Rental Fees Rise With New Rancho Villa Ownership, Sparking Concern For Many Residents | Business

An almost immediate 10% increase in rental fees to the prefabricated housing community of Rancho Villa came with the recent announcement of the new property, and together this has raised concerns among many of the residents 55 and over who fear that they may be charged more. from their homes.

Rancho Villa, a quiet neighborhood of about 240 homes here off Dalles Military Road, was sold on July 29 to First Commercial Properties, based in Bothell, Wash., For $ 16.1 million.

Richard Aurili, a tenant of Rancho Villa for the past three years, said he only learned of the purchase through a notice distributed to residents after the sale was finalized. And later, on visiting Rancho Villa’s website to try and find out more, he saw a new monthly rental fee of $ 320. That’s $ 30 more than its current rate.

Aurili expects to see the increase when its annual lease has to be renewed.

“These leases are coming to an end,” he explained, discussing the issue last week with a handful of other Rancho Villa residents sharing his concerns. “Sure, if they advertise bundle rates at $ 320, you have to assume we’ll all pay at least $ 320. It’s still low, but the previous owner told us that there would be no rent increase in 2021. Period. It was his commitment, but he is no longer in that position.

As of this week, the Rancho Villa website no longer lists rental fees. You are now invited to call for pricing.

Neither the Rancho Villa office nor First Commercial Properties would respond to repeated calls, emails and messages.

Aurili suspects that the fees could continue to rise until they reach a point that would force many current residents to relocate.

“If you start to make that 10% increase over 5-6 years worse, you’re in real trouble because Social Security over the last three years has given us almost no increase,” he said. “The demographics here are largely elderly people with limited incomes. If they get to a point where they can’t afford it here, where do they go?

In the meantime, Aurili and her neighbors want to make the public more aware of a possible threat they are facing.

A manufactured home community south of Colorado Springs, Colo. Was reported earlier this week by the Denver Post to have nearly doubled its rental costs thanks to the series of increases over three years since it was purchased by one of the largest such housing companies in the state.

Rancho Villa, an integral part of Walla Walla since its inception in 1964, is now one of 20 Northwestern communities owned by First Commercial Properties.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” Aurili said.

First Commercial Properties, listing Rancho Villa as one of its 55+ communities, says “New homes are coming soon.”

The announcement of a new owner surprised Aurili and everyone he spoke to last week, and it also shocked them.

They cited a state law, RCW 59.20.300, which states that “the notice of sale must include a statement that the owner intends to sell the manufactured / mobile home community.”

They were not made aware of an intention to sell, they all said.

Development is another possibility that scares Aurili.

The door is open for Rancho Villa to be replaced with an apartment complex or other residential structure, he believes, as city staff have said the mobile home parks here in Walla Walla are not located in a specific area.

Parks have been sold and redeveloped into townhouses and apartments across the country, with the Washington State Department of Commerce reporting seven closures last year.

The future of Rancho Villa belongs to First Commercial Properties.

“They seem to have all the cards, and that is what concerns us,” Aurili said. “They might be the nicest people in the world, and nothing will happen. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. I don’t think they’re going to worry about the seniors here who all have limited incomes.

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