July 5, 2006 > Editorial
Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.
May 12, 2006
Dear Ms. Cavicchi (Office Manager, Evans & O'Brien):
"As a result of the restrictions placed on our property by the City of Fremont's Mobilehome Rent Control Ordinance, we are considering closing Besaro Mobile Home Park and/or converting it to another use. As a result, it is our intention not to allow any new manufactured homes to be placed in the park until a final decision is reached regarding the future use of the property."
May 26, 2006
"On May 26, 2006 at 10:00 a.m., a meeting took place at the clubhouse regarding proposed amendments to the park's rules and regulations. Although we appreciate your comments, the parkowners have decided to implement the new rules without change. Accordingly, the new rules will become effective on December 1, 2006."
Besaro Mobile Home Park
Notice of rule change per Civil Code Section 798.25
Management maintains that in the event it decides to close the Community and/or cease operating the property as a Manufactured Housing Community, Management has the right under the federal constitution to exclude any person from the property, including Resident. Management also recognizes that in the event of its closure or cessation of use of the property as a Manufactured Home Community, the state of California and/or the City of Fremont may attempt to require Management to pay relocation costs to Resident.
Management hereby notifies Resident that Management maintains that any such relocation costs are unconstitutional and/or otherwise illegal. Management hereby further notifies Resident that in the event of its closure or cessation of use of the property as a Manufactured Housing Community, it is Management's intent to contest the legality of any such relocation costs in state or federal court.
Resident assumes all risk regarding the value of Resident's Manufactured Home and shall indemnify, discharge, release, and hold Management free and harmless in the event of economic loss, diminution in market value, or depreciation of Resident's Manufactured Home, or its accessory structures or equipment, which results in the future, for any reason, including closure or "change of use" of all or any part of the Community. Resident shall accept all risks of economic loss or loss in value to Resident's Manufactured Home.
Home. The word conjures up an image for almost everyone. Although the context is different for each, in its ideal form, the spirit of it, sense of refuge and welcome is universal. Even newer vocabularies have embraced the essence of the word, using "homey" to indicate affection and bonding between individuals. The physical structure of a home can take a variety of shapes and sizes, but the essence of the word remains.
The idea of mobile homes took root as the camping experience expanded from tents to trailers and have now blossomed into phenomenal roadworthy vehicles that can provide just about any level of comfort desired on highways and byways, even beyond! One lifestyle that has moved in a reverse direction is exemplified by many "mobile home" parks. These began with clearly mobile trailers, wheels and all, parked for extended periods on property demarcated for this type of housing. With advances in prefabricated housing, wheels soon disappeared beneath skirting and have become virtually non-existent as structures in these parks often rival other single family dwellings. As the distinction between "mobile" and "stationary" homes has decreased, other factors have risen in importance including cost and amenities.
In order to attract tenants, just as with any rental property, location and amenities have become extremely important. These may include attractive landscaping, club houses, pools and activities. Some parks cater to senior occupants, often on fixed incomes with a desire to live with others who share similar interests. The arrangement usually works well for landlords who rent small lots and tenants content to only own their home but not the ground beneath it.
This symbiotic arrangement is beneficial to all as long as both parties are faithful to each other's needs and desires. When one side breaks this relationship, bad things happen. It is to the tenants' advantage to maintain and cooperate with the landlord since for most, there is an overriding desire to live in a peaceful and welcome environment. Rules and regulations are created to define behavior and allow a clear understanding between residents and with owners. Owners, on the other hand, are recipients of income and land value carrying not only a fiscal, but also a moral responsibility to understand who lives on their land and how and why they were attracted to pay rental fees. They, in turn should expect fair compensation for use of their property.
A change in character of a mobile home park upsets a delicate balance of property owner rights and obligations and tenant trust. A senior park that suddenly decides to allow young children may be considered a breach of faith if tenants moved to the facility with a different understanding. Use change from a mobile home park to other uses also carries far-reaching effects. Home values plummet or disappear altogether - would you buy a condemned home? - and the limited mobility of these homes, restriction of land to accommodate them along with the destruction of a community is devastating. No fair-minded person wants these results.
Cities have granted zoning for mobile home parks, to regulate locations, number and size of these facilities. Some areas such as Fremont have imposed rent controls in an effort to protect tenants from precipitous increases. Tenants are also protected from capricious actions of owners who sense a real estate opportunity if they can vacate the property and either sell or use the land for a more profitable venture. Given the turmoil and dislocation involved, the city has the right and obligation to protect its citizens just the same as if a rental property is converted to condominiums. Costs in the case of a mobile home park are compounded by an investment factor as well.
When deliberate and avoidable actions of owners result in loss and suffering by their tenants, restitution is not only a legal obligation, but a moral imperative as well. In the case of Besario Mobile Home Park, it would be wise for owners and tenants to consider the consequences of their actions and find a compromise that jeopardizes neither party.