After three heated meetings between the city, park owners and mobile home tenants, the motion to remove rent control passed Wednesday with the adoption of a "vacancy decontrol ordinance," despite pleas from residents for the council to re-think its decision.
“I am here to plead with you to not adopt this terrible and horrible ordinance,” said Mira Mar Mobile Park resident Sharon Signs. “You will be hurting over 2,200 seniors and veterans. You will be taking our homes away without fair and just compensation.”
Rent control, which has kept a ceiling on fees park owners can charge their tenants for the last 30 years, has become a form of affordable housing for more than 2,000 residents and veterans living in mobile home parks throughout Oceanside.
“If doing the right thing is the pressing issue, then it fails miserably in favor of a very small group of people that represent interests almost exclusively outside of the city,” said mobile home resident Don Rogers.
Mobile home residents are planning for a referendum, which requires signatures in support of rent control from 10 percent of registered voters in the city by June 23. Should the referendum be successful, it could lead to a special election that could cost the city a half million dollars. So far the residents have collected around 1000 signatures and are hoping to have the required 7,600 signatures collected by the end of the month.
“I have always supported private property rights and believe that it’s not the responsibility of private property owners to supply affordable housing for others at their expense,” said Councilman Jack Feller. “I understand and I sympathize with the veterans and senior citizens living on a fixed-income ... but we are in the midst of a budget crisis and I do not think I will be supporting a half-a-million-dollar investment. I believe the right thing to do is to correct this wrong action of 1984.”
The council voted to keep rent control for those currently living under the measure, but residents say that while it looks nice on paper, it devalues their homes and will make it hard to recoup investment, should they opt to rent the home or sell it.