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Mobile home sale was not fraud, court rules

Feb 01 2012

The sale of a seaside mobile home in a park slated for redevelopment did not constitute a fraud, a B.C. Supreme Court justice has ruled.

In April 2008, Ronald and Lylia Neidermayer bought a mobile home in Ivy Green Park, near Ladysmith, from Audrey Gillies. The Neidermayers' offer of $87,000 was accepted on a handshake and the couple said they only agreed to buy the mobile home after Gillies assured them the park was "here to stay."

The Neidermayers moved in in August 2008. The home was attractive, including an addition, a deck, shed and greenhouse. There was even a palm tree and fish pond in the landscaped garden.

In January 2009, the Neidermayers were shocked to hear that their tenancy would end in January 2010 and they were ordered to leave the park within 12 months.

"They believed that Mrs. Gillies had given them an assurance that the future of the park was long term and that, upon purchasing their mobile home, they would enjoy use of her pad for a long time," Justice Trevor Armstrong wrote in his reasons released Tuesday.

The Neidermayers took Gillies to court accusing her of fraud. They also alleged that she concealed the fact the park was rumoured for redevelopment.

The court heard that the Neidermayers were advised by the park manager that there was a possibility of redevelopment by the park owner, Oak Bay Marine Group, "but [he] did not tell the Neidermayers when the development was expected to start; he said it might be in one year or after many years."

Gillies testified she was aware of rumour of a potential redevelopment of the park since she moved there in 2005.

Another couple had previously wanted to buy her mobile home, but withdrew their offer once they heard there were plans for redevelopment.

"She did not inform any prospective purchasers about the rumours relating to redevelopment of the park because she thought it was the responsibility of the park to comment on those rumours," Armstrong wrote.

The Neidermayers moved their mobile home to another park and launched the lawsuit, seeking $85,024.24 in damages stemming from the costs of their home's devaluation and its relocation.

The loss the Neidermayers suffered was due to them being "authors of their own injury," said Armstrong. He ordered that the damages be divided equally between both parties.

smcculloch@timescolonist.com

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