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Rising Rents Take Toll On East Bay Mobile Home Community

SAN LEANDRO (KPIX 5) -- Rent at a San Leandro mobile home park just skyrocketed by nearly 60 percent. Neighbors are hoping that the city can step in and help, but chances for relief are slim.

"It was very stressful to begin with," said tenant John Busch.

Busch, an 81-year-old tenant, is facing eviction after a series of rent increases by the current and former owners of the modest mobile home community in which he lives.

"I grew up in San Leandro, so I'm just fighting this as far as I can," he said.

Busch and his supporters hope his fight will bring attention to all the people who've gotten burned by the Bay Area's red-hot rental market.

RELATED: California Democrats Endorse Rollback Of Rent Control Restrictions

"It's a crime that Californians aren't more upset about this because it's going to change our state forever," said Virginia Madsen, Busch's friend. "People are coming in here as investors, and basically, it's like the new gold rush; they're just pushing people out."

A spokesperson for Harmony Communities--the company that owns the mobile home park--said much of the rent increase came under the previous owner and that Busch had refused an assistance program that would have lowered his rent by $90, as well as a settlement that would have forgiven $6,000 that he still owed.

Busch said that the rental increases are unfair. He hopes that the city leaders will adopt a rent control ordinance.

"The city currently doesn't have a mobile home park or mobile home rental ordinance," stated San Leandro community development director Tom Liao.

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