ANAHEIM, Calif. (March 27, 2019) — The owner of the Rancho La Paz mobile home park in north Anaheim and neighboring Fullerton is rescinding rent increases and meeting with residents to find a workable way forward for everyone.
At Anaheim City Hall on Tuesday, owner John Saunders of Newport Beach-based Saunders Real Estate met with Rancho La Paz residents in a meeting called by Mayor Harry Sidhu and including Council Members Stephen Faessel and Trevor O’Neil.
“As a result of our meeting, I’m pleased to announce Rancho La Paz’s ownership has committed to rescind the proposed increases and to spend the coming months working with residents to find common ground,” Sidhu said.
Any change in rents at Rancho La Paz is now on hold at least through Sept. 1. Rents proposed in February that caused concern among the community’s 400 or so senior residents no longer will take effect on June 1.
The park’s owner will meet with residents in coming days to find a solution that addresses the need to offset higher costs as well as residents’ concerns about being able to afford the rent on spaces for their mobile homes.
“We will work with residents on a more gradual transition,” said Saunders, who acquired the park in February. “I look forward to meeting with residents to talk about a way forward that allows time to adjust and also brings improvement to the community.”
Rancho La Paz is a 390-home park along Orangethorpe Avenue where 240 of the mobile home spaces are in Anaheim and 150 are in Fullerton.
The community is home to veterans, retirees and working seniors.
“Everyone has committed to examining every possible approach to ensure that the seniors, veterans and other residents of Rancho La Paz are able to continue living here,” Sidhu said.
Residents now pay rents that are half or even lower than other mobile home parks in the area, according to data provided at the meeting.
The lower rents don’t offset an increase in the park’s annual property tax from $100,000 to $800,000, based on an updated assessment triggered by the change in ownership.
“We have an owner who is committed to operating and improving this park for years to come,” Sidhu said. “He needs to able to recover reasonable costs. Working constructively over the next several months, I believe we can achieve this.”
What is Rancho La Paz?
Rancho La Paz is a mobile home park in north Anaheim and neighboring Fullerton along Orangethorpe Avenue near Lemon Street. There are 387 lots for mobile homes, with 240 in Anaheim and 147 in Fullerton.
Who lives there?
Rancho La Paz is an age-restricted community in which people have to be 55 or older to live there. It is home to some 400 retirees and working seniors.
How do mobile home parks work?
Residents buy and own their mobile homes. They pay rent for a lot at a mobile home park, such as Rancho La Paz.
What were the proposed rent increases?
In late February, residents were given 90-day notice of proposed monthly rent increases of $200 or more.
Why were rents being raised?
The park’s new owner faces higher costs that aren’t offset by current rents, which are half or lower than rents at comparable mobile home parks in the area, according to data provided at the meeting.
What are the higher costs for the owner?
The park saw an increase in its annual property tax bill to $800,000 a year. The new tax bill is significantly higher than before and was triggered by the change in ownership.
What does it mean to rescind rent increases?
The owner is withdrawing the 90-day notice of new rents that was issued in February. That means they will not take effect on June 1, as had been proposed.
What happens next?
The owner has put off any changes in rents through at least Sept. 1, as he meets with residents to find common ground.
Is the city planning to regulate rents at the park?
Housing affordability is a regular point of discussion in Anaheim. Our Council will evaluate whether any additional action is needed.
What does Anaheim do to ensure affordable housing?
A lot. Through the Anaheim Housing Authority, we have nearly 4,000 affordable apartments in our city. They are home to families, seniors and those with special needs.
They include 13 city-supported affordable communities, with two more on the way, where 100 percent of apartments are affordable.
We also provide more than $70 million in housing support vouchers to residents each year, covering more than 6,600 households.
In cases like we saw with Rancho La Paz, we encourage landlords and tenants to come together to see if there is room for compromise that allows landlords to recoup reasonable costs while also maintaining longtime tenants who are part of the community.