Monday, October 12, 2009

Governor Signs Two Tenant Bills, Vetoes Mobilehome Park Resident Bill

In a big victory for tenants, Senator Mark Leno's bill, SB 290, was signed into law by the governor this weekend. The law makes the 60-day notice requirement for no-fault evictions permanent. The 60-day notice requirement has been law for six years, but was scheduled to sunset at the end of this year. The law provides much needed time for tenants who are evicted through no fault of their own to locate new housing. Tenants Together thanks Senator Leno (pictured left) for his continued advocacy for fairness and justice for California renters.

Please note that in the foreclosure context, federal law continues to provide 90-day notice.

In another significant victory, Senator Alan Lowenthal's bill, SB 120, was also signed by the Governor. The bill strengthens tenants' rights against utility shutoffs, especially for tenants in single family homes who have been denied protections that apply to other renters. The law is particularly important for tenants in homes going through foreclosure, as defaulting landlords and banks are notorious for failing to maintain basic utility services for their tenants. To read the new law, click here.

Tenants Together congratulates and thanks Senator Lowenthal for his successful effort to protect tenants from utility shutoffs. And thanks to Assemblymember Alberto Torrico (D-Fremont) who passed similar legislation last year that was vetoed by the governor. Tenants Together also thanks the Western Center on Law & Poverty, a nonprofit organization that sponsored both SB 120 and 290, and worked tirelessly to make sure these measures became law. Finally, we sincerely thank all of you who have supported these bills and who contacted your legislators and the governor to make sure these bills became law.

We will continue to work to make sure no tenant is denied basic utility services. This law is a big step toward that goal.

Unfortunately, the governor vetoed Assemblymember Pedro Nava's bill, AB 566. The bill would have required majority resident approval for mobilehome park conversions. Park conversions undermine rent control, making it particularly crucial that residents have a say in conversions.

According to the Governor's veto message: "While the intent of this bill is to preserve low-income housing, the fact that a majority of mobilehome park residents do not support a conversion is not an appropriate means for determining the legitimacy of a conversion. The law is not intended to allow park residents to block a request to subdivide."

We certainly disagree with the Governor and look forward to working with mobile home residents to oppose unfair conversions of mobile home parks.


  1. Conversions of our Parks is the only way we will be protected in the long term from our Parks being shut down under the Ellis Act. I am not sure what the problem is because anyone truly low income by CA state standards will be protected from substantial increases in space rent. The other folks should buy there spaces and build some real equity.

  2. I Disagree. Conversion WOULD protect us if the lots were affodable.
    If you live in an expensive housing area--(the places the park owners and their attorneys target for "conversion" (really "subdivision") you might have to pay $100,000 - $250,000 for a lot--after paying the same for a mobile home. Who can do this? Most seniors working families who now live affordably in MH parks cannot. So, the effect of conversion is we loose our home equity AND rent control. Such a deal. Fight back!

  3. Schwarzenegger funny thinking is that he is afraid the home owners to block the park owners, but he allows the park owners to block home owners to sell their mobile home by increasing rent unlimitedly and because of ""why buy a home in a park where it could convert to condo's tomorrow." (pdf)

    The park owners lose nothing in any situation, even if they cannot convert to condo. Still, the residents will lose their mobile home sooner or later. Schwarzenegger does not know that the higher the space rent the lower the value of the mobilehome. He mistakenly treat the mobile home owners as tenants who have no property, basically the same as if they were renting an apartment. And when the conversion begins it will disregard the Detrimental Reliance/Estoppels doctrine.

    The mobilehome owners lose their property because they wrongly believe the park owners promise/make them believe that they could rent the space forever or at least a long term. They wrongly believed that they would be compensated for their property if the park owners do not keep their promise.

    In fact, the Schwarzenegger allows the park owners to rob their mobile home property with high rent, unable to sell, and unable to sublease. The mobile home owners lose the hope that they can ask the park owners compensate their property by "requiring a majority of the residents of a mobile home park to demonstrate support for the parks conversion to private ownership."