Let the buyer beware

The age-old advice “buyer beware” applies in spades to the unfortunate case of Westside residents Ed Schneider and Ross Arnot.

The couple own their own home, but not the land it sits on. They are residents of a mobile home park on Westbank First Nation land and pay monthly pad rental. But for how much longer, who knows?

Early last year, the park operator demanded use of their garage as a maintenance facility, and, when they refused, slapped them with an eviction notice. The matter went to arbitration, but – amazingly – Schneider and Arnot lost.

Since Castanet broke the story, it has prompted a flurry of comments on social media. Unfortunately, many of those paint First Nations in a negative light.

The simple truth of the matter is this could happen anywhere, not just on the reserve.

Anyone who owns a mobile home on a rented pad could be forced to vacate the premises.

Should the park operator have approached the situation differently? Most definitely. In fact, they still haven’t commented publicly on the story.

But the two parties could have negotiated an agreement that would allow the couple to stay in their home instead of walking away or facing huge costs to relocate it.

As their own lawyer has said: know what you’re signing.

Meanwhile, WFN Chief Robert Louie rightly says this is a landlord-tenant matter that he wants no part of. If you had a rental dispute in Kelowna, Mayor Colin Basran wouldn’t get involved.

Expecting a slam dunk in their favour, it appears the complainants did not offer enough evidence for the arbitrator to rule in their favour. That doesn’t mean the actions of the park operator were right – just that they were within the letter of the law.

It’s a sad situation that could cost a retired couple their life savings.

While 99.9 per cent of mobile home owners need not worry about ever being forced out of their homes, the fact remains: know what you’re getting into when you sign on the bottom line.

— News Director Jon Manchester

More Opinion articles