Tomorrow is the day of reckoning for residents of the Thunderbird Oaks Mobile Home Park in Thousand Oaks. The Thousand Oaks Rent Adjustment Commission is holding a public hearing starting at 6 p.m. to address whether the owner of Thunderbird Oaks should be granted a requested rent increase of $260.62 per space, a 66% increase over current average rents at the park.
Much has been previously written about this issue, beginning with a CVG article on August 22nd and followed by multiple VC Star and T.O. Acorn articles. CLICK HERE for details.
Park owners originally requested a rent increase of $322.52 per space in June 2010. But subsequently in October filed a new application reducing the increase to $260.62 per space. The City of Thousand Oaks has hired experts to review the application and the owner's assumptions and has issued a report recommending a rent increase not to exceed $65 per space per month, phased in over a two-year period.
This $195 difference between the owner's requested rent increase and the City's recommended increase will no doubt provide for a long night tomorrow night, if the owner's other rent increase hearing for the Ranch Mobile Home Park is any indication. That hearing on December 6th (to be continued at 4 p.m. on January 24th) started at 6 p.m. and ended at 11 p.m.
There are currently 1,058 mobile home spaces in Thousand Oaks, and after the Conejo Mobile Home Park is closed (soon), there will be 1009 spaces. Thunderbird Oaks and Ranch Mobile Home Parks, owned by the same owner, represent nearly a quarter of the mobile home park spaces available in the City. Thunderbird is designated for seniors and Ranch is designated for low income seniors. Ranch's proposed rent increase is nearly 500%. The lives of hundreds of local senior citizens are at stake in these hearings.
Residents of Thunderbird have submitted several hundred pages of letters to the City voicing concern over the proposed rent increase. See Thunderbird Oaks Case 7A - Attachment 4 at http://ci.thousand-oaks.ca.us/government/agendas_minutes/agendas/rent_adjustment_commission.asp.
Here is one letter that was handwritten:
"I am 86 yrs old WWII vet. My name is ____ and live in the Thunderbird Oaks Mobile Home Park. Have lived here 5 yrs. Used to live in T.O. yrs ago and moved to Lancaster because my wife was transferred to the B-2 Plant. I was retired but then went to work on the B-2 for about a yr also. I had worked for General Dynamics. When we moved here with a new double wide mobile home I asked what the rent had gone up in previous yrs and was told, and we said that was ok. My wife passed away last yr. We planned on just living our last yrs on our fixed income. If I had known it was going to double we would never have moved in. I can't go out now and get another job, my stepsons are married and don't have room or want me. I would have to live under a bridge if the rent is doubled (CJ note: the original proposed increase nearly doubles some rents). Please help me and my neighbors and don't raise the rent double. We have worked hard all our lives but this would devastate us."