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Chico senior mobile home park residents face 10% rent hike, down from 30%

Looking north on Redwood Circle at Pleasant Valley Mobile Estates in Chico, Calif. on Nov. 8, 2023.
Erik Adams
/
NSPR
Looking north on Redwood Circle at Pleasant Valley Mobile Estates in Chico, Calif. on Nov. 8, 2023.

Seniors at Pleasant Valley Mobile Estates had received notices on their doors that their rent would go up 30% in January. But this week, members of the Chico City Council received a letter from the company that owns the park stating a reduction in the proposed increase.

Arizona-based Legacy Communities told the city it now plans to raise rent at the park just 10%.

Since the company bought the park last year, residents have seen two 10% rent increases. That’s not including the 10% hike coming in January

"That’s a lot of money when it goes up every single year and you’re on a fixed income."
- Cyndy Porter, Pleasant Valley Mobile Estates resident

Cyndy Porter lives in Pleasant Valley. She said although the rent increase was reduced, she hopes the upcoming 10% could be lowered further, down to 3%.

“That’s a lot of money when it goes up every single year and you’re on a fixed income,” Porter said.

Legacy said last year’s increases were in the works from the previous owner.

The company said it needs to raise the rent again to cover hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in infrastructure investments – like the remodeled clubhouse, upgrades to the pool and landscaping.

Legacy also cited rising interest rates and insurance costs as additional reasons for rent bumps.

But some residents say they just don’t have that extra money.

“We’re not going to generate more money. We’re not going to go out and go back to work at 90 years old.”
- Kathy Vlach, Pleasant Valley Mobile Estates resident

“We’re not going to generate more money,” Kathy Vlach, another Pleasant Valley resident, said. “We’re not going to go out and go back to work at 90 years old.”

Vlach also said medical expenses and the death of a spouse is more common among those in the park’s demographics, further complicating financial situations for her neighbors.

Along with her neighbor Dave Donnon, Vlach has helped residents of Pleasant Valley get to and from meetings to address the city council about the rent increase.

And showing up isn’t always easy for older folks, she said.

“We’re not 20-year-old young healthy people here,” Vlach said. “It takes a bit to get things going here … But there’s passion in this and we believe in it and it's the right thing to do.”

At this week’s city council meeting, around a dozen residents made their way aboard a small convoy of vehicles to push for rent stabilization for senior living mobile home parks.

As of now, the council has yet to formally address the topic.

Erik began his role as NSPR's Butte County government reporter in September of 2023 as part of UC Berkeley's California Local News Fellowship. He received his bachelor's degree in Journalism from Cal State LA earlier that year.