Secret Landlord Facebook group blacklisting Albertans in Edmonton points shows need for overhaul of renters rights in the Province.
EDMONTON - Yesterday, the Edmonton Journal exposed a deeply troubling ‘do not rent’ Facebook group with more than 440 individuals accused of being ‘bad tenants’. In response, Public Interest Alberta is asking the Provincial government and City of Edmonton to strengthen regulations and bylaws to protect renting Albertans, beginning with an urgent investigation into whether personal privacy or human rights protections have been breached in this circumstance.
“Sharing private information and attempting to blacklist Albertans from rental housing is shocking and disgusting,” said Bradley Lafortune, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “For far too long, the rules have disadvantaged Alberta renters and this latest example shows the need for an urgent review of the Residential Tenancies Act and municipal bylaws for opportunities to further protect renters from abuse.”
Public Interest Alberta will appeal to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner to investigate and comment on whether any breaches have occurred under PIPA and, if not, whether the scope of the Commissioner’s mandate could and should be expanded to apply to instances where renters’ rights have been violated.
In addition, Public Interest Alberta is calling on the provincial government to review and update the Residential Tenancies Act through an open and transparent process that engages renters and advocates in robust and meaningful consultation, and leads to adequate oversight and enforcement of landlords in Alberta. The Act has not been substantially reviewed for several years and does not have a legislated review cycle as do many other pieces of legislation, such as the Workers Compensation Act.
“We are over two years into a pandemic and housing insecurity for Albertans is at crisis levels,” said Lafortime. "This most recent example of alleged discrimination and abuse of Albertans shows the need for a complete overhaul of how renters are protected in Alberta. We need renters rights now, beginning with standing up for renters on this ‘black list’ and going all the way through with a complete overhaul of the laws that are supposed to protect renters.”
If you feel you have been unfairly discriminated against by your landlord, contact Public Interest Alberta.