Proposition 199
Mobile Homes

The information below was provided by the California Journal.

Background: About 500,000 Californians live in mobile homes. which typically are owned by the occupant who must then rent space from a mobile-home park. About 100 cities and counties around the state have some form of rent control for these parks, generally limiting rent increases to the level of inflation or less. These controls apply to about 150,000 mobile homes statewide. Owners of mobile-home parks have tried periodically over the years to repeal the rent-control laws, arguing that the value of the low rents is capitalized into higher mobile-home prices, making it more difficult for low-income buyers to purchase the homes. By phasing out rent controls, the purchase price of homes in these areas might become cheaper, as the equity value of the homes is transferred to park owners in the form of higher rents.

Proposal: Proposition 199 would gradually phase out all existing rent controls on mobile-home parks. The controls would stay in effect for each individual unit until the current occupant sells, sublets or otherwise leaves the residence. The park owner then would be able to raise the rent freely.The measure also would allow park owners to raise rents at least as fast as the rate of inflation. Finally, the initiative would require park owners to provide 10 percent rent discounts for 10 percent of the spots in their parks to people with "very low" income, a level that varies by county. The state legislative analyst estimates that the measure could save local governments several million dollars annually in the long run, as the cost of administering rent control laws eventually disappears.

Arguments for: Proponents -- including the state Chamber of Commerce, the Republican Party and the Mobilehome Park Owners Alliance -- argue that rent controls have led to an increase in the cost of the homes and a decrease in the amount of park space available. Because of disincentives to creating new park space, the state has faced a shortage in just the kind of housing most needed by seniors and young families, they say. By removing the rent controls, the purchase prices for the homes will fall and more space will open up -- and the 10 percent rent discounts will help the poorest sector of the population afford housing. Rent-control laws cost local taxpayers millions of dollars to administer, proponents add, which would be avoided with passage of the initiative.

Arguments against: Opponents -- including the American Association of Retired Persons, the Golden State Mobilehome Owners League and the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO -- say the initiative is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt by park owners to raise rents. The 10 percent rental assistance provision is not enough to outweigh the effects of expected rent increases, they say. Rent increases would price senior citizens and others on fixed incomes out of the market, not make it easier for them to buy the homes.

For additional information please see:

Secretary of State Ballot Pamphlet

Campaign Finance Data from the Secretary of State

Original Legislation

California State Senate Office of Research

California League of Women Voters

Easy Reader Voter Guide

Related News Articles:

Campaign Web Sites:

Home | About This Guide | Search