Nanaimo mobile home park tenants want others to know about illegal rules

CHEK

People in a Nanaimo mobile home park are warning other mobile home owners to know their rights in light of a recent battle with management.

They say those running Woodgrove Estates overstepped their boundaries in setting rules and it could have cost people tens of thousands of dollars.

Last spring, Savannah Douglas went to sell her mother’s mobile home in north Nanaimo after she passed away.

She notified the park’s manager and the response caught her by surprise.

“They said OK you can sell it. Here’s a list of all the things you have to do as a condition of sale to sell. They sent a contractor who gave me a quote for about $50,000,” said Douglas.

The park issued new rules as of May 1, 2023. Among the demands Douglas was told to put on a new roof, install new windows, replace her shed and paint the entire exterior.

“I was a little floored. I did call the tenancy branch and they said there’s nothing in the act that says this can be enforced. You’re free to file a dispute, so we did,” she said.

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Mobile homes in north Nanaimo are pictured. (CHEK News)

At Woodgrove Estates, people own their mobile homes but they’re tenants of the park as they pay a lease for the space to keep them on.

It turned out Douglas wasn’t alone in disliking the new rules.

“I was definitely shocked and definitely disagreed with what they were and wanted to do something about them,” said Al Dale, a mobile home owner in the park.

Dale had already filed a similar dispute with the residential tenancy board and had his hearing first.

In its decision rendered five months ago, the board sided with the tenants. The ruling read, “These rules appear to be an attempt by the landlord to improve the esthetics of the park by requiring that tenants make cosmetic and other improvements of the landlord’s choosing to their own manufactured homes, which are not the landlord’s property…”

Dale said he was happy with the ruling.

“They ruled those rules unenforceable, so I was pleased with those parts of it,” he said.

The manager of Woodgrove Estates declined to comment only saying the park has changed its rules since the decision and is now in compliance.

Douglas says she wants her story to get attention because she’s worried other mobile home owner may be falling victim to similar rules.

“These are seniors and they just accept it. No one disputes it so it was really important for me to let seniors especially know their renters rights,” said Douglas.

She says unfortunately one senior in the park did spend tens of thousands to improve her home before selling and those costs she likely didn’t fully recoup in the sale.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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