Mobile-home owners oppose bill



State lawmakers have rejected but not necessarily killed an Assembly bill that mobile-home owners say could boost their rents and make it difficult to sell their homes.

AB 761 garnered just three votes fewer than it needed, but its supporter, Assemblyman Charles Calderon, a Montebello Democrat, told reporters some backers were absent and he believes it can pass on another day.

Tim Sheahan, president of the Golden State Manufactured-Home Owners League, known as GSMOL, said he’s concerned Calderon is right.

“This is a huge deal,” Sheahan said. He said many communities would see rents double and that would make it difficult for people to sell.

In San Luis Obispo, it would affect all areas of the county, whether they’re in rent control areas or not, according to Marie Pounders, president of SLOMAP, the Mobile Home Residence Assistance Panel.

Mobile-home park owners in the county now are allowed to increase rents to new mobile-home buyers by a maximum of 10 percent upon sale. Under the bill, that would be increased to 15 percent immediately but, more importantly for opponents, it would effectively allow the rents to be increased each following year until they double within five years.

In San Luis Obispo County, Pounders said, that would mean average space rents of $500 would hit $1,000—something that would make selling homes far more difficult.

Mobile-home owners typically own their homes but rent their spaces. Together, the county’s mobile-home parks represent one of the largest sources of affordable housing in the area. An estimated 6,000 people live in the 40-plus mobile-home parks in the unincorporated parts of the county, often in prime spots, with hundreds more living in parks within city boundaries.

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