Hinton council is pushing for a review of the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act in order to improve the quality of life and safety of mobile home tenants in Alberta.
A resolution was submitted to the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) calling for a review in order to put pressure on the Government of Alberta to address issues with the act.
Coun. Ryan Maguhn spoke passionately about the resolution, stating it was near and dear to his heart during the regular council meeting on May 21.
“This is an issue that as a councillor I have really tried to advocate for, for the better part of almost eight years now. It’s frustrating, and I absolutely see the frustration in the communities faces, fellow councillors faces. We’ve been trying to move this issue forward, trying to get some traction. We worked hard advocating with the past provincial government to make some really positive changes that would benefit our citizens and their safety of the community. I see this as the next step to get some widespread support,” added Maguhn.
Other councilors echoed his sentiment.
AUMA represents urban municipalities, advocating the interests of members to the provincial and federal orders of government and other stakeholders.
Resolutions adopted by members of AUMA are grouped by topic and submitted to the relevant ministry or organization after the Annual AUMA Convention in September.
The resolution requests a review by AUMA to develop tools and legislative recommendations to the government of Alberta that address the quality of life and safety of mobile home park tenants, and allow for increased municipal autonomy in effectively creating or obtaining solutions for local mobile home site issues on behalf of those tenants.
“The way the mobile home tenancy act is structured, municipalities have very limited tools in dealing with park owners who don’t treat their residents fairly. Because that’s structured the way it is, it’s the government’s responsibility to try and make sure that those citizens are taken care of. But by the nature of the act the provincial government is abdicating that responsibility and it leaves those residents with nobody that they can rely on and force the owners to play fairly with them,” stated Coun. Albert Ostashek.
“This is one of the best tools that we have to draw recognition to that fact and to try and put some pressure on the provincial government to either change the act to give municipalities some tools that they can use to enforce compliance with owners or take it upon themselves to empower their own departments to take those actions.”
The town of Okotoks submitted a resolution in 2016 regarding an amendment to the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act to offer residential tenancies disputes resolution services (RTDRS) to mobile home park residents, according to the AUMA website.
The resolution by Okotoks was passed, but saw a limited response from the Government of Alberta over the last three years, according to administrations notes.
Many residents of mobile home parks are at higher risk with limited or no ability to move or leave and have no other option but to pursue an action through the courts which is time consuming and costly, stated the Okotoks resolution.
“As a municipality we only have so many tools in our box in order to achieve things on a larger scale that are beyond the role of the municipality and to me this is the right way of doing it,” said Coun. Dewly Nelson.
Administration noted that the act is in need of a substantial review or revision to allow for increased autonomy and local decision- making by municipalities.
Municipalities don’t have authority to enforce solutions to disputes through the act even though it does allow them to create advisory boards to educate and advise both landlords and tenants.
“[The issue] lies within the mobile home sites tenancy act, we would be just as guilty if we don’t pursue this and push this further to a provincial level. If we’re going to point the finger to some extent, this is an action we can take to say ‘okay, we’ll do our part,’” said Mayor Marcel Michaels.