A single-wide mobile home located on
Castro Valley Boulevard.
During a prolonged housing affordability crisis in the East Bay, mobile home parks have been a low-cost option for many residents, especially seniors. But in relative terms, the monthly rental rates for mobile home owners in unincorporated Alameda County is still outpacing stricter controls in nearby cities.
It's a trend that may continue after the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to update its rent stabilization ordinance to include a drop in maximum annual percentage increases, but also grants full vacancy decontrol to park owners. The latter gives park owners the ability to offer rental plot at a market rate.
Supervisor Nate Miley backed the full vacancy
decontrol policy supported by mobile home
park owners in unincorporated Castro Valley.
In addition, rent increases are limited to four percent annually, down from five percent under the previous ordinance. The new maximum figure, however, is still higher than other nearby city's mobile home rent ordinances. Fremont's is 3.5 percent, while all eight others hover between 2-3 percent annually.
The affordability of mobile home rents is more acute in the unincorporated areas of central Alameda County. Nineteen mobile home parks reside in unincorporated Alameda County, by far, the most, followed by 10 in Hayward. In addition, half of the total mobile home units are located in Castro Valley, where the issue has percolated over the past two years. Fifteen public meetings were held over the same time, along with a Board of Supervisors approved moratorium on rent increases early 2015.
Supervisors Nate Miley, Scott Haggerty and Richard Valle voted yes. Supervisor Wilma Chan opposed the ordinance; Keith Carson abstained. But the ordinance's sticking point was the issue of vacancy control of mobile homes, also referred to as coaches. "This is an issue Nate and I disagree on," said Chan.
Staff for the Alameda County Community Development Agency, though, had advocated for a compromise including a modified policy allowing full vacancy decontrol for circumstances such as eviction, abandonment and voluntary removal, along with rent increases on in-place transfers equal to three times the maximum four percent annual rent increases, or 12 percent. But the board sided with giving park owners more leeway for seeking market rate prices.