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Santa Maria mobile home residents push for rent control

Posted at 4:27 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 19:52:16-04

For the last few years, mobile home residents have been pushing for better rent control in the City of Santa Maria.

Locals tell KSBY they have been fighting this battle for a while and they are unable to keep up with the increases. City leaders have stepped in but residents are saying it's not enough.

On average it cost about $2,000 dollars to rent a home in Santa Maria.

For those looking for a cheaper option, mobile home parks have been the answer. For many seniors, income is a fixed number and with rent climbing, they're having a hard time making ends meet.

"I have a social security check of $845 and I have to stretch that a little bit," said mobile home resident, Rich Bailey.

Bailey lives at Casa Grande Mobile Home Park and stretches that $845 social security check to try and cover his almost $900 rent. Relying on his food stamps to offset the rent expenses.

The same experience is mirrored with residents from surrounding mobile home parks. This is why Gary Hall, a Rancho Buena Vista resident united the mobile home community to petition the city to adopt a rent stabilization act at a recent city hall meeting.

"My fellow mobile homeowners are here to plead with you to do the right thing," said Hall.

Well aware of the resident's concerns the city came to the decision to enact an enforceable model lease, which is to put a cap on the percent the rent can increase based on the consumer price index.

"The floor rent increase of 2.5% if the index is less than 2.5 percent and a ceiling rent increase of 6%," said City of Santa Maria Public Information Manager, Mark van de Kamp.

This means the rent increase is capped at 6% even if the index number is higher. As of now six of the 15 mobile home parks have adopted this ordinance. While residents are still not happy, owners say its still better than the alternative.

"Some of the residents feel like rents are very high and I understand that its painful to pay rent I feel like mobile homes are some of the most affordable housing to comparable properties," said owner of Casa Del Rio Mobile Home Estates, Erick Wells.

Mobile home residents say this ordinance, while it slightly lowers annual rent hikes, is not enough to accomplish their goal or rent control. They are urging the city to take further action by asking the council to add rent stabilization to their agenda in order to create an open debate.

For now, Santa Maria city leaders plan to continue to keep a line of communication open with mobile home residents but they do not have plans to have a rent stabilization act on any of the upcoming meeting agendas