PENTICTON & DISTRICT MANUFACTURED HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION
P.O. Box 22020, Penticton, BC V2A 8L1
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YEAR END REPORT FOR 2011
There are about 1500 Manufactured Homes in our area, but although our membership is slowly increasing it is still less than half that number. The most obvious reason is that most Parks are well managed with Owners who value their Tenants and follow the rules of the Manufactured Home Tenancy Act. Their Tenants do not see a need to organize for their own protection. Unfortunately there are some Parks whose Owners are always looking for a way to circumvent the protection that the Act provides for Tenants.
The most serious problem that Manufactured Home Owners have faced in the last several years, is the threat of Redevelopment. Since 2006, we have been successful in getting local Governments to pass M.H.P. Redevelopment Policies to give Tenants some protection.
On June 15, 2010 the District of Summerland passed a Manufactured Home Park Redevelopment Policy. This was the final result of a five year effort which concluded Policies with the City of Penticton, Town of Oliver, Town of Osoyoos, Village of Keremeos, and the Okanagan Similkameen Regional District. The Summerland Policy took over a year to complete since our first contact with Council. One Councillor in particular was dead set against giving Homeowners any compensation, and tried to convince his colleagues that these 20 to 30 year old Homes had depreciated to the point that they had little or no value, much like a Used Car. In rebuttal we pointed out to Council that the BC Assessment Authority valued these homes at $50,000 to $80,000 dollars, and the District had been taxing these Homeowners for years based on those assessments. This was sufficient to convince the majority to vote for the policy.
Some reasons why we need Tenant Associations.
1. In May, 30 Tenants of Tradewinds M.H.P. were served with eviction notices stating that their section of the Park was going to be redeveloped. The Tradewinds Tenants Association disputed the evictions on the grounds that they did not conform with the M.H.P. Tenancy Act. The Landlord was claiming that he had all the necessary Municipal development permits in place, which was not true. He subsequently rescinded the eviction notices in July.
2. Hiawatha M.H.P. Kelowna. The Landlord agreed to compensate Tenants with fair assessed value for their Homes when redevelopment takes place. The Tenants were assisted by the City of Kelowna which has a Redevelopment Policy, that says the Landlord must provide a viable relocation plan, but does not specifically address compensation.
3. Lynnwood M.H.P. in Princeton. The Park Manager arbitrarily made the decision that Lynnwood would be a Seniors over 55 Park. The Tenants disputed this change, as their Park is adjacent to an Elementary School, and the change would impact on their ability to sell their homes to young families. The Tenants contacted the out of town Park Owner, and succeeded in convincing him to replace the Manager, who was harassing his Tenants over this and other issues.
4. The Tenants of Pleasant Valley M.H.P. were hit with a proposed 60% rent increase based on the claim that Pleasant Valley rents were lower than the average. The Tenants Association, surveyed other Penticton Parks, and disputed the increase. An arbitrator subsequently reduced the proposed increase to 20.6%.
5. A Tenant in Whitewater M.H.P. became aware that she was being charged for Garbage collection on her City Taxes, in addition to paying for it as part of her rent. She successfully disputed this and was awarded a refund.
6. O-K M.H.P. in Keremeos. Several Tenants complained of unwarranted rent increases, threats of eviction, forced upgrade of a home addition, and ongoing Septic Field backups and leakage. Information was spotty and inconsistent, so our Consultant Bob Cartwright met with the Manager and selected Tenants, and some issues were laid to rest. Bob is available to follow up if the Tenants request it. The Park is mandated to connect to the Village Sewer System by July and this should solve the Sewage problem once and for all.
7. Tradewinds M.H.P. The Landlord applied to increase the rent to $452 for the lowest 12 sites in the Park. The Tenants disputed the increase and the arbitrator ruled that the rent could be increased from $365 to $418.
8. Whitewater M.H.P. With the annual rent increase, the Landlord claimed over $10,000 in increased proportional costs, to be passed on to the Tenants. This will be addressed in greater detail later in the meeting.
9. Summerland Beach Park (formerly Illahie Beach). New Landlord attempted to raise rents and evict some Tenants without following the procedures in the M.H.P. Tenancy Act. When challenged he claimed the Park was only a Campground and not subject to the Act. The Tenants disputed this through the Tenancy Branch and the arbitrator ruled that the Park was a Manufactured Home Park per a 2008 Supreme Court decision made during a previous eviction attempt. Therefore, must conform to the conditions in the Act, and disallowed the eviction notice. Rent increase disputes are ongoing.
10. In March it was decided to upgrade our website by registering our own Domain Name. This will improve access to the site, and give our Webmaster, Ray Bibby, the tools to make ongoing improvements.
11. In an attempt to increase communication with the membership, our Webmaster has designed a Message Board or "Blog". Directors and Park Reps can add postings to the Message Board. Other members can read postings. Just go to the website and click on "message forum" and follow the directions.
12. Are you aware that the City of Penticton has a long standing Manufactured Home Park Bylaw? The Landlord of Whitewater M.H.P. recently moved a used home on to a site. The home was too large for the available space, and encroached on to the neighboring lot and the road in contravention of the bylaw. When this situation was brought to the attention of the City, a hearing was held, and the Landlord was ordered to remove the home. This bylaw #92-21 can be accessed on the City's website www.penticton.ca.