It was reported this morning that residents of the Seaview Mobile Home Park in Sooke (that’s the one behind Pizzability in the centre of town) have been served their required one-year notice to vacate the property upon which their homes sit by the owner of the property, Jeff Zigay. The notice states that the owner intends to redevelop the property to another use (likely townhouses or some other multi-family project), that all required permits and applications have been approved, and that the tenants must be gone by October 31st, 2009.
This is the latest in a growing list of mobile home parks that have had their tenants evicted as land values have risen and owners sell to developers.
For those reading that don’t live in the area, this is an extremely difficult situation, as these people own their mobile/manufactured homes, but not the land upon which they sit. Most of these homes have been there for decades and cannot be simply moved to other locations for several reasons: many have had additions or alterations made to them, are too old or in poor condition to survive a move, and there really isn’t anywhere to put them. No new parks are being built, and most municipal zoning does not allow for them on private lots.
When the notice expires, these people are essentially homeless, and will have to find accommodation which will invariably be more expensive. Pad rent at the park is around $350 per month; where can one rent or buy for that? And for those that have a mortgage on their home in the park, they’re stuck with paying for a home they no longer live in.
Interestingly, the eviction notice comes down just as Sooke Council is hammering out a bylaw to protect residents of these parks from eviction. Similar to a policy passed in nearby Langford, the plan would call for compensation to the residents and/or assistance moving their home to another suitable location. Currently, Provincial legislation calls only for compensation for 12 months of pad rent, which is not enough to discourage owners from redevelopment of their properties.
Mobile home parks are a source of affordable housing, and need more protection under stricter legislation. I don’t blame the park owners for what is occurring, it’s their land and they should be able to do with it what the law allows. It’s up to Provincial and municipal lawmakers to protect affordable housing in our community.
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