Edmonton mobile home residents left with costly bills after cold snap damage

The cold snap in the middle of February left dozens of mobile homes in Edmonton’s Maple Oak Ridge community with frozen pipes and backed-up sewer lines.

Resident Jennifer Belikka said the damage has cost her thousands of dollars.

“I went five days without water,” Belikka said Monday.

“My insulating all under my trailer is wet and soaked. The baseboards are wrecked, the carpets have been soaked, my toilets overflowed, and it’s just really frustrating.

“I had to pay $5,000 to repair my sewer lines. I don’t have that kind of money.”

Twin Parks Community League represents the Maple Oak Ridge community. President and mobile home owner Crystal Chalmers said when these types of problems happen, there’s no one to turn to.

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“It’s been frustrating to live here.”

“Deciding who is responsible for what, what’s a park issue, and apparently, none of it’s ever a city issue,” Chalmers said.

“We’ve had so many homeowners suffer with frozen water lines and sewer lines, and generally, a lot of them come me to just looking for answers, just on how to get help. They can’t find plumbers that will work on their homes.”

Most residents own their mobile homes but they are required to pay rent for the land it’s on. When it comes to pipes freezing, anything underground is the landlord’s responsibility, and anything above ground falls on the homeowner.

READ MORE: Midfield Mobile Home Park residents lose court battle; judge rules in favour of eviction

Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities property operations vice-president Lachlan MacLean said mobile homeowners have the same rights and responsibilities as any other homeowner.

“We are there to try and work with them and try to support them as much as possible within the context of this partnership of we are the owner of the land and they are the owner of the home,” MacLean said.

Chalmers also reached out to her city councillor Mike Nickel on Twitter, but she said both the community league and her personal page were blocked. She said she sent Nickel an email outlining her concerns but she hasn’t received a response.

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“I would like to be seen as 900 voters in the community instead of just constantly going to our property management for the answer. I would like us to be viewed just as if we were any other housing style,” Chalmers said.

Nickel said he has been working with Parkbridge and the community league to address concerns ranging from drainage issues to transit service.

“Twitter is not the right form if you want to find solutions,” Nickel said.

“I say send us an email. That creates a point and space in time, and an actual item. That is how things are done at city hall.”

“So if you’re having those issues, email me right away, and we will get on it and push for the solution like we always do.”

Last year, the province changed regulations to have mobile homeowners treated like any other renters when it comes to disputes with their landlords, but this situation falls in a grey area.

Read more: Alberta legislation put forward to move mobile home tenant-landlord disputes out of court

In a statement, the province said this was the first step and not all concerns can be addressed. It is also reviewing a survey it did for residents to address more concerns.

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“The province is working on it. It’s just very slow, so in the meantime, what are these tenants supposed to do?” Chalmers said.

“I would like to see more resources.”

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