Brentwood Mobilehome Park has achieved final victory and success in pursuing its Rent Increase Application before the City of Chula Vista. On January 19, 2012, the City’s Rent Review Commission adopted a new resolution, upon remand from the San Diego County Superior Court, approving a permanent $78.00 per month per space rent increase.
The rent increase that had previously been granted, and challenged in Court, was for $45.00 per month spread over three (3) years. Brentwood contended, rightfully so, that the increase was less than 50% of what had been requested and the actions of the City’s Rent Review Commission were arbitrary and capricious. The San Diego Superior Court agreed with Brentwood and judgment was entered in favor of the park. A writ of administrative mandamus was issued compelling the City to rehear the rent increase application and provide a rent increase that was in compliance with the evidence provided at the hearing.
The Application of Brentwood was officially submitted in January 2010. Thus, over the course of two (2) years, Brentwood has expended significant time, money and attorneys’ fees seeking a reasonable rent increase. The Resolution adopted on January 19, 2012 finally accomplishes that goal. Ironically, the Rent Increase Application may well be the last discretionary Rent Increase Application that will be presented to the City’s Rent Review Commission. In 2011, the City of Chula Vista, in one of its more rational moments, amended its rent control Ordinance to provide for full vacancy decontrol. In simple terms, each time there is a change in tenancy at any mobilehome park within the City, the park owner is permitted to adjust the rent at that space to market. This author is unaware of any park owner throughout California that would not utilize that ability to adjust rents in the park on a gradual basis as tenants come and go. Because most mobilehome parks have a turnover rate of 8-10 percent per year, most parks should be able to adjust rents over time in a fashion that allows net operating income to keep pace with inflation, increases in costs and provide a reasonable rate of return. The ability to adjust rents to market on turnover is, ordinarily, a sufficient disincentive for park owners to undertake the tremendous amount of time and expense needed to pursue a Rent Increase Application.
Congratulations Brentwood on your success!! The park’s tenants are dramatically better off since the improvements were made to the park. The capital invested to upgrade the park was the basis of the Rent Increase Application. A renewed clubhouse, an entirely new and upgraded/reinforced utility system and improved amenities throughout the park are dramatic evidence of how efficient park operators keep up their park which are, of course, dependant upon reasonable revenue streams.
C. William Dahlin handled the Rent Increase Application and subsequent litigation which was finally concluded in January 2012.