December 6, 2010 was the date of the initial City of Thousand Oaks Rent Adjustment Commission public hearing to address the application of Andrew V. Hohn and A.V.M.G.H., LLC to increase the monthly space rent at the Ranch Mobile Home Park (2193 Los Feliz Drive) from an average of $132 per month to an average of $719 per month. An increase of $587.45 per month, or roughly 445%.
The first hearing started at 6 p.m. and lasted until around 11 p.m. at which point the Commission determined it would not be feasible to attempt to finish it up that night. So the hearing was continued to next Monday, January 24th. I sat through that initial hearing and frankly, at this point, it has become a blur.
The City prepared an analysis with the help of outside experts and recommended that an increase of $192/month be allowed, phased in over a 5 year period.
It is the job of the Rent Adjustment Commission to review the work of the City, testimony of the experts and questions/answers from the owner's attorneys and experts as well as the pro bono attorney of the tenants. I would anticipate another long night.
For more information and all the details about the hearing, visit http://toaks.org/government/agendas_minutes/agendas/rent_adjustment_commission.asp.
Most of the 72 elderly, low income Ranch tenants will likely be present at this hearing. Many of these tenants submitted letters to the city. Here is one of the handwritten letters:
Re: Ranch Mobile Home Park - Notice of Request for Rent Increase
Dear Mr. Watson:
This letter is in response to the October 8, 2010 City of Thousand Oaks Notice of Hearing regarding a request for rent increase of $587.95/month at Ranch Mobile Home Park. We are very concerned regarding this proposed significant rent increase, which will bring severe hardship on us.
We are 92 and 96 years of age and have resided at Ranch Mobile Home Park for over 19 years. We purchased our mobile home with the understanding that Ranch was a low-income park for seniors and would remain so.
Frank worked his entire life manufacturing truck tires during the war 12-hour shifts and Alfreda worked as a church secretary and insurance administrative assistant. We grew up during the Depression and throughout adulthood continued to live very frugally, forgoing vacations, dining out and entertainment and sharing our car. Despite relatively low wage employment, our frugal lifestyle has allowed us to save for our basic needs during our retirement.
However, this proposed significant rent increase is more than we can possibly afford, no matter how much we scrimp. Our only source of income is Social Security and my modest pension from the tire factory. Our health is poor and we struggle with numerous medical conditions, which require expensive medication co-pays. Our medical insurance alone runs over $700/month.
The proposed rent increase will cause us severe hardship. We would like to live out our few remaining years with dignity, with the ability to afford the basic necessities of lodging, food and adequate medical care. But this rent increase would make that impossible for us. We are unable to sleep with worry about what will happen to us if this proposed rent increase occurs.
Please consider allowing us our basic needs in the sunset of our lives and deny the proposed rent increase for our senior citizens mobile home park.