EDMONTON - The Edmonton Journal has released further revelations of disturbing (and potentially illegal) “bad tenant” lists. In response, Public Interest Alberta sent a letter to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta, requesting the launch of an investigation into these “bad tenant” lists and their potential breach of personal privacy protections.
“Housing is a human right, full stop,” said Bradley Lafortune, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “Any potential attempt to block Albertans from accessing a basic human right is wrong and must be investigated. So far we know of two of these lists. Are there more? How many Albertans are being denied housing in the midst of an affordability crisis?”
“We need renters’ rights now,” said Lafortune. “These lists are further evidence suggesting that Albertans’ personal information and privacy is not being treated in accordance with the law. According to Alberta’s rules, Alberta landlords are considered ‘organizations’ under our privacy laws. That means landlords don’t have the authority to share personal and private information without an individual’s consent.”
“In addition to an urgent investigation by the Information and Privacy Commissioner, we need a fulsome review of the Residential Tenancies Act and municipal bylaws to protect renters from abuse,” added Lafortune.
“Recent data from the City of Edmonton showed that while 1 in 7 households in Edmonton are in core housing need, the situation is even more dire for renters,” said Lafortune. “1 in 4 renters are in core housing need, and 17% of renters spend more than 50% of their income on rent and utilities alone. These renters tend to be single mothers, recent immigrants, and Indigenous people. This is a core inequality issue.”
“We are in the middle of a housing crisis,” emphasized Lafortune. “We need to take urgent action to take a stand for renters across the province.”
If you feel you have been unfairly discriminated against by your landlord, contact Public Interest Alberta.