Casa Loma trailer park residents face eviction

The owners of 12 mobile homes in the Casa Loma trailer park are facing eviction by the end of July, with nowhere to go. Ann Rudniski said she and her husband are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The owners of 12 mobile homes in the Casa Loma trailer park are facing eviction by the end of July, with nowhere to go.

Ann Rudniski said she and her husband are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

They can’t move their trailer to another mobile home park in Whitehorse because of city bylaws, which prevent trailer additions, or permanent structures, from being moved.

Their additions include the master bedroom, dining room and entrance way – about half the home.

Most of the people facing evictions at Casa Loma have additions on their trailers, Rudniski said, and can’t afford the moving costs that would likely range between $5,000 and $15,000.

Even if they did, owners would have to upgrade their trailers considerably if they wanted to fall in line with the City’s new standards.

That means updated wiring and plumbing, insulated roofs and a heat recovery ventilation system, among other requirements. Some trailers wouldn’t survive being moved at all because of their frail state.

Yukon Housing would cover the cost of upgrading the trailers, but not moving them.

For now, their only option remains to find a piece of land outside city limits. The other trailer parks in Whitehorse are full, they’ve been told.

The Rudniskis already own property outside of Whitehorse, but it was purchased two years ago as a retirement investment.

“We’re in a tight bind because of the timeline, but I’m hoping to find a piece of property outside city limits without having to go $200,000 in the hole,” she said.

“There’s nothing for us, no recourse.”

It started on June 25 last year when the residents received a letter of eviction from general manager Ross King.

No reason was given for the eviction, and King declined to comment on this story. Ten months later, Rudniski said she still doesn’t know why they’re being forced to leave.

When the group of residents got together to discuss their options on June 28, they discovered that two of the pads had been rented in the past 18 months. But King hadn’t warned those owners they might have to move any time soon.

They considered legal action against the trailer park owner and hired a lawyer, Jim Tucker.

But Tucker told them King had acted within the law when he distributed the eviction notices. There were no formal rental agreements with many tenants, and those who had one had month-to-month agreements.

To further complicate matters, the City doesn’t even consider the property a trailer park. That means the City’s updated zoning regulations from July 2012, which prohibit permanent structures from being added to trailers, didn’t apply.

Pat Ross, manager of planning and building services for the City of Whitehorse, said they closed the door on permanent structures because they were becoming fixtures at mobile home sites.

“It just means the fixtures stay while owners come and go,” he said.

“The housing stock never renews or rejuvenates. What we’re trying to achieve is not putting people in the same situation as the Casa Loma people.

“It’s a regulatory maze that these people are being subject to.”

With just over two months left, time is running out for Rudniski and her husband. There has been talk about possibly moving some of the trailers to the Lobird Trailer Park, Rudniski said, but she’s still waiting to hear back from the owner.

The Yukon government is currently conducting a public survey about possible changes to the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. Among the changes being considered are some form of rent control for mobile home parks, and a prohibition on evictions without cause for mobile home owners.

An online version of the survey is available at

www.community.gov.yk.ca. The survey will run from April 6 to June 6.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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