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Mountain View Mobile Home Alliance

Learn more at the MVMHA website

What is the Mobile Home Alliance? #

It took us six years, but we finally have mobile home rent control! How did the Mountain View Mobile Home Rent Stabilization Ordinance get started? Here’s the story.

In December 2017, SVNA President Trey Bornmann created the Mountain View Mobile Home Alliance (MVMHA), so that residents of all six of the City’s mobile and manufactured home communities could speak with a single voice to the members of the City Council and the Rental Housing Committee (RHC).

Because the SVNA is now defined as a “social organization” and a nonprofit, the MVMHA has become the political voice of Mountain View’s mobile home owners and renters. See the MVMHA website for details.

​The MVMHA includes all six mobile home communities in Mountain View:

  • Santiago Villa
  • Sahara Mobile Village
  • New Frontier Mobile Home Park
  • Sunset Estates Mobile Home Park
  • Moorpark Mobile Home Park
  • Moffett Mobile Home Park

How We Got Mobile Home Rents Stabilized #

In 2016, Mountain View voters passed ballot Measure V, which amended the City Charter to add the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA). Among other things, the CSFRA imposes limitations on a landlord’s abilities to terminate a tenancy and to increase rent.

The passage of Measure V required the formation of a Rental Housing Committee to implement and enforce the CSFRA. But in its early years, a pro-landlord majority of the Committee decided that the CSFRA did not include mobile homes. They made this decision against the advice of their attorneys and in the face of an outcry from the public.

How Mobile Homes Got Added to CSFRA #

Santiago Villa mobile homeowner Tim Larson mounted a legal challenge to the Rental Housing Committee’s decision as a test case, arguing that they did not have the power to make it. He got pro bono assistance with the initial case, mediation, and an appeal–a process that lasted three years–from the law firm of Fenwick and West. But the courts determined that, because of some ambiguity in the language of the CSFRA, that RHC could decide to exclude mobile homes from protection under the Act.

But that decision was welcomed because it cleared the way for the new RHC to reconsider covering mobile homes under the CSFRA. It also allowed the City Council to take up the issue of mobile home rent stabilization, which mobile home activists had been pursuing relentlessly since 2015, and which some current council members had been involved with since 2001. Many council members had explicitly said they were only waiting to act until the legal challenge was resolved. The negative decision of Santa Clara Superior Court put the matter back in City Council’s ballpark.

How the Mobile Home Rent Stabilization Ordinance Got Created #

In March 2021, the City Council finally committed to drafting a mobile home rent stabilization ordinance. The MVMHA provided the City Attorney with a history and examples of more than 100 California ordinances that covered mobile homes, plus information about specific protections the MVMHA supported as critical for an ordinance to succeed in protecting tenants.

On September 14, 2021, City Attorney Krishan Chopra presented a draft of a proposed ordinance to the City Council. On September 15, the Mountain View City Council voted 6-1 to enact rent control for mobile homes.

What is the Status of MHRSO Today? #

After fighting for many years, mobile home residents now have protections against rent hikes and protection from other predatory practices by park owners. Our space rents were rolled back to March 16, 2021, and the annual increases were only allowed to resume on September 1, 2022.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. One of the park owners fought back with an ill-conceived alternative, a Memorandum of Understanding, which would have added an exemption to rent control for one of Mountain View’s parks. But on June 22, 2022, City Council voted to remove exemptions from the Ordinance, and now residents of all six mobile home parks in Mountain View are finally protected by the MHRSO.

What is the Next Step? #

Now we’re fighting for a lower ceiling to rent increases (it’s now 5%). After adding our program to the City’s Housing Element, which was certified by California’s Department of Housing and Community Development on May 26, 2023, we got a commitment from City Council that they will study and amend our Ordinance by March of 2025.

In the interim, we’ve been learning how we might convert our parks to resident-owned communities by getting funding from community land trusts, or other resources that become available from time to time. It’s going to be another significant, long-term struggle - but it will be worth it if we can help our mobile homeowners finally own the space under their homes.