Malibu mobile home owners have mobilized to actively lobby in opposition to AB 317, a bill that passed the state Assembly earlier this year.
The Judicial Committee is expected to evaluate the amendments to the bill this month. It’s projected to be on their agenda between June 5-27. Legislative action was reported on this bill on May 23 when the bill’s author added an amendment. The bill requires a majority vote by the Senate to pass.
Active participants in the two mobile home parks, containing nearly 600 sources of local housing, do not feel the amendment does enough to change their objections. Leaders of both local parks are planning trips to Sacramento to lobby members of the Senate Judicial Committee.
According to Aaron Guttman, President of the Point Dume Mobile Home Park, with 299 mobile homes, “the amended version of the bill, in essence, just changes the word "sole" back to "principle" when it refers to the homeowner’s place of residence.”
Guttman described this amendment as “a poor attempt to demonstrate a compromise in order to push this bill through the Senate. I feel that it really does not make a huge difference how it is worded. It will still undermine rent control and will devastate property values of all mobile homes, statewide.”
Although there is a big part of this word change from sole to principle it still appears that those who own other properties will not be entitled to rent control. Guttman sees the word change as creating a new issue.
“I think that changing the wording will also bring the responsibility of proving residency to the mobile home owner. This could be a somewhat easy task or it could involve the hiring of a lawyer to prove the living situation. This could become very costly, very quickly as well,” he said.
Guttman is committed to fighting this bill to protect seniors on fixed income and young families starting out.
Rose Collins is an example of one of those owners. She classifies herself as senior citizen and a widow with a Social Security income in this mobile home park.
“I bought a mobile home several years ago as a rental to help me with some additional income when I retired,” according to Collins. She said she barely breaks even due to the 15 percent surcharge on top of the yearly rental increases to the park owners.
Collins has been working hard to lobby against this bill in any form.
“I may have to sell the mobile home at the current low market value if AB 317 passes,” she said. Collins describes this bill as a push by Special Interest Group working to remove many from their homes by pushing them out of the parks.
Leslie Starus, President of the Paradise Cove Homeowners Association, is also leading the 276 owners in her park to lobby against this bill. She said she feels the bill and its amendment still undermines rent control.
The residents of both parks have mobilized and have been having joint meetings to get more involved in opposition to this bill.
The City of Malibu has rent regulations only with respect to mobile homes. In Chapter 5.16 of the Malibu Municipal Code, there is a Rent Control Stabilization Ordinance. There is also a Mobile Home Park Rent Stabilization Commission who works to meet the needs of this housing segment.
AB 317 and its amendment have been reviewed and analyzed by Collins along with a group of other residents who feel that bill is poorly written, very vague, and very disconcerting.
“We feel certain that the Senators will agree with most of us mobile home owners that this bill will be financially devastating to many owners, specifically senior citizens and we hope and pray that this bill will be defeated if the Judicial Committee,” Collins said.
Guttman voiced a similar concern.
”I have had many elderly couples knocking on my door asking, 'Will it pass? What are the chances? What happens to me if it passes?' I just don’t see this bill as fair to those affected in this state and especially our seniors,” Guttman said.
Opponents of this bill from both Malibu parks are seeking support from other segments of the Malibu community. They are sending letters, faxes and emails to lawmakers. It’s best to take some time to hand write a note expressing how this bill would negatively affect them or their neighbor in the Malibu community.
Beverly Taki is a California-licensed real estate broker who has represented clients in Malibu for 22 years. She is a Malibu resident and president/broker of . Taki has earned a certificate in dispute resolution from Pepperdine University, specializing in mediation. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-456-4843. Her website is beverlytaki.com.