SUNNYVALE, Calif. (KRON) — In Sunnyvale, residents living at the Plaza Del Rey mobile home park have grown concerned over rent increases and how that has impacted residents looking to sell their homes.
On Tuesday, residents met with Congressman Ro Khanna, Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein, and other local officials to discuss their concerns, where property management asked members of the media to leave the meeting.
“Well the purpose was to listen to residents who are being mistreated by the landlord,” says Congressman Khanna.
“First of all it’s outrageous that they didn’t allow the press to listen to the residents’ concerns, I’ve never seen a situation like that,” Khanna added.
“If they were negotiating in good faith, why are they concerned with the press listening to what the residents have to say?”
More than half of the residents living at the 95-acre mobile park are seniors and new people looking to rent are being drawn away by high rent prices.
Many residents like Lynn S. tell KRON4 News they moved into the mobile park because it was one of the only affordable housing sites in an already expensive area.
“I lost my family home and I had a little bit of money, this was affordable rent, I assumed affordable housing, so I moved here,”
“I paid $850 when I moved in and now I’m paying $1,320.”
Residents say changes in rent began several years back with the previous property owners and continued by its current owners, Hometown American Communities.
As a result, residents say some have been unable to sell their homes.
“I saw a listing the other day of 630 days that it’s been on the market,“ says Plaza Del Rey resident Jeanne Gonzalez.
“That’s almost two years and if I decide to sell my house, what happens, how long am I going to have to be on there?”
Residents are urging the Sunnyvale City Council to reach an agreement with Hometown American to implement reasonable increases in rent.
Khanna along with Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne recently introduced a housing tenant bill of rights, which aims to protect residents from predatory owners and help keep communities affordable.
“It needs to say, here is what these mobile home parks can do, you can’t have these rent increases of the kind you’ve had, you’ve got to be approving buy or sales.”
Note: KRON4 News reached out to Hometown American Communities for a comment but was not provided with a response in time for the publication of this article.