Yee v. Escondido, 503 U.S. 519, 6 (1992)

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524

YEE v. ESCONDIDO

Opinion of the Court

In 1978, California enacted its Mobilehome Residency Law, Cal. Civ. Code Ann. 798 (West 1982 and Supp. 1991). The legislature found "that, because of the high cost of moving mobilehomes, the potential for damage resulting therefrom, the requirements relating to the installation of mobilehomes, and the cost of landscaping or lot preparation, it is necessary that the owners of mobilehomes occupied within mobilehome parks be provided with the unique protection from actual or constructive eviction afforded by the provisions of this chapter." 798.55(a).

The Mobilehome Residency Law limits the bases upon which a park owner may terminate a mobile home owner's tenancy. These include the nonpayment of rent, the mobile home owner's violation of law or park rules, and the park owner's desire to change the use of his land. 798.56. While a rental agreement is in effect, however, the park owner generally may not require the removal of a mobile home when it is sold. 798.73. The park owner may neither charge a transfer fee for the sale, 798.72, nor disapprove of the purchaser, provided that the purchaser has the ability to pay the rent, 798.74. The Mobilehome Residency Law contains a number of other detailed provisions, but none limit the rent the park owner may charge.

In the wake of the Mobilehome Residency Law, various communities in California adopted mobile home rent control ordinances. See Hirsch & Hirsch, supra, at 408-411. The voters of Escondido did the same in 1988 by approving Proposition K, the rent control ordinance challenged here. The ordinance sets rents back to their 1986 levels and prohibits rent increases without the approval of the city council. Park owners may apply to the council for rent increases at any time. The council must approve any increases it determines to be "just, fair and reasonable," after considering the following nonexclusive list of factors: (1) changes in the Consumer Price Index; (2) the rent charged for comparable mobile home pads in Escondido; (3) the length of time since

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