Rent control ordinance extended
A public hearing was held at the meeting, to gain input on a third extension of a rent-freezing moratorium first imposed by the city council in December of last year.
The rent moratorium froze the rent for the residents at $268 a month, excluding utility costs. The moratorium was extended on Feb. 1. Prior to the meeting, the extended moratorium was scheduled to expire on July 30.
“If we adopt this ordinance, that extends it (the moratorium) out another six months,” Talia said.
Since the company took over the park, residents have raised a number of issues, from what multiple residents considered an unfair spike in the cost of rent to poor maintenance issues around the park, to a general lack of communication between the new owner and the residents.
After several of the residents brought the matter before the city council on Oct. 17, the city council directed City Attorney Peter Talia to work with both the residents and the new owner on a compromise.
During this time, Talia worked with RT Enterprises representative Joe Carroll to come up with a Memorandum of Understanding that would detail a plan on how the rent would be increased over the next five years. At the meeting, Talia said the MOU worked out between him and Carroll would have the residents paying $295 a month as of Sept. 1. The rent will go up by $20 each following September until 2013. Utilities will be billed separately, which will amount to roughly another $42-$50 a month.
Carroll was present at the July 29 meeting, which was the first time many of the residents had a chance to actually talk with a representative of the owners.
“Mr. Talia put us under a microscope, and was absolutely diligent in going after everything we were claiming to be and what we were paying out each month,” Carroll said. “That information was then provided to the city council. I can tell you that the city councilmembers and Mr. Talia have vigorously represented the folks of Susanville, especially the people living in the park.”
Many of the residents brought up concerns about the status of the park, as well as questions about the rent and where the money was going.
Carroll, who said he was only able to answer questions about the moratorium, said he was taking down a list of the residents concerns so he could take them back to the owner of the complex.
Some of the residents concerns included who would foot the bill for lawn maintenance, road repairs around the park, the general costs of the utilities and the problems people were having with trying to sell their homes to potential buyers.
Talia made a comment during the public hearing that it seemed like the biggest concern of the residents was the lack of communication between them and the owners. A couple of the residents said they felt like they were being completely ignored by the owner when he first took over.
RT Enterprises is a group owned by entrepreneur Randy Thomas based out of Modesto, Calif. The group currently owns and operates about 75 mobile home parks across the state.
Carroll said he understood the lack of communication, and would do all he could to make sure the relationship between owner and tenant.
The MOU Talia and Carroll have been working on will be brought before the council at its regular meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 6. Talia urged the council to accept the MOU when it’s brought forth, as it will be more stable than the continued extension of the moratorium.
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