Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Fort Mac braces for huge rent hikes

Fort Mac braces for huge rent hikes
Three-bedroom place with leaky roof costs $2,950
By The Canadian Press
Sun. Nov 4 - 6:44 AM

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Some apartment dwellers in northern Alberta’s booming oilsands were shocked this week to find notices posted on their doors warning of impending rent hikes exceeding $1,000 a month.

Management at River Park Glen told tenants the increases would become effective Feb. 1.

Gerald Morrison, who has lived River Park Glen for 20 years, said rent on his three-bedroom apartment went from $1,800 to $2,950 — without utilities and despite a roof that leaks, ants and unpainted walls.

"I always thought Fort McMurray was fair and square, but they’re gouging now," said Morrison, who works for oil giant Syncrude.

River Park Glen is one of the largest apartment complexes in Fort McMurray with about 500 units, though some are individually owned.

David Campkin said the 50-square-metre one-bedroom apartment he and his wife share rose from $1,450 to $2,250. He said the condition of the unit is "absolutely appalling" with a carpetless concrete floor.

"(It’s) forcing us to move in the middle of winter, because I can’t afford a 60 per cent rent increase. I don’t work in the oilpatch."

Officials with River Park Glen declined to speak to reporters, directing calls to the owners, Red Deer-based On Site Solutions.

On Site Solutions declined to comment on the rent increases.

Alberta’s Residential Tenancies Act passed in April requires landlords to give tenants three months notice before raising rent once per year, but there is no ceiling on rent increases.

Guy Boutilier, who represents the area in the provincial legislature, has been receiving many complaints and a representative in his office said she has been referring complaints to the office of Lloyd Snelgrove, minister for Service Alberta.

A representative at Snelgrove’s office said that nothing could be done as River Park Glen is not breaking the law.

Cheryl Cooper of the local landlord and tenant advisory board said there is a homeless and eviction prevention fund administered by the province that has money for rental and utility arrears. It can also be used to pay the first month’s rent in a new apartment, as well as damage deposits, or moving costs.


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