(Black Press file photo)

(Black Press file photo)

Alberta mobile home tenants and landlords can now resolve issues faster

The provincial government is asking residents to complete a survey to identify any further concerns

The passing of Bill three on May 12 has allowed residents and landlords of mobile homes to resolve disputes more easily.

The bill called the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Amendment Act gives renters and owners full access to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS).

RTDRS allows residents and landlords to resolve issues in less time and at less cost than going through the provincial court system.

According to the Government of Alberta website, tenants will now be able to:

• Get their security deposit returned

• End the tenancy due to a landlord’s breach of the rental agreement

• Claim financial damages from a landlord’s breach of the rental agreement

• Get their rent reduced for loss of benefit of a rental agreement

• Receive compensation for performing the landlord’s obligations as outlined in the rental agreement and the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act

In addition, Landlords of mobile home sites will be able to:

• Resolve unpaid rent and/or utilities

• End the tenancy and take possession of the mobile home site

• Order a tenant to vacate the mobile home site

• Claim financial damages from a tenant’s breach of the rental agreement

• Receive compensation for losses when a tenant has not vacated the mobile home site at the end of a tenancy

According to the provincial government, prior to the bill passing the only option for people in these communities to settle a dispute was going through the provincial court system.

“I have lived in a trailer court and also worked for a trailer court doing maintenance. Sometimes issues arise,” said Ron Orr, MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka.

“The new dispute resolution service will give tenants and owners a way to fairly resolve tensions in a timely manner and at a much-reduced cost.”

The RTDRS is a faster, less formal and cheaper option for people to utilize when they need to settle a dispute. Landlords and tenants are able to file an application for remedies of up to $50,000 and once an application has been filed a hearing will need to be scheduled. After the hearing date is set, a tenancy dispute officer will conduct the hearing, make a decision and issue an order that is enforceable by the courts.

On the Alberta Governments’ website it states that the RTDRS receives more than 10,000 applications per year, urgent disputes are heard within 25 business days but non-urgent disputes can take several months to be heard.

The application fee for the RTDRS is $75 which can be waived if it’s found the fee would cause the applicant financial hardship. In comparison, court fees can range from $100 to $200.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, early access was granted for eviction related disputes on June 1.

Tenants and landlords will still have the option of going through the court system for disputes valued at more than $50,000 as well as specific issues that can’t be resolved through the RTDRS.

The provincial government is also asking people in mobile home communities to fill out an online survey to help identify further concerns. The survey will be available until Dec. 13.