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Supervisors push for rent control at trailer parks

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors moved forward Tuesday with a plan to establish rent controls at mobile home parks in unincorporated areas.

The approved motion, written by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Sheila Kuehl, gives county departments six months to amend the county code and cap annual rent increases.

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Hahn said trailer park tenants are often families most in need of affordable housing. She said she worries that trailer park owners are taking advantage of their vulnerability, leaving many with little recourse to fight back.

“They cannot just pick up and move if given a 30-day notice that their rent will increase,” Hahn said during Tuesday’s meeting.

“If their rent gets too high for them to afford, they sometimes are forced to sell their mobile home to the mobile home park owner. This gives mobile home park owners an incentive to raise rent.”

Kuehl said she hopes that creating the ordinance would help prevent people from becoming homeless. “Our greatest prevention is to help people stay in their homes,” Kuehl said. “That is why we are paying ever more attention to those who are tenants.”

About a dozen people spoke, a majority of them favoring the motion.

One of those people was 17-year-old Joe Meng, who suggested that trailer park owners should also be required to report on what they are spending rent money on.

Meng lives with four family members in a 500-square-foot mobile home in Rowland Heights.

Meng said his mother, a substitute teacher, and his father, who is unemployed, are struggling to keep up with the rising rent.

Meng said they pay around $900 every month.

“I’ve worried about losing my home before,” Meng said. “We don’t have a fixed income.”

Jared Gonzalez, a representative of the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Assn., said relations have been good between renters and owners of mobile home parks.

“We have compassionate and fair park owners who do their best to work with residents to make a happy home and who are proactive in addressing issues that arise,” Gonzalez told the supervisors.

Gonzalez said he is committed to exploring solutions based on issues raised in the proposal.

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