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By Allison Jarrell

Following the denial of a $403 proposed rent increase in October, attorneys representing Richard Worley, the owner of El Nido Mobile Estates, filed a lawsuit on Nov. 30 claiming the city incorrectly interpreted and applied its rent control ordinance and refused to grant El Nido “an appropriate rent increase.”

On Oct. 17, the City Council voted unanimously, with Mayor Pam Patterson absent, to deny the proposed $403 rent increase per month for each unit in El Nido Mobile Estates. Instead, the Council approved a $9.50 increase per month.

The complaint filed by attorney Robert Coldren, representing Worley, names the city of San Juan Capistrano, the City Council and the city’s Housing Advisory Committee as defendants, and requests that a judge invalidate the city’s Oct. 17 resolution, allow the rent increase proposed by Worley, or appoint a new hearing officer to reconsider the rent increase.

This is the second consecutive year that El Nido has sought a rent increase. Last year, Worley sought a $641 increase per unit per month, which was denied by the City Council for not being a “fair and reasonable” increase. The amount was lowered to $37 a month.

The City Council discussed the lawsuit during its Dec. 6 closed session meeting. The city has 30 days after being served to file a response to the suit.

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