Seniors face rent hike year after year, stretching their fixed income

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) - Seniors are frustrated after years of rent hikes, forcing them to stretch their fixed income.

The Escondido City Council is slated to vote on the proposed rent increase for Carefree Ranch, a senior mobile home community, on Wednesday.

The agenda packet says the average rent per month for 70 fixed income tenants is $517.94. This year's proposed increase would add $10.70 each month.

Last year the council approved a $7.41 hike. In 2013 they approved a hike of $5.50. Neighborhood representative Wayne Louth says this has been happening since the Mobile Home Rent Control Ordinance changed in 1988, allowing rent to increase in accordance with the Consumer Price Index, if approved by an elected board. That board is the Escondido City Council.

In the council agenda, it states: "This is the twenty-second rent increase request filed by this Park since the Ordinance was implemented."

The owner justifies the increase partially by the improvements that have been made:

"The Park is currently renovating the clubhouse and removing two unused sheds. At the end of August 2018, streets will be resurfaced and slurry sealed. Since their last rent increase, the Park has completed CPUC conversion of gas and electric, some of this scheduled roadwork is related to this conversion."

-Escondido City Council Agenda

Wayne Louth raised his voice as volunteer Resident Representative of Carefree Ranch, asking for a break.

"I'm worried about the grey coach, the family there, they're on a budget a small income," he said about his neighbor, then pointing to another trailer, "She rarely gets out, we used to bring her a dish after potluck."

During the resident discussion, renters opposed the increase, concerned about their income and raising other concerns they say management is not taking care of.

"Resident discussion focused on management issues including; appearance of the grass in common areas, timeline for the completion of the clubhouse remodel, trash overflowing due to inconsistent pick-up times on Mondays, street resurfacing, and proposed improvements to the shuffle board court."

-Escondido City Council Agenda

Louth says he's begged the city council to consider the resident's financial difficulty created with these increases, but says each year the rate hike is adopted, "Everybody understands that you can't, you can't beat this," he said. 

He's now asking the city council this way, "You could set Proposition K or rewrite Proposition K where they can reduce it if they find fault... Instead of $7, make it a $3 increase."

10News reached out to the owner multiple times but has not heard back.

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