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Alberta legislation put forward to move mobile home tenant-landlord disputes out of court

Alberta bill aims to move mobile home tenant-landlord disputes out of court
WATCH ABOVE: The Alberta government is considering a bill to help make it easier for mobile home tenants and landlords to settle disputes. Nightwatch reporter Sarah Komadina has more on the Mobile Home Site Tenancies Amendment Act and why it's needed.

Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish put forward the Mobile Home Site Tenancies Amendment Act to move mobile home tenant-landlord disputes out of court, according to a Wednesday news release.

If passed, the act will be included in the government’s Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service.

“It allows them to seek out compensation or remedies for things like the return of security deposits, deductions for completing repairs that should be done by the landlord, recovery of unpaid rent or utilities and termination of tenancies,” Glubish said.

“[We] are making [sure] that it’s something that is fair so that residents in mobile home communities have access to the same tools that residents in traditional apartment, condo and single-family dwellings have access to in order to deal with their disputes.”

The dispute resolution service costs less than taking a dispute to court, is less formal and takes less time. Court fees can range from $100 to $200. The RTDRS application fee is $75 but it can be waived if it causes financial hardship to the applicant.

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The act would be the first of its kind in Alberta, though all other provinces treat mobile home tenants just like any other renters.

“We deserve to be treated with the same respect and dignity as any other tenant,” mobile home resident Brenda Neville said.

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“We’ve known about the dispute resolution service that is available to residents who live in apartments, houses or condos. We… have been asking for that same access for too many years to count.

“I’m pretty sure in the first while we may get a lot of concerns, but I do believe in the future, it will allow us to get to a point where we can communicate better without having to go to dispute resolutions.”

In June 2019, NDP critic Jon Carson called on the government to address this problem. Even though the previous NDP government didn’t act, Carson said he wants to see the UCP make the changes quicker.

“I think we consulted on the issues for quite sometime, and the government seems ready to move it forward, so why are waiting until fall to move that forward?” Carson said.

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The UCP said the bill needs to first pass through the legislature. There also needs to be education on how mobile homes will fit in the dispute resolution service.

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Some residents are happy about the change even if there is still a wait.

“It’s been an ongoing effort for a long time just to get some security for the residents of the mobile home communities. More or less, they have always been kind of left in the blank as to who to go to, who to turn to when there is a dispute,” mobile home resident and Westview Village Community Association president Ash Lane said.

“It’s nice to see something done.”

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