Mobile homeowners protest rent hikes

Charles Behan says mobile home park landlords are charging too much rent and not delivering enough services.

Charles Behan says mobile home park landlords are charging too much rent and not delivering enough services.

Behan is one of three directors of the new Mobile Homeowners’ Association, which seeks to advocate on behalf of the hundreds of Yukon families that own their home but not the land it sits on.

In the Takhini Mobile Home Park, where Behan lives, tenants have been notified of a $25 per month pad rent increase, up to $410 per month as of June. That’s on top of the mortgage most homeowners would be paying on their trailer.

“Pad rentals up here are starting to become ridiculous,” said Behan. “They’re totally out of control.”

That price is not justified by the services that mobile home owners receive, he said.

“There are too many things wrong with the trailer park at the present time.”

There have been problems with rocks and sand in the park’s water system since it was installed five years ago, he said.

Road conditions are unacceptable, and someone needs to crack down on speeding in the park, said Behan.

“There are a lot of kids here, and people don’t care. They speed through here like it’s going out of style.”

While there are many low-income people in the park who will be hit hard by the rent increase, that’s not the main issue for Behan and his wife, he said.

“We can afford the increase, but I don’t want to pay it, because of the things that are wrong that need to be addressed.

“We’re just starting to get a little upset.”

Owners of the mobile park couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

The Mobile Homeowners’ Association will have its first annual meeting on April 26 from 3-4:30 in the Takhini Elementary School gym.

Kate White, MLA for Takhini-Kopper King and the NDP’s housing critic, has also taken up the cause of mobile homeowners.

She has called on the government to put a reasonable cap on mobile home pad rental increases.

Five Canadian jurisdictions place limits on annual pad rental increases, according to an NDP news release. Two more require a longer notice period for trailer pad rent increases.

Mobile homes are the most affordable way for Yukoners to achieve home ownership, and that should be protected, said White.

“We have this fantastic affordable home ownership option that’s now becoming unaffordable because of pad limit increases.”

Brad Cathers, the minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation, has responded that the government is not interested in any price controls on rent, because they tend to reduce the supply and quality of housing in the long term.

“My whole response to him is you should start paying attention to this because it’s different from someone renting an apartment,” said White.

Because the resident owns the home but not the land it sits on, it’s a lot harder to move, and a lot easier for landlords to get away with unreasonable increases, she said.

She hopes that the new association will allow mobile homeowners to push for change, she said.

“Hopefully as a united front they can advocate to government that there needs to be this protection. Together, united, hopefully they’ll have more power than they do as individual homeowners.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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