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Housewise

B.C.'s Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act—The good, bad and ugly.  Part I

Selling manufactured homes

In 2002, the British Columbia's Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act was brought in for residents and park operators in British Columbia’s manufactured home parks. The act introduced many reforms. I think it was a good first try but I believe it was flawed.

The act received a few modifications with its latest revisions in 2023.

The act has a lot in it for the protection for tenants and park operators, too much to discuss in one column. So, I will focus on one important part this time and others in future columns.

In this column, I will I will look at the transfer of ownership and, specifically, the RTB-10 form that is supplied by The Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB). (Note, the act does not apply on First Nation lands.)

Selling and transferring Homes—the paperwork

I believe the act was written poorly with unnecessary barriers and problems. I think the intent was the tenant was to be the manufactured home not the owner of the home. The RTB-10 Form assigns the current tenancy agreement to the new buyer, so pad rent and other provisions of the agreement cannot be changed for a new homeowner without consent. The act could simply state the existing tenancy agreement will be transferred to the new owner, end of discussion.

But like all good bureaucracies, it had to make a form that needed to be approved. If the park operator says no to the new buyer, then the seller of the home has to make an application for dispute resolution, which can take up to six or more weeks. That often collapses the deal.

Many sellers don’t want to use the form as delays can make it very difficult to sell. The standard contract of purchase realtors use for manufactured homes in a park states the seller will sign a request to the park owner and provide any information needed so the park owner may provide consent or approval for the new buyer.

When using the RTB-10 form, the existing tenancy agreement is transferred to the buyer. Problems arise if the park operator says no.

There is no prescribed penalty for denying a RTB-10 request, so many park operators might say no to frustrate the seller so they agree not to assign the existing agreement, allowing the park operator to change rules and raise the pad rent.

If the seller fights it and wins the park operator loses nothing. The agreement simply stays as it was. I believe an administrative penalty of, say $5000 levied against any park operator who rejects a new owner without proper cause (ie: the paperwork wasn’t served properly or the credit rating wasn’t high enough when it was), would go a long way to improving the RTB-10 form.

There are a few valid reasons a park operator may deny a buyer’s application.

According to the form the park owner may not withhold consent to the assignment “unreasonably” or arbitrarily, and may only withhold consent for a request made in the form for one or more of the following reasons:

• The park owner obtains negative credit, reference or other relevant information

• There is not at least one purchaser who meets the age requirement in a 55-plus park

• The purchaser does not intend to reside in the home

• The park owner doesn't have enough information to make a decision about the request because one or more of the purchaser's references could not be reached

• The home owner owes the landlord arrears of rent

View the form in its entirety for a more comprehensive list.

“If the home owner does not have the park owner's request by the end of the 10th day, the park owner's consent is conclusively deemed to have been given, and the home owner may assign the tenancy agreement,” says the form.

The park owner, as mentioned earlier, can deny it and again from the form, “If a park owner withholds consent unreasonably or arbitrarily or for a reason that is not listed above, a home owner may apply for an arbitrator's order that the tenancy agreement is assigned”

There is no penalty for the park owner but there can be a delay of up to six weeks or more for the seller. That can cost the seller the sale.

Buyers want to know they have a place to move into and introducing a two-month or longer delay in knowing if you have a new place to live is often unacceptable (10 days for the “yes” or “no” and then possibly six weeks for dispute resolution).

The RTB-10 form is a great first step in my opinion. I believe revisiting the act and cleaning up some of its obvious shortcomings would be a way to make things more predictable for both tenants and park operators.

Some manufactured homes in parks are worth upwards of $500,000, so owners should be able to sell them with confidence and not worry their investment could be held hostage. Likewise, buyers should be able to enter into agreements knowing they will have a definitive answer in a reasonable time, otherwise the difficulty in transferring home ownership may turn people off from investing in this affordable housing option.

If you are looking at buying or selling a manufactured home in a park, have a discussion with your real estate agent. It may pay off, big time.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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About the Author

Anthony Shephard is a real-estate agent with 2 Percent Realty Interior.

He was born in Vernon and has lived in and around the Okanagan his whole life, with the exception of a couple years in Washington State, a few ears in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, Calgary for a bit and a year in South America.

He has lived in  Kelowna more than 12 years with his wife and two youngest children.

“I have a deep connection with the Okanagan and no matter where I go, I am always pulled back here, it’s understandable seeing as how it’s one of the best places on Earth to live,” he says.

Shephard has owned several businesses in the Okanagan and Shuswap over the years. He has also worked as a computer network engineer, a proprietary stock trader, and a heavy equipment operator in the oilfields.

“As a teenager I spent a lot of time in my father’s real-estate company in the Lower Mainland and have been in and around the business my whole life”

He understands that different people have different needs and strives to fulfill those needs for every client, every time.

anthony.shephard@2percent realty.ca

realestateshephard.com



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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