Langford manufactured home park policy awaits first test

Manufactured home owners in Langford fear impending eviction, owner hopes to retire

Ron and Colleen Gunter

Ron Gunter is living on eggshells uncertain of where he would go if he had to move.

The Langford senior has been living in the Lombardy manufactured home park for six and half years with his wife Colleen.

The park has been up for sale for nearly two years and residents aren’t sure what the future will bring.

Manufactured homes built after 1973 can be moved, but Gunter explained there aren’t many places to move the home too. His home is 1,600 square feet and includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms and two livingrooms.

“It’s affordable housing. Now where could I get that for less than $500,000,” said Gunter. “The bank wouldn’t look at us for a mortgage if we are not working.”

There are 20 homes in the park and all the residents are seniors. The oldest resident is 90 and three are living with cancer, including Gunter’s wife Colleen.

“I have to worry about chemotherapy and radiation, there are other things I am deeply worried about,” Gunter said. “The land owners own the land under us. We are in a state of limbo with a threat a bulldozer coming through.”

The City of Langford passed a policy in 2007 that protects residents in manufactured home parks such as Lombardy when the land is sold.

The policy states the new owner must pay for disposal of homes that cannot be relocated, help the residents find new accommodation and offer them the right of first refusal for new homes built on the property. In total the policy includes 10 stipulations the new owner must oblige by.

Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell has met with people interested in purchasing the park and has discussed the city’s policy.

“We just want to make sure people aren’t displaced,” said Blackwell. “We believe manufactured homes are an affordable housing option and we don’t want to see people get ripped out of their homes.”

While Gunter and the rest of the Lombardy residents are concerned. If the park is sold and residents are evicted there is a provincial mandate they would be given one year notice and one year free pad rent. Currently the residents pay about $500 for pad rent and some, including Gunter, still carry a mortgage.

Trevor Hunt has lived at the park for 32 years. The 74 year old planned to live there for the rest of his life and having to possibly move now is tough.

“We are not looking for handouts. Right now everyone is living within their means,” Hunt said.

Most mobile home parks in Langford have zoning that predates the city’s incorporation, said Matthew Baldwin, Langford director of planning.

The land is only zoned for a mobile home park, anything else would require rezoning.

“Lombardy park has existed long before incorporation,” Baldwin said.

Sandra Gilbert owns Lombardy park with her seven siblings. The 68-year-old grew up on the property long before it was a manufactured home park. She has been running it for the past 15 years since her father passed away.

“It’s hard and I am not getting any younger,” Gilbert explained. “There may be eight of us siblings, but I am the only one who does anything at the park.”

It’s hard for her to give up the park due to all the history and memories, but it’s just not feasible for her to carry it on. The park will remain on the market until it sells.

While Gilbert would love to see someone buy it and keep it as it is, she said it might not work

financially for the next owner. Most likely the land will be used for larger developments such as condos she figures.

 

With the park up for sale residents are unable to sell their homes even if they wished to points out, Shirley Stirrett, vice-president, Active Manufactured Home Parks Association. “Who would want to buy a home in a park that’s for sale?”