In 2002 California Government Code section 66427.5 was amended to address the 2001 El Dorado decision. AB 930 (Keeley, 2002) clarified that the intent of the resident survey language in 66427.5 was to ensure that all mobile home park conversions were “bona fide” and not merely an attempt to avoid local rent control. Unfortunately AB 930 did not specify how one is to determine that a conversion is bona fide (20% resident support? 50% resident support? 75% resident support?) To fill in the gaps left by the state legislators, California cities and counties are enacting ordinances which flesh out what must be contained in the surveys and factors that may be considered in determining whether a conversion is bona fide. Richard Close and the mobile home park owners he represents claim that the resident surveys they are required to submit under California Government Code section 66427.5 are a meaningless formality of the conversion process and cannot be used to deny an application for conversion. They further claim that ANY conditions imposed by city and counties that go beyond a strict interpretation of California Government Code section 66427.5 constitutes an illegal taking of their property. This is is why all county and city ordinances revolve around the resident survey. Because it is the only tool provided by state law that involves direct participation of mobile home residents it has become the battleground for the conversion process. City and county governments, and mobile home park owners all know that if given the choice residents will overwhelmingly choose NOT to convert their parks.

Ventura County Passed Conversion Ordinance:
Ventura County places conditions on how a mobilehome park can be converted. Ventura County’s new law – which aims to give tenants more say – requires a public hearing by the Board of Supervisors if a mobile home park owner is unable to prove that a majority of park residents support conversion. Supervisors can reject an application if that support is not evident. If less than 20% of tenants support a conversion, an owner’s application will be immediately rejected without a hearing. Ventura’s law, which passed 3 to 1 on Tuesday, is patterned after a similar ordinance that Sonoma County supervisors passed last year. View PDF

Further Reading:

Los Angels Times Article 3-21-08
Ventura Star Article 3-19-08