NATIONAL CITY, Calif. — Residents of a South Bay mobile home park are once again speaking out about their rent.
As of August, tenants have been paying nearly 30% more than what they were already paying. On Tuesday, city council inched closer to relief with a temporary solution.
Mobile home residents of Keystone Trailer Park are hoping for big changes after months of working with city council to limit rent increases at parks. The majority of these tenants are low-income seniors.
Resident Marysol Yescas has lived there for 30 years and is now taking care of her parents who happen to be senior citizens on a fixed income. Yescas tells FOX 5 she’s been forced to choose between medicine and rent.
“The whole reason why trailer parks were started were to allow low-income areas to help people in need,” Yescas said.
With the help of nonprofit San Diego Organizing Project, the city is working to offer a temporary solution with an ordinance months in the making, set to protect residents like Yescas from rising rent.
“We are talking about our most vulnerable communities in the region and so they don’t have $100 extra or any amount extra that they would suddenly have to put towards rent,” said Cielo Garat Zanella with the San Diego Organizing Project.
According to the city, this will protect mobile homeowners and park residents from “excessive and unconscionable rent increases during the COVID-19 health crisis and the resulting economic uncertainties.”
In a unanimous vote, city council deciding Tuesday, that should the ordinance get the green light, the protection will apply to rent increases beginning Jan. 1, 2023. If passed, moving forward rent will be capped at 5%.
“I’ll add that this is not just a housing issue, but this is a moral issue. These are people that can end up on the streets in a few months if this isn’t passed,” Zanella explained.
On the other side, Clay Hage, who runs a mobile home park in the area, argues this decision will only hurt the landlord in the long term.
“With all the arrows that you’re shooting, you’re hitting my park too. And what’s going to happen is we’re going to have to live with our rent increase, we won’t be hurt tomorrow, not two years from now but one day, we will also reach that nexus,” said Hage, director of operations at Park Managements and Investments.
The council will make a final decision on the matter Dec. 6. It’s important to note, if passed, this ordinance will only apply to mobile home parks. Rent would be capped at 5% on a temporary trial run for two years, expiring June 30, 2024.