Thank you everybody. Our campaign is now over.
Please help keep Santa from being evicted!
$15,935 raised
35% of $45k goal
96 contributors
0 days left
Ended Jul 9, 2015

We are in the process of losing our home and we need help!  

We are not wealthy. We are  pensioners in ill health living on small pensions and some limited savings. We were looking for a quiet retirement place in the Okanagan and thought we had found the perfect spot. Planning to spend the rest of our lives here we renovated the house and garden. We discovered the neighbors were all long-term and formed a very close community.

Our home  since 2007  has been the Jubilee MHP on Westbank First Nations (WFN) land near Westbank, British Columbia, Canada. The land is owned by the Tomat family, Jean Tomat, Ann Marie Tomat, Adeline Tomat and Maggie Tomat operating through a numbered company 0719148BC Ltd. through an unregistered entity named ‘Princess Enterprises.’  Many of the homes had been in location for over 20 years.

In January 2014 we received notice from Darcy Osberg the park manager that the owners  intended to seize our garage for their own uses without offering any compensation. We drafted a letter respectfully advising management that we did not wish to part with our garage.

The garage had been built in 1995 and had been part of the listings for two sales previous to ours. It never occured to us that we were not the owners of the garage and that management could seize it at any time.

We also could not possibly imagine managment's next step. The response from management? Even though they described us as 'Model Tenants' we received A Notice to End Tenancy! An Eviction Notice from our home with no compensation offered. 

We are now in a protracted legal battle to try and save our home. After spending several thousand dollars and  a year in the WFN arbitration process we were stunned by the WFN's ruling upholding the eviction! Even though management described us as “model tenants” the arbitrator -hired by WFN- accepted all of management’s arguments and dismissed all of our concerns as well as those of our neighbors.

The most stinging part of the ruling was the Arbitrator’s statement that losing our home would not be an ‘undue financial hardship’ to us!

Could you afford to lose you home without compensation and not find it a financial hardship?

We applied for a review of the ruling as we feel that the owners and their agents did not operate in good faith.  They maintain that they plan to turn the property into a maintenance facility when in fact they already have a much more central facility that would serve all their properties much more effectively. We have now received the results of that review and the WFN arbitrator has again ruled that seizing our property is perfectly within the rights of the landlord.

The next step is to appeal to the Supreme Court of British Columbia to seek redress and damages and hopefully receive some compensation for property seized. After that could be more expensive court time to pursue our claim. This is money we just don't have.

Since the ruling was issued we have had an offer to purchase the property. However park management have refused to approve a new tenancy for the purchasers-- effectively preventing us from selling our home. As to simply walking away from the property, there is an existing mortgage which prevents us from obtaining new financing for a replacement home.  We still have the option of moving the building but this  may not be possible and would certainly be expensive. Any funds raised that are not used for legal expenses will be applied to the costs of moving the home.

Having our home snatched from us has affected our health. Both of us are now under Doctor’s care. We are experiencing anxiety and panic attacks and experiencing great difficulty sleeping. The stress of losing our home is aggravating other pre-existing medical conditions.

This ruling can affect every single person living on WFN (and other First Nations) lands anywhere. If it is possible for  a landlord to seize your property on a whim every person’s castle is in jeopardy! A legal precedent is needed to ensure that unscrupulous landlords cannot get away with this sort of thing! This should be a warning to anyone living on or contemplating living on First Nations Lands anywhere!

We feel very strongly that there are deficiencies in the WFN legislation as it applies to tenants and their rights that allow land owners to seize residential property without compensation. Granted there are significant differences in the values of mobile homes depending on location and our location is certainly an influence on the value of our home.

However we also feel that the arbitrator’s decision supports an inequity by sanctioning the illegal seizure of our home (remember they consider us ‘model tenants’) when their stated objective at the beginning was to seize only our garage. The idea that Osberg/Tomat were seizing our garage turned without justification into seizing our entire home.

We feel that the whole procedure is in bad faith and that Osberg/Tomat/Princess have ulterior motives that are governing their actions.

Whether or not our case proceeds to Supreme Court depends completely on funding. We have exhausted our line of credit and we are cashing in our retirement savings. If you can help us fund this fight we would be grateful as would anyone else in the future who might be affected by greedy landlords!

Nothing in life is as sacred as your home, it is your fortress and your sanctuary. Try to imagine how you would feel if someone snatched your home from you on a whim and offered no compensation.

We thank you for your kind attention to this and appreciate your support.

Ross Arnot and Ed Schneider

“Send not to ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee!”  John Donne

Activity highlights See all98
Follow this campaign to receive updates by email.

People just like you

People just like you have raised $151,000,000+ for causes they and their friends care about.

Start your own campaign
Recent contributions