PETALUMA, Calif. - At the Youngstown Mobile Home Park for seniors in Petaluma, there is anger and a lot of worry.
Donna Rose Brady and the other hundred or so seniors who live here recently got a notice from the new owners of the park that the rent is going up about $300 a month. That's a more than 40% increase.
People there are on fixed incomes.
For Brady, her Social Security check wouldn't cover the new rent.
"I live down to the penny. How many people turn in cans and bottles in an electric car," says Brady. "They see me every day charging the car just to turn in cans and bottles to get $5. Then I go to the Dollar Store and buy toilet paper. That's my life. Nobody would live like me."
The owners, Three Pillar Communities, did not return our messages.
But the notice the residents received said quote: "The requested rent increase is necessary to assure the park earns the constitutionally minimum "fair return."
"It's an outrageous fee," says longtime resident Mary Ruppenthal.
But her neighbors are fighting back.
They will be challenging the increase in an upcoming arbitration hearing set for next month.
"We heard many heart-wrenching stories. They're fearful of becoming homeless," said Ruppenthal.
Under a city ordinance, rent increases are tied to the consumer price index and not more than 6%. An increase as high as the one being proposed must go to arbitration.
If either side rejects the arbitration results they do have the option of settling all this in court.
"We are just seniors. We are just trying to live a nice quiet retirement life without having a lot of harassment. And this feels like harassment," says Ruppenthal.