Local Business

News from a resident living in Fullerton’s Rancho La Paz mobile home park

Fullerton Observer,

Several months ago, I received an email asking about Rancho la Paz and how we are doing. There were a few problems and changes I would like to share.

We have become a “rental park” now as the new owner has bought over 20 homes here and is renting them out. We no longer know our neighbors or who is living here. There are many people walking dogs and riding bikes that clearly are not 55 and older.

This is a tactic by mobile home park investors. Taught by the mobile home investors school that teaches how to buy a park, get rid of the homeowners, and re-develop or profit from these few large segments of land. Once the owner has many of these homes as rentals, they no longer need to honor owner leases or agreements. The ease of eviction increases when all the owner has to do is serve an eviction notice form to renters—no more owner buyouts. The history of owners in parks buying units and converting them to rental units is evident in the closing and eventual development of park properties into parking structures, hotels, and condos.

As our park has increased rental units, our crime rates in what was a safe place to live have increased. We are having increasing mailbox thefts; we had to make reports to the Postmaster General’s
office, we were told one of the culprits was a 19-year-old living in a rental house owned by the park.

We have bought our own closed security camera system owned by the Home Owners Association. Many items are taken from gardening and service trucks, Amazon and other package deliveries are no longer safe, and many are taken from carports and porches. We have groups of teens on skateboards and bikes riding around the park on weekends when the manager’s office is closed. There have been several “walk-ins” of resident homes, with culprits claiming the wrong house, sorry. Garage robberies, car ransacked, a golf cart theft, and catalytic converter thefts.

Some of these things have happened before, but the increase correlates to the change in rented units. The giant banners outside our park stating “rental units available” is also a safety concern. This results in many strangers driving around the park looking for these rental units. AB976 the rent protection law may have spurred the lack of interest in the safety of many vulnerable seniors with hearing problems, possible early stages of dementia, and other disabilities.

Selling of units for residents that choose to go into assisted living or live with children has become more challenging as well; with increases in the space rentals to new buyers, very few seniors meet the criteria for proof of monthly income which is required to be three times the space rental at (least $5,000. dollars per month). This is not retirement income for any seniors I know. As a result, homeowners lose 10s of thousands of dollars of equity selling under these difficult circumstances. In addition, the park owner will inevitably have a below-market offer to buy the units from owners that can no longer afford to live here and cannot sell due to the lack of park-required income for new residents, thus resulting in more units for the owner to rent out.

We have AB976, a law putting a rent cap on the Mobile home space rent at Rancho La Paz. Out of 398 units here, it covers about a third of the residences. So we have some protection at the same time, we see our safety in this park in Jeopardy.