MALIBU : City Ordered to Pay Firm $600,000 for Rent-Control Losses

A federal judge has ordered the city of Malibu to pay the owner of a mobile home park half a million dollars in losses incurred under the city's mobile home rent-control law, one of the strictest in the state.

U.S. District Court Judge Mariana R. Pfaelzer ruled March 10 that the Kissel Co., owner of Paradise Cove mobile home park, lost $605,448 in back rent under the 1991 law.

The plaintiffs had claimed damages of over $3 million.

"We are pleased that the court has vindicated the Kissel Co. claim . . . but we think we were damaged in a greater amount than what was awarded," said Jeff Spitz, the attorney representing the firm.

City Atty. Christi Hogin said she was pleased with the decision.

"It is not unfair, and it's a conservative amount that reflects the underpayment of rent caused by the provisions of the rent-control law that the judge overturned" in an earlier ruling, Hogin said.

In June, Pfaelzer struck down as unconstitutional several key provisions in the city's mobile home rent-control ordinance, including a rent rollback to 1984 base levels and a two-year rent freeze.

The Kissel Co. and the Adamson Cos., owner of the Point Dume mobile home park, in 1991 filed separate lawsuits over the ordinance. The city lost both lawsuits and settled out of court with the Adamson Cos. for $400,000.

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