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(A) The conditions which caused the city to adopt previous ordinances of the municipal code regulating rent increased for spaces in mobile home parks continue to exist. Mobile home owners, unlike apartment tenants or residents of other rental stock, are in the unique position of having made a substantial investment in a mobile home for which they must rent a space in a mobile home park. Many have also made investments in landscaping and exterior improvements to the mobile home and the rental space on which it is located. Alternative sites for the relocation of mobile homes are difficult to find due to the shortage of vacant spaces, the restriction on the age, size or style of mobile homes permitted in many parks and requirements related to the installa-tion of mobile homes, including permits, landscaping and site preparation. Thus, if mobile home owners are unable to pay the rent, or relocate for other reasons, they must sell their homes. Excessive rents or uncertainty as to the rent impairs the ability to sell a mobile home and recover the investment, as well as fair return on the homeowner's investment, in the mobile home. At the present time, the cost of moving a mobile home is $10,000 or more and the risk of damage in moving is significant. Typically, mobile homes may not be moved more than once in their lifetime. The creation of mobile home parks and mobile home park spaces require approvals and permits by local government. Neither the city nor any other local political entities in the county have approved the creation of any new mobile home parks or a substantial number of new spaces in many years. In fact, since 1985 a number of mobile home parks in the county have closed, resulting in a dwindling number of mobile home park spaces in the county available for rent. The result of these conditions is the creation of a captive market of mobile home owners and tenants. Consequently, the rental of spaces by mobile home park owners to mobile home residents is a noncompetitive business venture in which, in the absence of price regulation, price gouging is likely to and has occurred. Also, the immobility of mobile homes and the shortage of spaces, in turn, contributes to the imbalance in the bargaining relationship between park owners and mobile home park tenants. Because mobile homes are often owned by senior citizens, persons on fixed incomes, and persons of low and moderate income, exorbitant rent increases fall upon these individuals with particular harshness.
(B) It is the purpose of this subchapter to protect residents of mobile home parks from excessive rent increases, to regulate the size of an allowable space rent increase upon the vacation, either by sale or otherwise, of a resident from a mobile home space in a park, while at the same time providing a just and reasonable return to park owners.
(C) Previous ordinances enacted by the City Council have not been sufficiently protective in terms of the conditions described above. This has resulted in a lack of uniformity in terms of space rent increases as between mobile home parks, lack of a clear standard in determining fair return to the park owner, and price gouging on increasing rents when a resident vacates the space by sale or otherwise.
('81 Code, § 8.48.010)