City looks into mobile home park complaints

OCEANSIDE — Troubles may not be over for mobile home owners.

Residents’ complaints about unfair park management practices prompted the City Council to direct City Attorney John Mullen to look into allegations of obstructing home sales on Jan. 21. State laws prohibit park owners from inhibiting home sales.

Mullen said fact-finding is now in progress.

Mullen met with homeowner representatives on Jan. 28, and will meet with park managers and other involved parties within 60 days.

He said if there proves to be a problem, the next step will be to determine the role of the city.

In order for a mobile home owner to sell their coach, the park owner must approve the buyer.

Complaints from homeowners include buyers being denied for no stated reason, and park managers yelling at prospective buyers and chasing them off the site.

Linda Walshaw, mobile home owner representative for ACTION citizens group and resident of Mission View mobile home park, met with Mullen and other city and homeowner representatives on Jan. 21.

She said she appreciates council getting the ball rolling.

“Thank goodness the city reached out to offer this help,” Walshaw said. “They’re saying there’s a problem, and they will help to fix it.”

Walshaw said she receives daily complaints from mobile home owners, who cannot afford private attorneys to resolve issues. She said many complaints are about hostile management practices, and verge on financial elder abuse.

During the 60-day fact-finding period homeowners will submit documentation of questionable incidents, and Mullen will contact realtors who have had unfavorable encounters with park managers. Park owners and managers in question will also have their say.

Mullen said he would bring recommendations to City Council by Feb. 20.

Three years ago mobile home owners faced the possibility of rent decontrol that would nullify city laws that protect homeowners from unregulated space rent increases. Proposition E was put on the June 2012 ballot to do away with rent control, and was defeated.

Walshaw said problems with management at many of the 17 mobile home parks have been consistent since the proposition failed.

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