SUNNYVALE, Calif. (KRON) — Last May, residents living at a mobile home park in Sunnyvale began to express concerns over an increase in rent and for some, not being able to sell their homes.
For months, residents at the Plaza Del Rey mobile home park protested the spike in rent that eventually prompted the attention of Congressman Ro Khanna to step in and help.
When residents met with Rep. Khanna, Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein, and other local officials back in May to discuss residents’ concerns — property management kicked TV and newspaper reporters off the property.
“It’s very very tough you can’t afford to live in our area if you’re middle class, if you’re working class, the rents are skyrocketing, the home prices are skyrocketing,” said Khanna.
“The mobile home parks actually provide some of the only opportunities for working and middle class professionals to get a place of their own in our community.”
Fred Kameda, a Plaza Del Rey tenant, tells KRON4 News residents living at the mobile home park can’t afford the increase in rent as many residents are elderly and others are on social security or disability programs.
Residents say the owners of the park, Hometown America, have increased rent for new owners by another 25% and current residents by 7.5%.
“We buy the home, we own the home, the park owner owns the land, that’s why we have to pay space rent,” said Kameda.
“There’s a neighbor just down the street from me and her husband died recently … her income is next to nothing.”
As a result, protests seemed to have had a temporary effect as the Sunnyvale City Council approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for owner-occupied mobile homes.
The MOU was developed by Hometown America and Plaza Del Rey owners, rather than impose a rent stabilization ordinance that will regulate numerous items including maximum annual rent increases, maximum rent increases upon sale of your mobile home, and how to support residents with financial hardships.
“Until August, I believe of this year 2021 the rent to move in was almost $2,500 and most people are paying like $1,200, so it’s doubling the rent,” said Gail Rubino, a resident of El Dorado Mobile Home Park in Sunnyvale.
“And what that does is whenever you raise the rent $100 it takes someone’s equity by $10,000,” Rubino added.
“If you drive around the plaza there’s a huge amount of homes that have been on the market for at least a year that can’t sell because they have to sell at a significant loss to themselves.”
Rubino tells KRON4 News she wants to make sure that Sunnyvale’s 11,000 mobile home residents are aware of the MOU that mobile park owners should be sending out soon.
In the end, the MOU looks to stabilize rents for the next 20 years.
“The memorandum of understanding is a contact between the city of Sunnyvale and the mobile park owners, the mobile park residents are not part of this contract, they’re only a third part of interest.”
“What it does is it protects rents from going up a tremendous amount.”
Mobile park residents living in Sunnyvale who have an existing lease or rental agreement will have 60 days to sign the MOU.
For those on a month-to-month lease, you will need to sign a new month-to-month agreement that includes the new MOU terms and will go into effect the next time rent is due.
Residents who do not sign the MOU or “Lease Addendum” will not be covered by the new MOU until your existing lease expires.
“I will continue to stand up for the mobile home parks to make sure that rents aren’t increased significantly, to make sure that there are repairs and a budget for repairs, to make sure that the resale value is there, and to listen to the concerns of residents,” said Khanna.
“I’m glad at Plaza Del Rey they reached a resolution and now I think the owners know that we’re paying attention to what happens.”
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