile home lot space) rents can be raised to fair market value. The body says without limits. It’s deceitful. To be raised without limits in our opinion is not fair.”In addition to seeking clarification of the wording and intention of the ordinance, opponents are concerned that vacancy decontrol will cause families to lose their nest eggs for their heirs.“The other issue is a child must be living with their parent to have rent control,” Corso said. “If they aren’t living with their parent when they pass they wouldn’t be protected by rent control. We have to come up with something much better. It’s about property rights of land and home.”

Mobile home owners purchase their homes and pay property taxes, a city mobile home fee, and rent the lot spaces the homes sit on.

Vacancy decontrol allows mobile home park owners to raise the space rent to market rate after a homeowner sells or bequests their home.

OHMA (Oceanside Manufactured Home Alliance), members are working with ACTION to share information with voters.

“The majority of volunteers are mobile home owners,” Corso said. “Seniors 80 years old are walking the streets passing out flyers.”

Opponents of vacancy decontrol want mobile home residents, many who are seniors and veterans living on a fixed income, to be able to count on regulated space rent increases that the rent control ordinance previously provided.

“Their homes are at stake,” Corso said. “These people bought in to the mobile home community. This is what they can afford.”

Most of the mobile home communities have gated private streets, a community clubhouse, and are conducive to retirement living.

“They have bingo, luncheons, dances,” Corso said. “It’s a whole neighborhood community for these people. We want to try to maintain this type of living for these adults.”

Presently there is not an active public campaign to support vacancy decontrol.

Councilman Jerry Kern will write the ballot argument to support the vacancy decontrol ordinance. Kern said most California cities have either no rent control ordinance or have adopted vacancy decontrol for mobile home space rents.

Kern added that space rents without control limits would only increase to market rate.

“Unlimited rent, there’s no such thing,” Kern said. “In business you make as much as the market will bear.”
Kern added that the disparity between present space rents (which are about $600) and market rate rents is so wide it’s unfair.

He said he sees vacancy decontrol as a fair way to give park owners a way to run a profitable business, and allow present mobile home owners to maintain the rent rate they signed up to pay.

“It’s fair, it’s reasonable, and it’s equitable,” Kern said. “Rents will be up to market rate in five to 10 years.”
Kern added that vacancy decontrol would put an end to costly lawsuits park owners are filing (and so far losing) against the city when they are denied a requested rent increase beyond the controlled amount.

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  1. Linda Walshaw says:

    Unfortunately there is such a thing as “unlimited rent.” In Capitola, CA park owners raised space rents from $285 to $2,500, and in San Rafael rents increased to $5,000 to force homeowners and heirs from their homes. The same law firm represents park owners here in Oceanside. These are not your “mom and pop” mobile home parks anymore. These are out of town corporations, developers and land speculators. They care nothing about the elderly homeowners. Manufactured homes MUST be located in a park, making these homeowners “captive customers” and these park businesses a monopoly under the law. There is no “free market” in a monopoly situation. Park owners can use this “without limit” language to force seniors and their heirs from their homes, allowing park owners to then use the homes for rental properties or to sell for their own gain. VOTE NO ON VACANCY DECONTROL ON JUNE 5.

  2. Robert Markley says:

    This article states a common misconception about the amendment to the rent control ordinance. That is, and I quote, “Vacancy decontrol allows mobile home park owners to raise the space rent to market rate after a homeowner sells or bequests their home.”

    That is exactly what Jerome Kern and his park owner campaign contributors WANT people to believe. That is what he put into the title of his amendment. However, the text of the amendment, where the true meat is, says that rents can be raised “without limit.”

    Kern now is saying those are the same thing, because the market will limit how much a park owner can charge. This head-in-the-sand claim conveniently ignores the fact that a mobile home park is not a free market, as has been found true in MANY courts. Mobile home parks are captive markets, and homeowners will be stuck with whatever the park owner wants to charge, because the home can’t be moved except at great expense, and there is NO PLACE TO MOVE ONE, anyway.

    Kern is dancing to the tune of out-of-town millionaire park owner corporations who just happen to donate large sums to his re-election campaign, all to the detriment of his own constituents.

    • mike r says:

      Robert, you are convenietly ignoring the fact that a homeowner can either sell their home or move it off the spot. And why is this problem 100% the fault of the mobile home park owners? What about the mobile home owners who enjoyed tremendous gains in the value of their mobile homes over the years as rent control artificially inflated the value of their homes. Many of these owners have sold their homes at huge gains. Are they not as greedy as you think the mobile home park owners are? You should be just as mad at them as you are at the mobile home park owners.

  3. Greg Simmons says:

    “Reporter” Yee omits the most BASIC FACT: vacancy decontrol MAINTAINS rent control for existing residents until they move.

    She writes: “Opponents of vacancy decontrol want mobile home residents, many who are seniors and veterans living on a fixed income, to be able to count on regulated space rent increases that the rent control ordinance previously provided.”

    That’s not true. Opponents of vacancy decontrol already know that “seniors and veterans” will get regulated space rent. Opponents want to maintain the same for future residents (at enormous taxpayers expense) so they can reap a windfall when they sell their coach — basically a transfer of land value from the property owner to the coach owner.

    THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF WHY PEOPLE AREN’T READING THE COAST NEWS: IT’S TERRIBLY BIASED AND HAS A LEFT WING POLITICAL AGENDA THAT IS ENCUMBERED BY TRUTH OR JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY.

    Promise Yee – please promise ME: play it straight or write for the editorial page. Many of us who don’t live in mobilehome parks are on fixed incomes and don’t have city government defending endless and expensive lawsuits to control our rents. Many in the parks are large property owners using the homes as beach vacation rentals.

    Stop with the cliches, rhetoric, lazy reporting and campaign bullets.

  4. Greg Simmons says:

    Unencumbered!

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