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Residents frustrated with state of Westside mobile home park
Several residents of Westview Village Mobile Home Park are concerned their neighbourhood is becoming an eyesore.
Fred Masson has lived at the mobile home park for eight years. Before moving in, he carefully read the park's rules and regulations to ensure he knew what he was getting into.
"Before you buy a place in the complex, you have to agree to the rules and regulations that are very publicly displayed," said Masson.
Throughout his time at Westview Village, Masson has noticed several rules—including maintenance, site improvements and parking—have not been enforced.
Under section 4.1 of Westview Village Mobile Home Park rules and regulations, it states: Tenants are required to maintain their manufactured home, additions and yards clean and free of debris and in a condition that is satisfactory to the Landlord or Landlord's Agent. This includes lawn cutting and maintenance, perimeter fence repair. Storage of junk or unlicensed vehicles is not permitted.
A walk through the neighbourhood illustrates some properties are not adhering to that rule.
"If the rules are in place, and they form a basis for buying in here, it's not at all unreasonable to expect they're going to be enforced," said Masson.
Earlier this year, Masson and a few others arranged a meeting to discuss the possibility of forming a homeowners association with site management to discuss common issues.
On June 29, a group calling themselves Westview Village Concerned Homeowners sent a letter to Ross Management Ltd., expressing concerns that certain residents are not abiding by the rules and regulations.
On July 26, John Ross of Ross Management Ltd. replied to the letter and indicated that Masson and other residents can't claim to be a homeowners association.
Any group formed that claim to be representing homeowners must be with the consent and agreement of both owner and majority of homeowners, Ross wrote.
There are just under 300 mobile homes in Westview Village; a total of ten residents are listed as the "concerned homeowners."
According to Marcus Hadley, council secretariat with Westbank First Nation, homeowners are required to get landlord approval under the Residential Premises Law.
"If the landlord doesn't approve of the association from the very beginning, then there's no way they're going to have conversations involving issues," said Hadley.
WFN does have an arbitration process, which Hadley said is modelled after provincial law.
"That arbitration process is generally focused on individual tenants who are in dispute with the landlord, rather than the more general complaints that are being put forward here by certain residents of (Westview Village)," said Hadley.
"There are relatively narrow grounds to bring a dispute to an arbitrator…we can't be getting involved in every dispute that comes up. You expect reasonable people to exert reasonable efforts to resolve these issues themselves."
He added both the landlord and various residents from Westview Village have been to arbitration for a number of issues in the past.
"I think (Westview Village) is an example where things are going a little wrong.
"These residents are at the point—and they're certainly entitled to do this—where they can bring some of these concerns to the court. They might be in a situation very soon where that's what they do."
But Masson and the other concerned homeowners say they would prefer a "non-confrontational" approach to resolving issues.
"It's pretty tough to mediate when one of the parties involved doesn't come to the table," said Masson.
Capital News attempted to reach Ross for an interview; however, he declined to comment on the situation.
In a letter sent to Masson July 9, Ross outlined several maintenance and repairs that were scheduled to be done over the summer.
Some of that work was completed, but not all of it, according to Masson.
The letter also addressed rule 4.1, stating: We are constantly talking to tenants and giving them letters to abide by all the rules.
"It is definitely in my interest and the homeowners' to keep this park looking good at all times," Ross wrote.
But Masson and a handful of other residents claim that's not the case.
"It's insane, had we known that this situation existed, there's not one of us who would've ever bought a place in here," said Masson.