California voters will decide in November whether to give cities
and counties new freedom to expand the use of rent control after
an initiative backed by tenant groups earned a spot Friday on
this fall’s ballot.
The initiative would repeal a decades-old state law that prevents
local governments from passing most new rent control laws.
Bet you didn’t know California has 517,173 mobile homes.
While I was reviewing Census Bureau data on housing, a curious
data point popped up: Only three states had more mobile homes
than California. But as the nation’s most populous state, it’s
another affordable-housing metric where California trails the
pack: pre-fabricated homes are a tiny share of our
residential-living supply — 3.7 percent vs. 6.6 percent in the
rest of the nation.
The crisis caused by the rising cost of housing in California has
a solution: Build more housing.
People can debate where or what type of housing should be built,
but there can be no doubt that more housing is needed. That’s why
it’s so troubling that a measure headed for the November ballot
would cause less housing to be built.
SACRAMENTO — “In many cases rent control appears to be the most
efficient technique presently known to destroy a city — except
for bombing,” opined Swedish economist Assar Lindbeck. He’s right
on target given that rent control destroys housing markets
because it takes away the incentive to build new apartments,
reduces the willingness of landlords to upgrade and maintain
their properties, and encourages tenants to squat indefinitely in
their below-market units.
The latest turn in the long-running legal feud over a Carson law
limiting rent increases at mobile home parks went in the city’s
favor with a court ruling that could bolster cities’
abilities to regulate real estate up and down California.
SANTA CRUZ — Many people in the Seabright neighborhood knew about
the roiling local debate over rent control even before Zav
Hershfield, petition in hand, knocked on their doors.
Canvassers for renter rights have been through parks,
neighborhoods and local shopping centers since February in this
coastal town, collecting signatures to place a city referendum on
the November ballot limiting annual rent increases and make it
harder to evict residents.
The Coalition for Responsible Housing shares the dismay of the
Sacramento Bee editorial board about the continued failure to
meaningfully address California’s housing crisis (“Compromise on
housing or face rent control,” April 19).
California voters this year will likely decide whether cities
across the state should have more power to enact stronger rent
Rent control proponents behind a proposed November ballot
initiative that would allow cities and counties to pass
strong rent control laws say they now have enough signatures to
qualify the measure.
“People understand that rents are out of control, that’s why I
think you’re seeing this initiative move forward,” said Damien
Goodmon, director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s “Housing is
a Human Right” campaign.
SACRAMENTO — A renters’ revolt in California could be heading to
the November ballot as a campaign to lift decades-old
restrictions on rent control reported Friday it had gathered more
than enough signatures to qualify.
Organizers are planning rallies in Sacramento, Oakland and Los
Angeles on Monday as they hand in the signatures, which must be
counted and verified by election officials before the initiative
makes it on the ballot.
After cropping up in the early 2000s, the debate around rent
stabilitzation in mobile home parks has resurfaced in El Dorado
On Tuesday, at the request of District 3 Supervisor Brian
Veerkamp, the Board of Supervisors reviewed the possibility of a
rent stabilization ordinance, which would restrict the frequency
of rent hikes and the amount per increase in mobile home parks
within unincorporated areas of the county.
Major changes to Mountain View’s rent control law could go before
Mountain View voters this fall.
The political action group Measure V Too Costly filed paperwork
on Friday, March 30, for a November ballot initiative that would
heavily modify Mountain View’s rent control program. The
proposal, dubbed the ”Mountain View Homeowner, Renter, and
Taxpayer Protection Initiative,” seeks to curtail most
limits on rent increases and create income eligibility
requirements for tenants.
Mountain View’s Rental Housing Committee could soon be headed
back to the courtroom over a decision to exclude tenants at
mobile home parks from the city’s rent control protections.
Earlier this month, an attorney representing two mobile home
residents at Santiago Villa issued a demand
letter urging the committee to reverse its decision not to
extend rent control to Mountain View’s 1,100 mobile homes. If the
committee refused, the residents would file a lawsuit to get the
action rescinded, said attorney Armen Nercessian of the firm
Fenwick & West.
Clipboards in hand, signature-gatherers are fanning out across
four Southern California cities this month, turning up at
supermarkets and metro stops and apartment complexes to pitch a
measure for the November ballot that they say will be salvation
But for landlords, their pitch is blasphemy.
At issue is whether the cities of Long Beach, Inglewood, Glendale
and Pasadena should join a tiny band of California cities that
already have rent control and “just cause” eviction laws that
prevent landlords from ousting tenants in good standing.
SACRAMENTO - Register Your Mobilehome California, a new
state program that provides waivers for past-due registration
fees and taxes for mobilehomes and manufactured homes, has saved
homeowners more than $500,000 in its first year of operation.
Besides the savings in fees and taxes, homeowners who have taken
advantage of the program will also see additional benefits. They
are now properly positioned to legally sell or transfer their
property, apply for fire and flood insurance, and receive
financial assistance and rebates from utility providers.
Delaine Eastin is the only major candidate for California
governor to unequivocally support a potential November ballot
measure that would allow stronger local rent control laws across
Eastin, a Democrat and former state schools chief, said she
supports the outright repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing
Act, which prevents rent control ordinances from applying to
housing built after 1995, as well as single-family homes,
duplexes and condos.
Residents from the Wagon Wheel and Valley Oaks mobile home parks
are mobilizing to address the Willits City Council
tonight, asking city officials to adopt a rent stabilization
ordinance after an out of the area property management
company’s acquisition of the properties led to rent increases and
reported intimidation tactics against the elderly and low income
tenants last summer.
Mountain View’s Rental Housing Committee on Monday night
reaffirmed its opposition to expanding the city’s rent control
program to include mobile homes. As a result, mobile home
residents warned that they would seek legal action against the
city to overturn the decision.
SACRAMENTO — A ballot initiative to lift California’s statewide
restrictions on rent control has hit a key milestone, with 25
percent of the signatures it needs to qualify for the November
ballot, the California Secretary of State’s office confirmed.
Organizers vowed to take their fight directly to the voters after
a bill to repeal the restrictions died in its first committee
hearing this year at a raucous January meeting attended by over
1,000 people on both sides of the contentious issue.
In what they called another step to prevent evictions and
homelessness, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted
Tuesday to draft an ordinance that, if passed, will control rents
from rising at mobile home parks.
The fire-ravaged Journey’s End mobile home park will not reopen,
but its owner is seeking to partner with a developer to build an
apartment complex on the north Santa Rosa property, residents
learned this weekend.
The family that owns the 13.5-acre site at Mendocino Avenue and
Fountaingrove Parkway is working with nonprofit Burbank Housing
to explore the feasibility of redeveloping the property into a
mixture of affordable and market-rate apartments, Burbank chief
executive officer Larry Florin said Sunday.
It has been a liberal dream for decades to undo parts or all of
Proposition 13, the seminal California initiative limiting the
property tax rate.
Is that fight finally coming to the ballot box this fall? A
coalition of civil rights and community organizations is expected
to begin collecting signatures later this month for a measure to
tax commercial properties at market value while leaving in place
the Proposition 13 protections for homeowners, a concept known as
After garnering more than 100,000 signatures within the last
month, the initiative to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing
Act — a 1995 state law that limits the scope of local rent
control ordinances — is likely to appear on November’s ballot.
The Costa-Hawkins Act prohibits cities from establishing rent
control on certain units, including single-family dwellings,
condominiums and housing built after 1995. It also has
a “vacancy decontrol” provision that allows rent to increase
after a tenant moves out.
Mobilehome owners across the state are saving hundreds or even
thousands of dollars in state fees, penalties, and local taxes
through California’s Fee and Tax Waiver Program, developed by the
California Department of Housing and Community Development. The
program helps people who purchased a mobilehome or manufactured
home but never received the necessary title or registration. The
program waives many state and local taxes, fees, and penalties.
Rent control policies could actually be making income inequality
worse in gentrifying cities such as San Francisco, a new paper
from Stanford University researchers argues.
The working paper published by the National Bureau of
Economic Research says the laws intended to protect
certain tenants from rent hikes ended up spiking prices
through many other parts of San Francisco. This
follows other studies that have shown similar
consequences for rent control in cities including Los Angeles,
New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Abuses of the California Environmental Quality Act are
aggravating the state’s housing crisis, according to a recent
study by Los Angeles lawyers Holland & Knight.
With more than half of renters and over a third of homeowners
with mortgages in California cost-burdened by housing — spending
more than 30 percent of household incomes on housing — and many
forced to commute long distances to work in order to live in
affordable housing, California’s housing crisis has made life
difficult even for those with well-paying, professional jobs.
California state law bans local governments from imposing rent
control on any new apartment construction. The law — the
Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act — defines new construction as
dwellings with certificates of occupancy issued after Feb. 1,
Costa-Hawkins also prohibits regulating rents on single-family
dwellings and individually owned condominiums and
Moves to repeal this law have appeared on two fronts: one in the
State Assembly, the other as an initiative to place the appeal on
the November 2018 ballot.
Bay Area cities are coming to realize what Ramirez already knows
— parking tickets won’t solve the problem of finding a place to
live. From Oakland to San Jose, officials are struggling to cope
with a growing influx of RV dwellers seeking a safe, permanent
place for the only homes they can afford.
“We’ve never seen it like this,” said Tom Myers, executive
director of Community Services Agency of Mountain View, where the
city averages more than three complaints a day about RV
communities. “We have to be prepared that this will be the new
normal for us. It’s a crisis.”
Proponents of making a dramatic change to California’s landmark
Proposition 13 property tax restrictions took their first step to
getting a measure on the November 2018 statewide ballot Friday.
The change would allow the state to charge higher property tax
rates on commercial and industrial properties, an effort known as
“split roll” because existing tax protections on homes would
remain in place.
Barely a year old, Mountain View’s experiment with rent control
has already faced a withering gauntlet of controversy and legal
scuffles. Now it’s being primed for a dramatic expansion.
On Dec. 4, the city’s Rental Housing Commission is scheduled to
consider expanding the Mountain View’s restrictions covering
apartment rents to encompass the city’s six mobile home parks.
The proposal could bring an estimated 1,100 more homes under the
aegis of the city’s new tenant protections.
More than 500,000 California families find their path to
affordable home ownership through the purchase of a mobile home
or manufactured home, but an estimated one-third lack proper
title and registration – putting each of those homeowners at
In an effort to encourage all mobile and manufactured homeowners
to secure proper title, the state is offering a limited-time
program that waives many back fees and taxes.
When you take a right turn off Higuera Street and onto South
Street in San Luis Obispo, you’ll quickly come upon the Village
Mobile Home Park. What used to be dotted with dozens of 1950s
mobile homes and trailers is now being transformed into
energy-efficient manufactured homes, mobile homes, and one tiny
For $1,100 a month, the 190 square foot house, which is
classified as a recreational vehicle, will give a tenant pretty
much everything an apartment could, with the addition of a yard
and two parking spaces. The only catch, it’s much smaller.
In an effort to try to keep people from being evicted from their
homes, the Los Angeles County Board of
Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to look into restoring
an expired ordinance that could control rising rents at mobile
The motion, authored by supervisors Janice Hahn and Sheila Kuehl
will ask county departments to examine the feasibility of
such an ordinance, which could affect 102 mobile home parks in
unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. A report is due
back in 60 days.
Los Angeles County officials say rising rents and low vacancy
rates aren’t limited to rental apartments— the affordability
crisis is now hitting the region’s mobile home parks.
In response, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors will consider
initial steps for regulating mobile home plot payments at their
meeting Tuesday. A proposal by Supervisor Janet Hahn would
instruct the county’s planning department to draft a rent control
ordinance for mobile home parks that fall on unincorporated land.
Nearly 21,000 families in the four-county Sacramento region, and
about a half-million across California, live in homes that are
For many, buying a home that’s up on blocks is one of the last
opportunities for single-family homeownership in a state with
some of the highest housing costs in the nation.
“If you can buy outright, it’s an affordable option,” said
Michelle Hutson, who owns her double-wide mobile home in south
Sacramento but rents the land beneath it for less than an
apartment might cost.
The subject of reinstating Vallejo’s accidentally repealed mobile
home rent control ordinance is expected to come up for discussion
at the upcoming City Council meeting on Tuesday, and it can’t
come soon enough for many park residents.
“It has been brought to our attention that mobile home rents are
continually going up,” said a letter from the Coalition to the
Vallejo Mayor and council. Two local mobile home parks have
reportedly raised rents, and one, “sent out a letter on Sept. 30,
raising their rents a third time this year alone,” it says.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Thursday to prevent
landlords from threatening immigrant tenants with deportation,
measures he said were part of broader efforts by his
administration “to bolster resources and support for the
One proposal by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would
bar landlords from disclosing information about immigration
status in order to intimidate, harass or evict tenants without
following proper procedures. It also would allow immigrant
tenants to file civil claims against their landlords if they do.
Owning residential investment property is always a tricky
balancing act. You must offer competitive rents based on the free
market. If you price too high, your customer goes elsewhere, and
if you price too low, you’ll lose money.
Either way, a misstep is costly and dangerous. Even when done
right, the reward is typically smaller than most people would
expect. It’s not a business for the faint of heart.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–People who purchased a
mobilehome or manufactured home but didn’t receive the necessary
title to the property now have a chance to properly register
their homes with the new Fee and Tax Waiver Program – and avoid
paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars in state and local
taxes, fees and penalties.
More than half of California voters say the state’s housing
affordability crisis is so bad that they’ve considered moving,
and 60 percent of the electorate supports rent control, according
to a new statewide poll.
The findings from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies
reflect broad concerns Californians have over the soaring cost of
living. Amid an unprecedented housing shortage, rents have
skyrocketed and tenants have faced mass evictions, especially in
Despite all the housing-related proposals in Sacramento,
lawmakers have apparently yet to learn that more government
involvement, making housing more expensive and less profitable,
is never going to solve the state’s housing affordability
Discussions of housing oftentimes tend to focus on single-family
developments or other types of housing for purchase, and neglect
rental properties, which is unfortunate, since rentals make up
nearly half of the housing stock in California.
Half the state’s households struggle to afford the roof over
their heads. Homeownership—once a staple of the California
dream—is at its lowest rate since World War II. Nearly 70 percent
of poor Californians see the majority of their paychecks go
immediately to escalating rents.
The California Energy Commission is bankrolling a plan
to bring renewable energy to a mobile home park near Bakersfield,
California. The money will allow for the installation of
solar panels and a battery storage system. The idea is to make
the technology available to communities that otherwise could not
During the last week of March, Apple reached a record market
value of $754 billion, Google tweaked a policy to protect its
$22-billion-a-quarter advertising business and Yahoo inched
toward closing a $4.83-billion sale. Meanwhile, Judy Pavlick
drove around her Sunnyvale, Calif., mobile home park collecting
plastic bottles and empty drink cans to save her future.
Owners of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park in Palo Alto and the
Housing Authority of Santa Clara County continue to negotiate
three months after the housing agency submitted a $36
million written offer in December to buy the property.
By: ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER EDITORIAL BOARDMarch 15, 2017
Without changes in public attitudes toward homebuilding, it will
be difficult for California to pull itself from its housing
crisis. That’s the takeaway message from a new report from
California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office titled, “Do
Communities Adequately Plan for Housing?”
OAKLAND — A nearly two-year effort to strike a balance
between unincorporated Alameda County mobile home park owners and
renters may be coming to an end soon after county
supervisors lowered the allowed annual rent increases at mobile
home parks, but removed some restrictions on when rents could be
Measure V was a voter initiative drafted by a group of mobile
home park residents. Blanck said the county reviewed the
initiative and found that it complied with current laws. The
measure only regulates rent increases at mobile home parks with
ten or more spaces in unincorporated areas, of which there are
more than 40 in the county.
Only private and nonprofit housing developers can borrow and
leverage the many billions of dollars in housing investment
California needs, but they need regulatory streamlining and other
structural reforms to make it work. That’s the harsh reality.
Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced a bill on Jan. 17 which makes
several notable changes to the Mobilehome Residency Law, allowing
two guests to stay with a homeowner in her/his mobilehome,
without additional fees being imposed by the mobilehome park
The issue of rent control — which was given new life in the Bay
Area this past November with resident-backed ballot measures in
five cities — is expected to come before Milpitas’ elected
officials this year, if newly elected Mayor Richard Tran has
anything to say about it.
By KERRY JACKSON / Contributing writerPublished: Dec. 31, 2016 Updated: 7:58 p.m.
Type “California housing crisis” into a web search engine and the
results come gushing out. Dozens of stories from just the past
year highlight a crunch that’s “way past a problem,” a
“middle-class” disaster, “drowning renters” and “California’s
most pressing challenge.” We’re living through a complete
turnaround from the 1970s boom, when one new housing unit was
built for less than every two newcomers.
by Sue Dremann / Palo Alto WeeklyUploaded: Tue, Dec 20, 2016, 8:55 pm
Buena Vista Mobile Home Park residents received a hopeful
pre-holiday present from the Housing Authority of the County of
Santa Clara on Tuesday when its board of directors unanimously
agreed to seek acquisition of the mobile-home park during a
closed session meeting.
by Kevin Forestieri / Mountain View VoiceUploaded: Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 3:31 pm
A coalition of elected leaders from all nine Bay Area counties
agreed to an ambitious new vision for regional growth in the
coming decades, calling for a more balanced mix of jobs and
housing that curbs displacement, explosive cost-of-living
increases and long hours stuck in traffic jams.
Pending state certification, the passage of Measure V has some
advocates looking to expand its limits on annual mobile home rent
increases to the county’s incorporated cities, while mobile home
park owners have expressed uncertainty and concern.
When first asked by the Union whether she had written
an email that smacked of extortion, the former head of the Yes on
Measure V campaign flatly denied doing so, stating, “No! No! No!
I don’t know how else to say that word – wait; nien, nay, non,
In an effort to educate public policymakers on how mobilehome
parks operate and how the misapplication of rent control has
contributed to California’s housing crisis, the Western
Manufactured Housing Communities Association (WMA) has launched a
statewide public education campaign.
By: The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial BoardSeptember 23, 2016, 6:00am
The biggest problem facing California is housing affordability.
Rent and home prices are so high that middle-income and
low-income households alike often struggle to pay for shelter. In
metro Los Angeles, one-fourth of households spends at least
half their income on housing. As understood by Gov. Jerry
Brown and anyone familiar with how free markets work, the best,
most decisive and longest-lasting solution to this problem is to
add housing stock.
To be honest, I had some negative reactions myself when I first
considered Rancho Benicia. I thought about my friends in Moraga,
Walnut Creek, San Francisco and Idaho and felt some misgivings
about what they’d say. Good friends of mine, who had lived near
me in the condo, moved to Rancho Benicia last year. They worked
with an interior designer, and had the entire inside redone in
their style. It’s lovely. They refer to their place as a
Rents in California are 50 percent above the national average.
The cost of a new home is 2.5 times what it is elsewhere in the
U.S. And the chances of being “house poor” are significantly
higher here than in any other state in the country.
(StatePoint) As the Boomer population ages and retires, massive
shifts in the housing market are to be expected. One current
popular trend with these older Americans is manufactured housing
in land-lease communities, where homes are placed on leased land
and the overall price of the home is lower than other types of
homes. And many of these communities offer senior-friendly
Only 13 percent of San Francisco households can afford to pay the
nearly $7,000 a month in housing costs for a median-priced home
here, according to recent analysis by Paragon Realty.
“By definition, half the homes sold in any given county were at
prices below the median sales price, i.e. there were
numerous homes that were more affordable than the
median prices used in this analysis,” said the report. “However,
any way one slices it, the Bay Area has one of the most
expensive— if not the most expensive—and least affordable housing
markets in the country.”
BY JIM MILLER AND ANSHU SIRIPURAPUAUGUST 18, 2016 2:29 PM
Attempts to craft an end-of-session affordable housing package
are “dead” for the year, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said
Thursday, saying there continues to be intense opposition to Gov.
Jerry Brown’s proposal to relax local land-use rules in return
for $400 million for housing projects.
By: Michael Hiltzik - Contact ReporterAugust 12, 2016, 8:40am
Kate Vershov Downing is a lawyer working for a Silicon Valley
technology firm, married to a software engineer. But even with
two good jobs in the household, she’s been driven out of the Palo
Alto housing market, where the home she rents with another couple
costs $6,200 in monthly rent and would cost $2.7 million to buy.
By Will Houston, Eureka Times-StandardPOSTED: 08/09/16, 10:51 PM PDT
“This rent control creates an initiative that will punish us for
being compassionate, for having our rents so low, for being
considerate,” he said. “This is really going to affect the future
of our park.”
The Jisser family, who owns the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park,
want to close the facility. But as a condition of closing, the
city of Palo Alto requires the family to pay $8 million to the
400 or so residents who would be displaced.
The idea of rent control is simple and very appealing to renters.
Your rent can never go up as long as you stay in the same rental
property. But, this government price control program actually
hurts the very people it is intended to help (like many liberal
The money, city officials say, is to ease the city’s affordable
housing crisis, which through official policies has triggered a
median home price of “a blistering $2.46 million,” far above the
$448,000 for the state and $180,000 for the nation.
By Gennady Sheyner / Palo Alto WeeklyUploaded: Sat, Jun 25, 2016, 3:14 pm
The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has voted to join
with the county Housing Authority and Palo Alto to issue an
ultimatum to the owners of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park: Sell
your property to us, or we’ll take it by eminent domain. The
threat is a moral, legal and political offense.
By Jonathan Lansner, Staff WriterPOSTED: 06/25/16, 9:31 PM PDT
The region’s housing crunch is steep, by any economic measure. A
database of housing affordability statistics created by The
Associated Press shows Southern California’s two main
metropolitan regions – Los Angeles/Orange counties and the Inland
Empire – consistently rank among the U.S. markets that most
stretch the household budgets of both homeowners and renters.
Data were census figures through 2014, the latest available.
Rent control ordinances essentially all impose some type of limit
on rent increases for all or some subset of rental units in a
local area and also often include requirements for new buildings
to include some minimum percentage of “affordable” units meaning
ones rented for less than the owner could get in a free market.
They are motivated by the idea that rents are too high because
landlords are greedy. That, however, is not the true cause of the
By Scott Herhold,, Bay Area News GroupPOSTED: 06/17/16, 10:46 PM PDT
After Supervisor Joe Simitian announced Wednesday that the
county’s Housing Authority would join the fight to preserve the
Buena Vista Mobile Home Park as a refuge for the working class in
Palo Alto, a reporter asked him what it meant. Enough big words.
What was his spin?
By Sheila Dey, Executive Director, Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association.JUNE 20, 2016
The Sacramento Bee recently profiled mobile home
owners who are taking advantage of a “loop-hole” to reduce
their tax liability on beach front homes in Malibu, worth
millions of dollars. Needless to say, the Los Angeles County tax
assessor wants more property taxes, and the law is on the side of
By Nathan Donato-Weinstein Real Estate Reporter Silicon Valley Business JournalJun 16, 2016, 5:11am PDT
The tool could be used if the Jisser family — which owns the
4.5-acre property and has been trying to close it since 2012 —
doesn’t accept a new offer to buy the park funded by Santa Clara
County, the city of Palo Alto and the county’s Housing Authority,
officials said Wednesday. That’s because the county and city have
now joined forces with the Housing Authority, which has eminent
domain power and signaled it’s agreeable to using it.
A wise man once said that the best way to get out of a hole is to
“stop digging.” Today California is short 1.5 million affordable
homes for families struggling to make ends meet, and the hole is
growing bigger each year.
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