By Sheryl Hamlin
During the Public Comments section of the December 4, 2019 Santa Paula City Council meeting, the Reverend Jill Martinez, a retired Presbyterian Minister, who now works with GSMOL (Golden State Manufactured Home Owners League), reported on a huge increase that has been levied on the residents of The Oaks Mobilestates, a senior mobile home park located on Richmond in Santa Paula. In the audience was jazz guitarist Barry Cooper, a resident of The Oaks Mobilestates, who ceded his time to Reverend Martinez.
According to Reverent Martinez, the residents are faced with a $200 increase, some as high as $267.00. The residents were given only two options: 1) start with a $25 increase and raise the rent incrementally over five years or 2) sign a lease, an option not recommended because it takes the unit out of rent control.
According to Reverend Martinez, the new owner states that $2 million of upgrades are planned to the infrastructure with a life of 50 years, but he has not been specific on the amortization period.
She would like a hearing before the “Rent Stabilization Board” to appeal. Santa Paula does have a “Mobile Home Rent Review Committee”, but this committee only meets if there is an appeal for which a fee of $5000 is charged. As seen on the city’s website, this committee has not met in recent history: city website
Notable about the operational characteristics of the Mobile Home Rent Review Committee is its similarity to the Design Assistance Committee (DAC), whose meetings are sporadic and at the will of the city staff. Citizens are also charged a large fee to present a historic property for designation to the DAC.
There is a 90 day period to appeal. Reverend Martinez requested council intervene in this situation saying the increase amounts to “taxation without representation”. There is nothing in the Mobile Home Rent Review ordinance to allow residents to speak on their behalf and this should be changed. The clock starts ticking on December 21 for the 90 day appeal period.
Reverend Martinez suggested the mobile home ordinance be reviewed and rewritten.
At the end of the meeting in the section for Future Agenda Items, Council Member Sobel asked for this item to be revisited.
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