SYLMAR : Park Owner Admits Illegal Rent Hikes

The owner of a Sylmar mobile-home park pleaded no contest Tuesday to 10 counts of charging illegally high rents, the Los Angeles city attorney's office said.

Richard H. Dunn, 77, entered his plea before Los Angeles Municipal Judge Glenette Blackwell, then told the judge that he planned to appeal the conviction to the state Court of Appeal on the grounds that the city's rent control ordinances violate the state Constitution, Deputy City Atty. Michael Wilkinson said.

Dunn was ordered to pay $4,700 in fines, but Blackwell stayed payment pending the appeal. The judge also ordered Dunn to place all rent overcharges for the past two years--totaling $7,390--in a special bank account while pursuing his appeal.

The overcharges occurred since January, 1990, at the 81-space Los Olivos Mobile Home Park, where some residents received rent hikes from 6% to 15%, City Atty. James K. Hahn said in a statement. "The city rent stabilization ordinance currently limits annual rent increases to 5%," he said.

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