George Kennedy, District Attorney

Kenneth Rosenblatt, Deputy District Attorney
Economic Crimes Group
(408) 792-2572   For Release on January 6, 2004     DEFENDANTS PAY LANDMARK JUDGMENT IN MOBILE HOME RENT CONTROL CASE;
  Santa Clara County District Attorney George Kennedy today announced that following their unsuccessful appeals to higher courts, the owners of two mobile home parks have begun paying restitution and civil penalties awarded by a Superior Court judge after a trial here three years ago. The final judgment, including restitution, civil penalties, and interest, totals $1.69 million.   Defendants San Jose Investments and Beaumont Investments operate the Casa del Lago and Lamplighter mobile home parks in San Jose. The Superior Court found that defendants violated the San Jose mobile home rent control ordinance from 1987 to the 2000 by employing a “straw-man” scheme involving two local dealers, United Mobilehomes and New Horizon Mobile Home Sales. The dealers would sign long-term leases which the defendants claimed were exempt from the ordinance. Defendants required the dealers’ customers to sign long-term leases despite provisions of the ordinance requiring park owners to offer new tenants month-to-month, rent-controlled agreements. Those long-term leases permitted much higher rent increases than authorized under the ordinance. The resulting skyrocketing rents drove many tenants from their mobile homes. The court found the long-term leases to be illegal. Defendants failed in their appeals to the District Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court. The published appellate decision in the case refines current law and will serve as valuable precedent in consumer protection cases.    Defendants must continue to reduce rents on 82 spaces in Casa del Lago and Lamplighter to levels which could have been charged under rent control, saving tenants from being priced out of their homes. Tenants are now receiving checks totaling over $960,000 in restitution; defendants must also pay an additional $735,000 in civil penalties to the County of Santa Clara.     ###

©2023 County of Santa Clara. All rights reserved.