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Homes Not Really Mobile

July 09, 1987

The headline you placed over Patricia Klein's article "Trailer-Park Owners Petition to Abolish Rent Control" (June 11) clearly illustrates one of the misunderstandings which park co-owner Ray Chaikin seeks to exploit in his dispute with Westlake Village.

Trailer parks are places where people live in vehicles (RVs or trailers) which can be towed by passenger cars or light trucks. In such parks, the tenants have the option of hitching up and driving away, and the mechanisms of free competition are fully applicable in setting rents.

In Oak Forest, the "mobile" homes are about as easily movable as houses built fixed on foundations. They require extensive disassembly and must be moved by specially equipped tractors. They are essentially immobile. Ownership of the property is split between the landlord, who owns the land, and the tenant, who owns the improvements. It is not any easier for us to move to escape rent increases than it was for the other homeowners of Westlake Village to move to escape rising property taxes before Proposition 13. In both cases, the "tax collector" has a monopoly position, limited not by free competition but by exercise of the people's governing authority to protect its citizens.

Proposition 13 was endorsed by Westlake Village. Unlimited property taxes were a threat to the residents' property values and ability to keep their homes, despite their reputation for affluence. Unlimited rent increases would be a similar threat to our property values and ability to keep our homes. We sincerely hope that the Westlake voters will see this and will vote to retain control for Oak Forest Mobile Estates.

KARL G. BALKE

Westlake Village

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