Mobilehome owners want rent rebate

Point Dume Club mobilehome owners, who have been negotiating to buy the mobilehome park, are asking for a rent rebate from the park owners.

About two-thirds of the park’s tenants have filed an application for a Mobilehome Space Rent Adjustment with the city of Malibu. If the application is accepted by the city as complete, the Mobilehome Rent Stabilization Commission will hear the petition at a date yet to be determined.

The 175 tenants, who own their coaches and rent spaces from the park owners, Pt. Dume, Ltd., a limited partnership of which Marblehead Land Co. is a general partner, say rents were collected that were to have been used for normal repair and maintenance but were not expended for such.

“This application is totally without merit, and the owner believes it was filed for an ulterior purpose,” said Tom Gibbs, an Orange County attorney who represents the park owners, inferring the rebate request was filed to pressure the owners to accept a low purchase offer.

“The tenants made another request in December 1998 that was rejected by the city and was not referred to the Rent Stabilization Commission,” Gibbs said.

The mobilehome owners formed the Point Dume Club of Malibu Acquisition Association, Inc. (PDCMAAI) with Geoff Ortiz as its chair.

Ortiz said more than 18 months ago the association presented the park owners with a written offer of about $34 million. “We requested that they respond in writing, which they never did. Negotiations have been dormant since then.”

The matter of infrastructure was addressed in the original offer, Ortiz said. “We made an allowance of $2 million, pending review by an appraiser and engineers, for maintenance needs. They acknowledged that the park needed maintenance. This is not new.”

A prepared statement issued by Pt. Dume, Ltd. Tuesday states, “As its name manifests, the Acquisition Corporation was organized to negotiate the residents’ purchase of the park. After the owner did not agree to the corporation’s low-price offer, the corporation asserted alleged reduction of services and filed the rent reduction application. Thus, not only is the application completely without merit, it was filed for the purpose of attempting to coerce the owner to agree to a low price for the sale of the park. The owner intends to fully oppose the application, and believes that the application should not and will not be successful.”

“It’s unthinkable that they could say that. It’s just not the case,” Ortiz said. “We are not just about acquisition. In our articles of incorporation, it says our primary objectives are to maintain affordability of spaces and to negotiate with owners on any issues that affect the quality of life in the park.”

Ortiz added the organization’s board of directors has voted to change the name to Point Dume Club of Malibu Homeowners Association, pending vote of the full membership.

Of the 297 spaces at Point Dume Club, at least five mobilehomes belong to the park owners themselves. Of the remaining tenants who did not sign on to the request, Ortiz said, “Some of the tenants were taking a wait-and-see attitude, and we’ve actually had one who said they don’t want to join the action. If the commission were to decide the owners had to pay the rebate, those owners would not be included.”

Among the complaints listed in the request are numerous power outages caused by faulty electrical wiring, roads that need repaving, the residents who used the Jacuzzi complained of electrical shocks, the floor in the clubhouse has been damaged by water seeping in and the back gate continually gets stuck open and needs repair.

Ortiz allowed that some repairs have been made, including repairs to the Jacuzzi; the front gate was recently replaced; the clubhouse roof had been replaced about eight years ago.

At a meeting in November 1998, the park owner’s engineering consultant Michael Vignieri said they were planning new gas lines, new electrical and possibly new water lines, and that they envisioned starting work in February.

“When we saw no work starting, we requested a meeting with the owners, and again in April, to have their representative meet with us,” Ortiz said.

“The result was a letter from the owners’ representative, Hunt Dallas, saying he didn’t recognize the acquisition association as representing homeowners on maintenance issues, and since no offers were pending, he refused to meet with us,” Ortiz said. “He said he would prefer to meet with the Pt. Dume Club of Malibu Residents Association, a dues-paying organization of homeowners and renters.”

The city has 21 days to review the application and to notify the applicant. If the application is deemed complete, the city will schedule a public hearing with the Mobilehome Rent Stabilization Commission no sooner than 20 days and no later than 40 days from the date of completeness.

City Manager Harry Peacock said the document arrived at City Hall late last week but he had not had a chance to review it. Sandra Stafford, who chairs the Mobilehome Rent Stabilization Commission, would not have read it either, Peacock said.

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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