To Honorable Senator Connie Leyva,
Thank you for continuing to improve the MRL, and planning this Senate Select Committee on Manufactured Home Communities in Pomona on Saturday. I would like to share my experience and report the following issues to the experts and participants attending the meeting. Maybe my case is an example that will assist in perfecting the MRL.
I am the founder of the 1441 Manufactured-Home Residents Association (MRA1441), a mobilehome community residents‘ organization. One of the MRA1441’s achievements includes contributing to the restoration of the Mobilehome Regulation Ordinance in Los Angeles County by a motion of Supervisor Hahn in 2017, through an appeal to a CUP.
I believe that the constitution is the law of the land, and the civil liberties that many Americans sacrificed blood, sweat, and tears to maintain shall be protected. Carrying this belief, I organized the residents in our mobilehome park under the MRA1441 and led a protest on these issues on May 4, 2013.
In my years serving the mobilehome community, I realized that a retaliatory eviction is a tool that allows park owners to suppress residents’ civil liberties. Our park owner tried to evict my family with an unlawful detainer in 2013 because I organized the MRA1441, and could have suffered unreasonable losses under the MRL. Even as the victims of bad faith retaliation, we still had to pay the costs for that act with Attorney's fees under MRL §798.85! This contributes to the homelessness crisis.
Almost no lawyers are willing to protect Mobilehome residents’ rights because of the loopholes in California’s Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL). A county help hotline attorney, Fred Naka, testified and advised us that residents who exercise their right to free assembly in mobilehome parks will receive retaliatory evictions.
When Rowland Heights Mobile Estates (RHME), our landlord, brought us to court, over 20 residents went to court to support our family. RHME tried to evict us and threw everything at the wall in court to that end. These include frivolous rule violations such as shoe drawers and “excessive use of the clubhouse.” Ultimately, RHME only came away with an order to cooperate with us to improve our awning supports, and add concrete to extend our carport, both of which park initially prohibited.
Despite their failure in evicting us, because of MRL §798.85, RHME was still awarded attorney fees because of this loophole in the MRL found in RHME’s appeal. Fortunately, the trial judge noted that there is “evidence of retaliation against Asian American residents.” Retaliatory eviction is the purpose of an unnecessary unlawful detainer lawsuit against anyone who organizes mobilehome residents.
The MRA1441 reported this to our local senator and representatives at that time, but this contact was fruitless. As the landlord continued its oppressive and retaliatory regime and retaliated against residents who participated in the MRA1441, our family spearheaded a counter-effort against the park when we sued them, without a lawyer, in May 2017. Case No. KC06291.
The case was unreasonably dismissed by the local judge, and the dismissal was upheld by the Court of Appeals (Case no. B284815). The Supreme Court denied review of this case. This case means that the landlord can retaliate against anyone who exercised their rights of free assembly with a bad faith eviction and receive attorney fees for attempting to evict a resident. A combination of MRL §798.85 and §798.56 (right of landlords to evict residents) give park owners incredible leverage to target and suppress residents’ civil liberties. This enlarges the park owner’s power on residents to that of a dictator.
Not only can §798.56 be used to suppress the resident's civil liberties but also force the victim to pay for their act of bad faith retaliation. Now, our family’s bank account has a levy placed by the sheriff of Orange County, and the park raised our space rent by 6% to continuously oppress our family. This rent raise is double that compared to residents that signed a long term lease agreement with RHME, which is a violation of MRL §798.15. These actions by RHME put them in a position to throw another eviction proceeding at our family. From our past experiences, the court system will not solve the problems in the MRL.
Even if there are laws that violate the rights of vulnerable groups, which our family has suffered from this long term battle for our rights, I believe that these problems can be fixed by our combined efforts. Only legislation can solve this issue and is the last hope to maintain the liberty of the nation.
As our government officials and representatives, we need all of you to know what is going on with your people. This knowledge is vital to your duty to support and defend the constitution and protect all people from abuse, discrimination, extortion, oppression, intimidation, and exploitation.
It is serious to me, Mobilehome residents, and to all American people. We need all of you who received this letter, to take action on this issue.
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