Collen Jones stands next to he mobile home which she claims has been severely damaged due to negligence by the trailer park. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Family in legal battle with trailer park over damage to home

Claim water flowing under trailer has ruined retirement home

A trailer that Colleen Jones and her husband bought five years ago as a retirement home has turned into a nightmare for the couple.

Jones said she and husband Al have invested a considerable amount of time and money into the trailer, located in the Springwood Mobile Home Park near Cobble Hill, to try to make it the best home they could for the family, which also includes a son with special needs.

She said, other than just a few minor issues, the family has had no real problems until last winter when the trailer suffered significant damage as a result of water being pumped from across the street to alleviate drainage problems the park was experiencing next to the highway.

Jones said the water was directed toward a holding tank right in front of her trailer, but the holding tank is cracked and blocked with sludge, which has led to large amounts of water flowing under their home.

That, she said, has caused the foundation to shift, cracked drywall in the home and caused a serious mould problem that is now raising health concerns.

Jones said the situation was brought to the attention of the park’s management and owners, Parkbridge Resorts, and, after months of delays and emails exchanges, the park is now saying that it is not responsible for the problems with the trailer.

Pamela Bennett, director of corporate communications for Parkbridge Resorts, which owns and operates numerous trailer parks, acknowledged that the surface water that had accumulated next to the couple’s trailer is “a challenge” and the park is working with qualified engineers to correct the problem.

But she said a preliminary assessment of the trailer has revealed that it was not constructed correctly in the first place.

Bennett said the park has asked the Joneses to work with them and is waiting for information from the couple so that the park “can help them” in any way it can.

“The park is ignoring the lease we signed in which it lays out that we own the trailer and lease the land, with the maintenance of all surrounding infrastructure the responsibility of the park,” Jones said.

“They are trying to say that the trailer was not set up properly in the first place, but it’s clear that our problems are related to the park and its drainage issues. We’re being treated like crap by the park for an issue that’s their responsibility to fix.”

Bennett said engineers that were hired by the park have concluded that the main cause of the issues at the trailer are not being caused by the water.

She said the Joneses have been releveling the house each year they have been there and the park has asked them for more information on that.

“We’re working hard to get to the bottom of this issue,” Bennett said.

A statement on the issue from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said landlords must provide and maintain a manufactured home park in a reasonable state of repair, and comply with housing, health and safety standards required by law.

As well, the statement said tenants are responsible for obtaining insurance to protect their own property.

“It’s unclear from the details provided whether the Residential Tenancy Branch would have jurisdiction to award compensation for damage or loss to the tenant’s manufactured home,” the statement said.

“The tenant may wish to make an application for dispute resolution through the Residential Tenancy Branch seeking compensation for damage or loss to test jurisdiction.”

Jones said the couple has done just that, but has been informed their hearing may be months away.

“We simply can’t wait that long to resolve this dispute,” she said.

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