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Council to close tenant relocation ordinance loophole

Friday, October 28, 2022 by Nina Hernandez

City Council approved a resolution requesting that staff review the tenant relocation ordinance and propose changes ensuring the protections apply to tenants at mobile home parks.

The tenant relocation ordinance, which Council passed in 2016, requires that landlords provide notice about property redevelopment and resources for displaced tenants. Landlords must provide 270 days’ notice to residents of mobile home parks when applying for rezoning.

But the ordinance hasn’t been playing out as intended. Posting on the City Council Message Board, Council Member Vanessa Fuentes pointed out that due to the phrasing of the existing language, landlords can currently avoid triggering the rules by evicting all tenants before submitting a zoning change application.

“My resolution seeks to close this loophole and ensure tenants receive proper notification and the opportunity to access city resources,” Fuentes wrote. “The resolution also seeks to deter developers from redeveloping mobile home sites as luxury RV parks that cater to people coming to the city for short-term stays in an effort to preserve mobile home parks, which are some of the last remaining non-subsidized affordable housing.”

The resolution asks staff to draft an ordinance that will deter the practice of landlords displacing tenants before the start of the application process, require compliance with the ordinance when the property owner conducts unpermitted work, require notification for tenants of alterations or repairs, and require that tenant location requirements apply to any multifamily property with five or more residential units.

The resolution directs staff to develop amendments that preserve mobile home parks as long-term residential uses, “such as increasing the minimum number of days for residential stays.” It also directs the city manager to create an online list of properties that have submitted an application that would be subject to the ordinance so that tenants who meet the criteria may apply for relocation assistance.

The resolution asks staff to return with the proposed amendments by April 2023.

This isn’t the first time Council has tweaked the ordinance language. In 2021, Council Member Chito Vela sponsored an amendment to the ordinance language to clarify that it applied to those displaced by remodeling, renovation and repairs, as well as demolition. Some property owners misinterpreted the original language as applying to only demolition cases.

Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

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