Homeowners complain about alleged "rent control" violations in Rancho Mirage

Homeowners file petitions at city hall

Rancho Mirage homeowners complain about alleged rent control violations

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - A couple who lives in "The Colony" in Rancho Mirage says the place was once "the jewel" of all mobile home communities in the Coachella Valley.

Now, they says it's quickly becoming an "over-priced trailer park". 

The community off Gerald Ford Drive and International is owned and managed by Chicago-based Hometown America Communities. 

But, some who live in the complex say it's "not so homey" anymore.

"I really feel angry, very angry that they just can't do the right thing," said homeowner Carol Mulvihill.

Mulvihill and her husband Darrell purchased their home in 2011.  

But, the retirees say, over the past eleven years, fees for renting spaces at the park have gone from an averge of $269 a month, to an average of $710 a month, annual rate increases they say violate the city's rent control ordinance, approved by Rancho Mirge voters in 1982.

"I can't imagine how or why a corporation would be so greedy to do that," said Mulvihill.

The retired corporate banker, and her neighbors also accuse Hometown America Communities of failing to properly maintain "The Colony".

Roads, she says are not being properly maintained.  She cites problems with drainage and plumbing, along with mainteance issues with the clubhouse, waterfalls, and whirlpool, and she says "The Colony" is not compliant with the American's with Disabilities Act. 

"I will pursue them with every ounce i got until we get this thing straightened out," said Mulvihill.

Tuesday morning, Mulvihill, along with others who live in "The Colony" filed petitions from 37 homeowners with the city of Rancho Mirage, seeking "rent reduction", and "restoration of services and amenites", which they say Hometown America Communities is no longer providing.

Muvlihill says eventually, people who live in the community plan to file updwards of 220 petitions with the city.

That's one petition for each home in the community.

In response, Caitlin Donahue, a public relations representative for Hometown America Communities provided this written statement: 

"We have not had a chance to review the petitions submitted to the city, but we take all feedback from our residents very seriously. It is in our best interest to ensure our residents are happy and that our community continues to be well maintained." 

The Director of Marketing for the city of Rancho Mirage says the city can't offcially comment on the peitions while they are being reviewed. 

Eventually, the homeowners could take their concerns to the city's Mobile Home Fair Practices Commission for a hearing.

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