process for the new permit applications to convert mobile
home parks to another use.
“We proposed some additional general plan language to
enhance the protection for current park residents,” she says.
“We want San Jose to strengthen its policies to preserve
Finally, in August 2015, the City Council voted to approve
a six-month moratorium that suspends the closing of mobile
home parks and selling the land to developers for other uses.
“Right now, we have to go back to the council with a proposal, do public engagement, and they want us to extend
the moratorium through August 2017,” says Nusbaum.
Because land costs are rising so quickly in San Jose, landlords
could technically raise rents to astronomical amounts. However, there are rent controls that don’t allow the landlords to
raise rent costs. For manufactured housing owners in San
Jose, “it’s hard to replicate the affordability of housing costs
in our area,” says Cheryl Wessling, public information manager for the City of San Jose, Planning, Building & Code
Enforcement Dept. “The land under manufactured housing
is part of the rent control in our area. Even if space is vacated,
there are regulations. This is a way to create some affordable
housing and preserve what’s affordable now.”
A Major Problem
San Jose is struggling with a problem that’s happening all over the country — preserving manufactured
housing communities, which includes mobile home and
“Manufactured housing is the largest source of unsubsidized
affordable housing in the country,” says Mike Bullard with
ROC USA, a nonprofit social venture to save manufactured
home communities by helping residents purchase them.
ROC stands for Resident Owned Communities.
“A brand new manufactured home probably costs half of
what an equivalent site-built home would cost,” says Ishbel
Dickens, Esq., executive director of the National Manufactured Home Owners Association in Seattle, Wash. “Plus, the
homes built now don’t look much different from a site-built
home. They are energy efficient and attractive.”
We want San Jose to strengthen its
policies to preserve mobile homes.
Manufactured housing is the
largest source of unsubsidized
affordable housing in the country. Photo by Maria Haase, City of San Jose Housing Department
Photos courtesy of ROC USA