SAN DIEGO — A mobile home park once owned by the City of San Diego, has just been sold to a private company.
The city council approved that sale on Monday. The Rancho Del Rio Estates mobile home park is a 23-acre site located in San Ysidro with 130 homes.
In the two decades Luis Flores has lived there, not much has changed, and he's hopeful it stays that way.
"I believe it's gonna be beneficiary for us," said Flores.
Last week, Flores and his neighbors received a letter letting them know that the company currently leases and manages the 23 acre property, JSP Rancho Del Rio, is buying it from the City of San Diego for just over $8 million.
The city's Public Utilities Department has owned the land since the 1960's.
In the letter, JSP Rancho Del Rio said the following statement:
"Dear Residents: On behalf of JSP Rancho Del Rio, LP dba Rancho Del Rio Estates, we are writing to you today with some exciting news. Under the lease with the City of San Diego, Rancho Del Rio has held the first right to purchase the land from the city. The city has determined that the land is no longer needed, and under the terms of the lease we have decided to move forward on the acquisition of the property. We do this, in part, to help protect against significant and ongoing rent increases that would result from continued city ownership. The reason for that is that the city rules require “market rate” rent to be charged for utility owned property, regardless of what the present use is. Given the significant upward pressure on land values and leases, increases from the city to us, as the owners, have been indicated and would need to be passed on, which we felt was inconsistent with our company’s mission and our commitment to you. What does this mean to you? It means you will see no changes to how we currently operate or how you live. JSP Rancho Del Rio, LP will continue to operate the property as it has, just as the landowner, rather than the leaseholder. The terms with the city include significant protections for you, which include:
• The property is not being redeveloped, so no one has to move
• The affordable rental units will have their rent protections extended for a full 55-years
• Rent for the market rate homeowner units is capped at no more than 5% in any 12-month period of time (there is no cap now)
• The open space adjacent to the park will continue to be open space
• And, the city has a right of first offer to purchase back the property should JSP choose to sell A full list of the relevant terms are below, but we wanted this chance to let you know the sale is moving forward and will be discussed at the July 25, 2022 San Diego City Council meeting. If you would like to listen in on what we think is an exciting and important change to protect our residents, you can do so in person or on-line. Information about how to join and participate in City Council meetings is available at: https://www.sandiego.gov/city-clerk/officialdocs/participate-council-meetings Here is a more comprehensive list of terms which become effective when JSP Rancho Del Rio LP acquires the property: • Residents are NOT required to move as a result of the sale. The property is not being redeveloped.
• The mobile home park will continue to be managed by JSP Rancho Del Rio LP.
• The adjacent open space area, located on the west side of the mobile home park, will remain undeveloped.
• The City will perform a survey to determine if there are any encroachments over the City’s existing sewer easement. If there are encroachments, City reserves right to remove encroachments, if needed, in the future, but only in limited circumstances.
• The City has a Right of First Offer to acquire the Property if JSP decides to sell it within 55- years.
• 38 affordable rental units will continue to be restricted to Qualifying Households with a household income equal to or less than thirty percent of eighty percent (80%) and 1 affordable rental unit at thirty percent of sixty percent (60%) of the then current CTCAC Area Median Income, including Utilities Allowance, adjusted for family size appropriate for the Dwelling Unit, as published by from time to time by CTCAC. The affordability covenant will extend to 55-years once the sale of the property closes.
• Rent for Affordable Units may be increased only once in any twelve (12) month period, based on changes in Area Median Income or CTCAC Area Median Income. It should be reiterated that if the land is not sold to JSP, and continues to be under lease with the city there is NO CAP on rent increases for market rate renters.
• Rents for market rate spaces may not be increased in any twelve (12) month period by more than CPI plus three percent (3%) with an aggregate increase not to exceed five percent (5%) of the rent paid by such tenants that only lease a mobile home space for the immediately preceding twelve (12) months.
• The cap on annual rental rate increases shall not apply to any direct passthrough of the actual and reasonable cost of major Capital Improvements in excess of $50,000 amortized over the life of such Capital Improvements by Owner to the tenants who only lease a mobile home space. This pass through is only allowed to the extent the Capital Improvements are reasonably required to maintain the Property in good condition and repair. However, in no event shall Capital Improvements be passed through that exceed $40 per month.
• Pass throughs of Capital Improvements that cumulatively exceed $100,000 shall not occur more than once every five years and must be supported by a property condition assessment by an unaffiliated thirty party professional engineer to justify that the expenses are reasonable and necessary.
• Capital improvement expenses shall not be passed through to Qualifying Households occupying the Affordable Units."
"Relief. It's a relief because right now, the economy is kind of hard for us. Hopefully, it stays like that for us," said resident, Ruby Grijalba.
It's also a relief given what's happened to other city-owned mobile home parks in the past.
People who used to live at De Anza Cove along mission bay were forced out years ago after the master lease expired.
As for this property, District 8 councilmember Vivian Moreno tells CBS 8:
“I am pleased to bring forward this item involving the preservation of affordable housing at Rancho Del Rio mobile home park. The only way to avoid a massive increase is through this purchase and sale agreement which ensures that all residents can continue to afford to live there for decades to come. This agreement will give the residents of Rancho Del Rio the highest level of protection of any mobile home park in the City of San Diego.”
Meanwhile, Jackson Square Properties, which owns JSP Rancho Del Rio said the following statement:
“Jackson Square Properties, Rancho Del Rio has enjoyed a long relationship with the City. Unfortunately, due to city rules on leasehold land that mandate frequent appraisals and market rate rent increases, regardless of the use and impacts, it became increasingly more apparent that the impact would negatively affect the residents of the property. As a mobile home park, the property essentially provides naturally occurring affordable housing, we felt it appropriate to exercise the option in our lease with the city to acquire the property. It should be noted that this is a remnant property deemed no longer necessary by the city. By acquiring the property, the city gets a significant cash payment, appraised at full market value, and the residents get more confidence and certainty that rents won’t skyrocket. In working with the city and its Department of Real Estate Assets and Airport Management, we were also pleased to extend the affordability covenant for those homes to 55 years, as well as cap rent increases to no more than 5% and their frequency to further protect residents. The acquisition means that there will be no change for the tenants, which we believe will be a welcome relief. In short, we believe this is a win-win for the city and the tenants and we look forward to the council’s consideration and approval on Monday.”
WATCH RELATED: De Anza Cove’s environmental cleanup takes big step forward (July 2022)