Landlords looking to redevelop or close manufactured home parks will have to shell out more money to homeowners renting space in the park if new legislation goes through.
In an announcement made in Penticton Tuesday morning, Premier John Horgan announced legislation that would amend the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act, requiring landlords evicting manufactured homeowners to pay new compensation.
That is to the tune of $20,000, but if the home cannot be moved, Horgan said the landlord would be required to pay out the assessed value of the home. He also affirmed the 12 months notice required for closing or converting a park, a provision that was already in the act.
Horgan added that next week, the provincial government would be announcing new regulations on the Residential Tenancy Act to add protections for those living in rental units.
“I believe these protections are minimal and basic for individuals, and they have the broad support, certainly, for people living in manufactured home parks, and also those, by and large, who own those parks,” Horgan said.
“On balance, we’re going to be making changes that will make life better and tenancy more secure for people who own homes.”
Previously, the act has only required landlords pay a year’s worth of rent for the plot, which Penticton and District Manufactured Home Owners Association president Hugh Chown said would amount to just a few thousand dollars.
“It was very economical to buy out the homeowner, because all they got was a year’s notice and $4,000 to 6,000, 7,000 for an $80-160,000 home,” Chown said.
“Now that he’s strengthening the act, and if (the manufactured home) can’t be moved, has to pay assessed value, then there’ll be many, many parks where, really, it’s not affordable to develop.”
By Chown’s numbers, if a pad rental is $5,000 per year and the home worth $120,000 cannot be relocated, that would mean a 2,400 per cent hike in the cost of closing the park.
But while praising the new rules, which Chown said would eliminate any threat of an eviction without compensation, he did note that the issue wasn’t a common one in Penticton.
“Around here, touch wood, not too much. But around Vancouver and Vancouver Island a lot,” he said, noting the threat of closure can also be used as leverage for a pad rental increase.
“They’re threatening them that if you don’t pay this increase, we’ll close the park, and all you’ll get is one year in your pad rent, which is a (stipend). Many of these are single seniors and they’re scared and they don’t know what to do.”
Chown said that happened in the Oliver area, but could not say exactly where that had occurred. He said in the past that practice has been common, but the legislation would eliminate that threat.
In his announcement, Horgan invoked the housing crisis in B.C., saying the province has been “working diligently” to work on the crisis from a number of different directions.
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit praised the moves, as well, saying the city has been working with the province to address affordability.
“Today’s announcement was another example, a spoke in the wheel as it were, to sort of address affordability and give some peace of mind for people,” he said.
The government has also approached the housing crisis through a so-called speculation tax, which will tax second homes left empty most of the year, and through an additional $7 million in funding to the Residential Tenancy Branch over three years to deal with backlogs in tenancy disputes.
“Amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act providing more security for people who live in manufactured home parks is something that I’ve been focused on for the past 12 years,” Horgan said.
“My colleague Harry Bains, now the minister of labour, introduced legislation five times to amend the residential tenancy act. As government, I am very proud to say next week we will be introducing legislation to protect citizens and make more affordable housing available.”