Rent hike may force many in OC retirement community from their homes

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- The owners of nearly 400 homes in a 55-and-over mobile home park in North Orange County find themselves stuck with no way out because of a rent increase that starts in June.

Lupe Ramirez said after living at Rancho La Paz Mobile Home Park for nearly six years, she would have to pay an additional $297 a month.

"Three quarters of the park are on a fixed income and probably half just on social security," Ramirez said.

The news caused distress among community members. Retirement plans were completely destroyed.

"Nobody moved into this park with intentions of moving again. This is where everybody was going to stay and this was going to be their retirement home," Ramirez said.

People living on the property on East Orangethorpe Avenue said living more and more for-sale signs were popping up from those left with no other option but to move.

That was where Sharon Kunkel found herself after six years of renting at Rancho La Paz.

"I'm going to have $17 a month to live on as of June 1," Kunkel said.

Kunkel has lived in sunny Southern California since her teens, but the rent increase will force her into a more frigid retirement in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, away from her grandchildren.

"The little ones - I wanted to watch them grow up and now I can't," Kunkel said.

Told the move comes from the property owner and is not against the law, hundreds of veterans, people with disabilities and grandparents were left without a voice.

"We really don't have a legal protection because everybody says what he's doing is legal, what he's doing is legal," Ramirez said.
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