Mobile home tenants fight to save homes

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. The city's Rent Adjustment Commission heard arguments from the landlord Monday night without making a decision as to whether the rent hike would be approved.

Residents are prepared to fight a proposed increase of more than $500 over the $130 they pay on the land where their mobile homes sit. Many are still paying mortgages on their mobile homes in addition to the rent for the space and say they just can't afford to pay anymore.

Residents showed up to a hearing of the Rent Adjustment Commission hoping to prevent the rent hike. The stress of worrying how they will survive is taking a toll on the elderly residents.

"There have been strokes, heart attacks, hospitalizations, tremendous anxiety," said Valerie Hopkins, a resident at the park.

About half of the park's residents are disabled, the average age is 80 and most have an income of only $1000 a month.

"We wouldn't have too much to live on if we had to pay that $700 a month," said resident Frank Morton.

An attorney representing the park's owner appeared at the meeting, arguing the owner has a constitutional right to receive a just and reasonable return on the park property.

"I realize that they have a right to some increase, but my word, let's be reasonable about this," said Morton.

The commission will continue with a public hearing next week before coming to a decision.

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