B.C. limits rule changes at mobile home parks to provide more stability for residents

Mobile home park owners in B.C. now have less power to amend park rules under changes to provincial law.

Formerly, landlords could implement new rules at their whim with little notice to owners of manufactured homes living on their property.

But under the update to the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Regulation, effective April 30, landlords can now change park rules only once a year, and they will have to provide three months’ notice.

“People shouldn’t be subject to rules that can change every two weeks,” said B.C. Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon, who described mobile home parks as “an important option for people in this province, often providing affordable housing.”

Kahlon said ever-changing park rules can sometimes be complicated and lead to preventable evictions. He said the updated regulations will give residents more stability.

If a park has a committee, like a strata council, there is still no limit to how often rules can be changed.

According to the 2021 census, 51,000 people in B.C. were living in moveable dwellings, including mobile homes, house boats, recreation vehicles and railroad cars.

Association welcomes change

Susan Belford, president of the Active Manufactured Home Owners Society of B.C., which has more than 400 members across the province, says the updated regulations are a win for homeowners.

“There has been an anecdotal history of some park owners, by no means all, but some park owners using park rules as their go-to response to challenges in the park,” said Belford, who has lived in a manufactured home since 2019.

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She said some owners would change park rules several times a year, and that she had heard of some owners using rule changes as a tool to evict tenants.

“Manufactured-home owners in these parks would be constantly unsure of what they have to do,” she said.

The updated regulation also clarifies that park rules need to be reasonable and either promote the convenience or safety of tenants, protect and preserve the condition of the park, regulate access to a service or facility, or regulate pets in common areas.

The Ministry of Housing says park rules can’t contravene the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act. If they do, a tenant doesn’t have to abide by the rule.

‘Good and bad,’ landlord alliance says

Ahead of the change, the new regulation was developed through a stakeholders group that included consultation with homeowners’ and park owners’ associations.

Willie Kovak, president of the Manufactured Home Park Owners Alliance and a member of the stakeholders committee, described the changes as “good and bad.”

While he says they provide more stability to homeowners, he adds that they limit ways for landlords to address difficult tenants or tenants who have had a complaint filed against them.

“As a landlord, I cannot potentially react within a reasonable amount of time,” he said.

He says park owners usually have to update the rules to address issues they never thought required a clear rule.

“In the last two years … I’ve changed the rules twice because I didn’t think I would have to tell a tenant, ‘You can’t have three shipping containers on your lot,'” he said, by way of example.


Posted in CBC