Imperial Beach

Imperial Beach RV Park Tenants Fear They're ‘On Brink of Homelessness' As Park owner Pushes for Rent Increases

"We would all be on the brink of homelessness, and I think we are like one step away from that," said Miramar RV Park tenant Juan Nevarez

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Tenants of an Imperial Beach RV park are worried they'll soon be forced out now that a new ownership company is trying to raise their rent and charge additional fees.

"We would all be in the brink of homelessness, and I think we are like one step away from that," said Juan Nevarez, tenant of the Miramar RV Park on Palm Avenue.

Nevarez has called the park home for the last decade, but problems are festering. The property was recently acquired by new ownership and among the complaints by residents are $300 to $500 rent increases, extra fees, sewer line and trash not being collected.

Earlier this month, the Imperial Beach City Council enacted an emergency ordinance designed to protect tenants of trailer parks. The ordinance keeps landlords from increasing rent beyond a certain percentage, and also state that property owners cannot reduce or eliminate housing services such as parking, fail to perform repairs or refuse lawful rent payments.

When asked where he would go if evicted, Nevarez responded, "Probably the streets."

Because there's no other place in San Diego County where the prices are affordable, other places where they can take your RV, they want an RV from certain years up," said Nevarez.

For now, Nevarez's eviction notice has been put on pause thanks to Imperial Beach's emergency ordinance.

Problems for Consuelo Villalpando began over the summer when her brother passed away and the new owners told her she could no longer rent there. Similar to Nevarez she says she was paying her rent, but the company refused to accept her payments and served her an eviction notice.

"I was paying the rent on time on the first, and they were returning my money. They have returned my money in July, August, September, October so I still have my money orders that they keep saying you don’t belong and I have receipts, I have a contract," Villalpando said. "First it was my brother, then my eviction, now it's what? Am I staying, am I not staying? What's going to happen? They’re playing with our lives here and the only thing we're trying to do is survive."

Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina has become vocal about his opposition to the RV park’s actions.

"This is the problem when you have trailer parks and apartment buildings and rental properties being used as a profit center by people who really don't care about other people and that's what's happening here, and it's really a shame," Mayor Dedina said.

Dedina says the city tried everything it could before any kind of eviction moratorium was passed. But, now tenants and the Mayor are looking for long-term solutions

"Governments need to catch up and make sure that we put protections in place like we have done temporarily to stop these out-of-state slumlords from ruining the lives of our most vulnerable residents," Mayor Dedina.

The RV park owner, Miramar Imperial Beach LLC, told NBC 7 and Telemundo 20 they had no comment in response to the tenants' complaints.

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