Some Tahoe Vista renters concerned over cost, services
TAHOE VISTA “-Owners, managers and renters of the Tahoe Vista Mobile Estates Trailer Park addressed concerns about snow removal, tree maintenance, property management and rental rates at a meeting held last week.
The meeting at the North Tahoe Family Resource Center came after the residents of the mobile home park at 501 Gun Club in Tahoe Vista drafted a letter to the owner Chris Welsh and property manager Rob Kenner.
“We are trying to give the community a real place where they can go for answers,” said David Escobar, a mobile home resident who helped organize the group of 30 to 35 residents and the meeting.
One item, rental rates, caused disagreement between residents and management.
Base rent at the mobile home park is between $460 and $480, Kenner said. Resident Cristina Martinez said she has seen rent increase by almost $200 since 2004.
“At this time people are without jobs,” according to the letter. “Homes are devalued and our rent is still increasing even as other places are decreasing.”
Welsh said the rents were still affordable and competitive and that tenants are noticed 90 days before an increase in rent will come into effect.
“We have some of the lowest cost living situations in Tahoe,” Kenner said. “I don’t think there’s a renter out there who wouldn’t prefer to pay less.”
Utility bills were also a point of contention. In addition to rent, tenants pay about $130 for trash, water and sewage, according to Kenner’s calculations. The total bill for water and sewage for the property runs about $12,000, Kenner and Welsh said.
“We manage about 60 properties including some in South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe Vista is the most expensive,” Kenner said.
“Tahoe is a very expensive place to do business,” he said. “Everything cost more and it’s a challenging environment.”
Residents have asked to see the water, sewage and trash bills to confirm they are being charged fairly, Escobar said.
“It sounds crazy,” he said.
One of the main issues addressed at the meeting and in the letter was snow removal on the property.
“We need a bigger snow remover,” the residents wrote in the letter that was translated from Spanish to English. “We do not want big piles of snow sitting in front of our mobile homes. After they plow the snow they need to put salt or sand in the street; otherwise people might fall and fracture a bone.”
Snow removal is an issue that can be addressed in the future, Welsh said. Options include placing a plow attachment on a large truck already located on the property.
Residents were also concerned with tree maintenance.
“There are old trees that need to be cut that are close to mobile homes and put everyone at risk,” according to the letter.
Welsh said he would look into tree removal with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and fire officials.
“If we can get the OK from the authorities we are happy to do it,” Welsh said. “It’s been challenging to remove trees in the past because of regulations.”
Residents asked for individual trash collection instead of trash being compiled into large Dumpsters.
Separate trash bills might not be possible, but Welsh said he would look into it.
“In my past dealings with trash collectors they’re not too excited about the idea of going door to door to collect trash,” he said.
Another issue of contention was the consistency of the onsite property manager. Although residents said in the letter and in interviews that they were unhappy with the onsite property manager’s performance, Welsh said he thought the situation was properly handled.
“When the manager leaves for vacation he does not leave anyone in charge to resolve issues or problems,” the letter said.
Welsh said in addition to the onsite property manager, residents can contact himself or Kenner about any issues. He also encouraged tenants to e-mail him with concerns that are not addressed in a timely manner.
“If there is something they are dissatisfied with they need to contact me directly,” he said.
Despite disagreements both Escobar and Welsh said they felt like the meeting will help future progress.
“The meeting was a good place to start,” Welsh said. “We had a suggestion for where to go with each issue.”
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