Evictions Perplex Longtime RV Park Residents

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October 21, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Several residents of a Langley RV park in Langley, British Columbia, say they were evicted with just a few days notice, violating the province's rules for landlords and tenants, The Langley Advance reported.

Bill and Sue De Leeuw have lived at the Alderbrook RV Park for 21 years, but on Thanksgiving weekend they were told to pack up and hit the road within 48 hours.

Bill, a retired ironworker and appliance salesman, said he and his wife have known the managers at the center of the recent evictions for some time.

"We were friends with her," De Leeuw said of one of the managers.

The managers have lived at the park themselves for some time, but they were hired to run the park earlier this year after an apparent change of ownership, according to several park residents.

De Leeuw is still unclear exactly why he and his wife, and his sister-in-law, Peggy Kroeker, who lived in a neighbouring spot, were evicted.

"They wouldn't even tell me why they were kicking me out," he said. He was evicted on Thanksgiving Monday.

He thinks it might have something to do with a visit by his son-in-law, who was accused by the mangement of driving too fast when leaving the park not long ago.

In Kroeker's case, she was told to get out the night after her sister and brother-in-law were told to leave.

She was verbally told that there had been complaints about her dogs.

Kroeker moved to the park at the beginning of September, bringing two Chihuahuas and a litter of puppies, which she has been selling as they've been weaned.

Kroeker insists her dogs were quiet, and claims an argument with one of the managers might have sparked her eviction.

Neither the De Leeuws nor Kroeker received written notice telling them to leave, nor did they receive a written notification giving them the reasons for their evictions, they said.

The cases are similar to those this spring, in which four people were told to pack up and move with little notice. Hand-written letters told them to get out, and managers said they were "troublemakers."

Under the Residential Tenancy Act, landlords must give 30 days notice if they are evicting someone with cause, or 10 days notice if they are evicting for non-payment of rent.

Tenants can challenge their evictions.

On Wednesday last week, a manager told the Langley Advance to leave the property after an interview with Kroeker. The management declined to comment on the evictions.

Shortly after that, police were called to the park.

Apparently, an argument between a manager and Kroeker erupted while Kroeker was moving her things out of the park. Cpl. Holly Marks of the Langley RCMP confirmed that no one was arrested or charged, and the parties were told to work out their issues through the tenancy act.

Neither Kroeker nor the De Leeuws are likely to challenge their eviction. They have already found new homes in other RV parks in the Lower Mainland.

People still living in the park are too afraid to say anything for fear they'll be evicted next, said Bill De Leeuw.

"They're walking on eggs," he added.

Rich Coleman, MLA for Fort Langley-Aldergrove and the province's minister of housing, said the Residential Tenancy Branch can't do anything unless tenants file a complaint.

"Without a case, there's no action we can take," he said.

Residents have a right to stay and fight their evictions, if they don't have the proper notice, he said.

He said that if any residents of the park who want to fight the evictions go to his constituency office, his staff will help them fill out the forms.

Once that's done, the matter is in the hands of a mediator and the tenancy rules.

Coleman said the situation at Alderbrook RV Park seems to be very uncommon.

Bill De Leeuw said he believed about 40 people had been evicted over the past few months, but some had returned.

The park has about 90 spaces, and appeared to be approximately one-third empty.

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