NEWS ARTICLES FROM AROUND THE STATE, THE COUNTRY, THE WORLD

Editors Note:  In the past, we have tried to publish full articles; however this limited the number of articles we could publish in any one THE VOICE.  This month we are publishing many more articles; however just short segments of each.  If you see an article of interest, we are happy to email you the full article.

———————————————————————————————————————————

Goleta City Council Demands Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

Thursday, June 7, 2007 By Martha Sadler

The City of Goleta stood fast against an attempted end-run around its mobile home rent control ordinances — namely Daniel Guggenheim’s bid to subdivide his Rancho Mobile Home Park and sell its 150 parcels for about $250,000 each. It is a strategy that has been used successfully by park owners throughout California, led by activist Sam Zell. Several park residents said they were pleasantly surprised to see their City Council circle the wagons around a Goleta city staff report that could spell doom for the proposed condo conversion.

Sonoma—County defends rules on mobiles Court challenge of (conversion) moratorium, restrictions

By Claudia Reed INDEX-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER   June 12, 2007

“ The City of Sonoma has passed a moratorium on turning mobile-home parks into subdivisions – but some people wonder if it will stand. A legal challenge to a similar moratorium was on its way to superior court when Sonoma County replaced the moratorium, first enacted in October of last year, with a regulatory   ordinance.

Windsor (Near Santa Rosa) –    ROP, Inc. PURCHASES ANOTHER PARK

Windsor park residents ‘in a tizzy’ over sale By CLARK MASON THE PRESS DEMO June 13, 2007

The pending sale of Windsor’s largest mobile home park is causing anxiety among its senior residents who fear they can’t afford the rent increases planned by the buyer. The purchase of the Windsor Mobile Country Club by a nonprofit housing corporation is billed as a way to keep rents affordable. But rents in the       336-space park could jump significantly at first — 50 to 65 percent in some cases — in order for the buyer, Resident Owned Parks of Sacramento, to swing the deal.

Ireland (Yes Ireland) – MOBILE HOME OWNERS EXPLOITED

MONDAY 04/06/2007 15:50:37

Mobile home owners are being exploited by unscrupulous site landlords charging exorbitant tariffs, the  Assembly heard today. Jim Shannon (DUP, Strangford) said site developers were riding rough-shod over tenants` rights and charging thousands of pounds for mandatory repairs and upgrades with little legal     restraint.

“It`s a story that most of us have heard and that should not be repeated in the province, that of the average person being taken advantage of and having no protection against those who seek to gain for themselves at the cost to others,” he said. He was speaking after residents received letters from the Groomsport park owners last April telling them to either upgrade to a park home costing £90,000 or remove their mobile home.  “You have to sympathize with the plight of mobile home owners and there clearly is a deficiency in the Northern Ireland legislation which leaves mobile home owners unprotected and disadvantaged in comparison with their counterparts elsewhere in the UK,” she said.

MOBILE HOME MOGUL MUZZLED

Illinois—ZELL’S FIRM KEY IN RENT HIKE FIGHTS

A dispute with Equity Lifestyle — king of the mobile home world —

helps bring legislation protecting tenants

The head of Illinois’ mobile home owners association, Terry Nelson, is elated. The General Assembly is poised as soon as this week to pass what Nelson says is the most significant boost for her constituents’ rights in 30 years. And she has real estate magnate Sam Zell partly to thank for it.

Still, the Willow Lake Estates residents’ fight has been a key catalyst for the proposed legislation, which won’t stop rent hikes but will beef up consumer protections for mobile home owners. Their fight is also emblematic of a larger battle: Equity, the country’s largest mobile home park operator, has been in the middle of several controversies over rent increases.

In the past few years it has fought with Delaware mobile home owners in court, and won, over the right to increase rents. In Florida, some tenants of Equity’s parks have vowed to withhold portions of rent increases. And in California, Equity has been involved in several court battles to overturn municipal rent-control ordinances.

Sacramento—Mobile home bill making headway

Evans’ measure (AB 1542) would protect renters from facing conversions

By JOHN WATERS Jr. or the Register Friday, June 15, 2007

The state Assembly has passed a measure protecting mobile home residents from the growing trend of mobile home park conversions, a measure sponsored by Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D- Santa Rosa. AB1542 passed along party lines and now moves to the state Senate. “This is a historic victory in the fight to protect     affordable housing,” Evans said in a prepared statement. “It gives communities the tools they need when a     conversion threatens to drive seniors and working families from their homes.”

Washington State—Mobile home park’s owner could double investment  by selling each lot under tenant homes for $200,000

By David Chircop Herald Writer Published: Monday, June 18, 2007

EVERETT, Washington – Investors who bought a seniors-only mobile home park for $15 million last year are now trying to flip the land to residents – and taxpayers – for as much as $33 million. Asking for $200,000 for each mobile home space is too much for seniors living on fixed incomes. “Personally, I think they’re asking a lot for a postage stamp-sized lot,” said Charles Brown, 71, who bought a mobile home at the park in November. He said he was told that the new owners had no plans of converting the park when he paid $45,000 for his home. Buying the land, which he rents for $650 per month, is out of reach, he said.

San Luis Obispo— Grand jury backs county on mobile home rules

By April Charlton/Senior Staff Writer

The San Luis Obispo County grand jury believes county officials are moving in the right direction, one step at a time, to make a larger stock of affordable housing become a reality instead of just wishful thinking.  The 2006-07 civil grand jury released a 17-page report Thursday on affordable housing in San Luis Obispo County that says the body “supports the county’s plans for improving mobile home park stability and growth.”The county doesn’t have an ordinance regulating mobile home park conversions or closures, but in March, the Board of Supervisors adopted a two-year urgency ordinance banning both conversions and closures. There are 39 mobile home parks in the unincorporated parts of the county, with a total of 2,600 spaces. It’s estimated at least 6,000 people live in the parks, most of whom are on fixed incomes and couldn’t afford to live anywhere else.