Calgary

MLA pushes for changes to how mobile home parks are governed

Robyn Luff, who was booted from the NDP caucus last year and represents Calgary-East, says there aren't sufficient protections for those who own homes in the parks.
Calgary-East MLA Robyn Luff wants more protections for mobile home owners. (Robyn Luff/Facebook)

A Calgary MLA is going after the government to try to force changes to the way mobile home parks are regulated. 

Robyn Luff, who was booted from the NDP caucus last year, says there aren't sufficient protections for those who own homes in the parks.

"The real crux of it is if you have a problem with your landlord, you have no recourse if you're being treated poorly other than to go to court," the Independent MLA said.

"So if they won't fix the problem — so say there's water pooling under your home ... the law says they have to fix that. They have to ensure that the pad is safe for your home. But if you don't have the money to hire a lawyer to take often a multi-million-dollar company to court, you are stuck."

Letter to the minister

Luff, who represents the riding of Calgary-East, sent a letter to Service Alberta Minister Brian Malkinson on Thursday outlining her concerns and asking for changes.

She wants mobile home park residents to be able to access the Residential Tenancies Dispute Resolution Service — an arbitration mechanism available to those who rent a house, condo or mobile home.

Luff wants protections against high pad rental increases, as well as a review of the Mobile Homes Sites Tenancies Act, something she said the government has indicated it doesn't have time for.

"I don't think it's a ton of work, and it baffles me why they continue to not do it," she said. "Because they had time to develop Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers licence plates, but they didn't have time to do this. Really, it blows my mind that that's a thing."

Government response

Malkinson was unavailable on Friday afternoon but a government spokesperson emailed a statement attributed to him. 

"Our government takes consumer protection extremely seriously, and that's why we've strengthened laws to better protect consumers — whether they're buying a car or a condo," it reads.

"We're always open to ways we can improve legislation and continue to make life better for all Albertans. We're currently in the process of examining low-cost, remedial measures for tenants seeking additional options to resolve tenancy related matters. This important work is ongoing."

Pass work to committee

The Calgary MLA says she's heard stories of people walking away from their homes because they can no longer afford to stay in them. She feels the issue needs to be urgently addressed so more people aren't affected. 

She also says it's difficult to sell or move a mobile home, so residents often feel trapped. 

In May of last year, residents at the Calgary Village mobile home park in the southeast held a rally to protest what they said were sharply rising pad rents.

If the government doesn't have time to conduct a review of the legislation, Luff suggests the work be passed to an all-party committee in the legislature.

Since 2016, the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association has been calling for the government to offer dispute resolution services for mobile park residents and to bar drastic pad rental increases.

Letters from then-minister of Service Alberta, Stephanie McLean, posted to AUMA's website show the government was not willing to commit to changes.

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