Mobile home park residents outraged by sharp rent hikes

Residents of a park in El Monte mobile home say they are being priced out of their homes.

We learned of the situation at a meeting of the community of El Monte last week. More than two dozen residents of the Brookside Mobile Country Club said its index of renting space in the park of 12700 Elliott Ave has risen from $ 80 to almost $ 300 per month in a year. A resident of the documents, provided that showed his income went from $ 1,195.65 to $ 1,482, an increase of 23.9 percent.

“I’m in the place I can not pay the rent anymore,” said resident Jose Gonzalez. “I have a job, I take care of my mom. She is over 92 years old.”

Some residents said they are immigrants who earn enough to pay your bills. Other residents as Sandi Witt said they are on a fixed income and can barely make ends meet rising rents.

“I’m not rich,” Witt said, “I’m living on $ 800 a month and the rent is $ 1,300. I have to rely on friends and family to help me with my rent, my utilities and the like, of otherwise never be able to. ”

There are over 30 mobile home parks in El Monte, according to city officials. The average monthly income in mobile home parks in the city is between $ 400 and $ 700.

“The park has been raising rates on income at an exorbitant rate and has a huge number of vacancies,” said El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero. “It makes no sense for the business model to work. Vacant high and high income does not make sense.”

Last fall, voters approved Measure F, a mobile home rent control measure. A moratorium on increase mobile home space rental has been in place since December to allow time for the city to get an idea of ​​the situation. It expires in April.

Residents in Eyewitness News showed Brookside rent increase notices indicating rents are going up this month, after the moratorium took effect.

Quintero, who is also a lawyer, said the city is investigating whether the park administration is violating the law.

“It could very well be a criminal we use,” he said. “It could be a kind of civil injunction, we do not know exactly how we will address these rent increases that have come into force on the first day of the year or in December when we enacted our emergency ordinance.”

Mobile Community Management Co. manages Brookside Mobile Country Club. The company provided Eyewitness News letters sent to the city of El Monte and Brookside residents justify rent increases. The letters explained rent increases are to protect property owners and the city promoted the approval of a rent control measure.

“All rent increases implemented and / or noticed so far been given either under the terms of a lease long term or notice was given and the rent increase took effect prior to the adoption of the rent moratorium. Consequently, all rent increases implemented to date are valid and legal, “the company said in a statement.

While the city determines what you can do, some residents fear being evicted because they can not afford to pay the rent.

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