Tenant rights and landlord rights in alberta

Governing or Regulatory Body

Service Alberta

Name of Act / Regulations

  • Residential Tenancies Act (RTA)
  • Residential Tenancies Ministerial Regulation
  • Residential Tenancies Exemption Regulation
  • Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service Regulation
  • Security Deposit Interest Rate Regulation
  • Subsidized Public Housing Regulation
  • Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act (MHSTA)
  • Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Ministerial Regulation

Types of Housing/Living Arrangements Covered by the Provincial Legislation

Residential premises and tenancies of mobile home sites.

Mobile homes are covered under the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act, as opposed to the Residential Tenancies Act. Residential premises as well as mobile home rentals is listed in the Residential Tenancies Act. Mobile home site rentals are also covered separately in the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act, instead of the Residential Tenancies Act.

Exclusions: There are a few exceptions to The Residential Tenancies Act, including a mobile home site; premises used for the sole purpose of conducting business with living accommodation attached and rented under a single agreement; rooms located in the immediate living area of the landlord, provided the landlord actually resides in the area; a hotel, motel, motor hotel, resort, lodge or tourist camp, a cottage or cabin on a campground or trailer park, tourist home, bed and breakfast business or farm vacation home, if a person lives there for any less than six consecutive months; a tenancy agreement between an educational institution acting as a landlord and a student of the institution acting as a tenant if the tenant does possess a self-contained dwelling; a nursing home according to the Nursing Homes Act, a senior citizens lodge run by the Government of Alberta; a social care facility licensed under the Social Care Facilities Licensing Act, any type of supportive living accommodation licensed under the Supportive Living Accommodation Act; an institution of corrections, or any other prescribed premises.

Types of Rental Periods

The lease can be what is known as a “periodic lease”, meaning the rental period can be a full calendar, week, month or even an entire year; a fixed term lease is one that is set for a specific amount of time and ends on a specific day. A lease sometimes begins as a fix term but turns into a periodic tenancy because the renter decides to keep renting at the same place but decided not to continue the fixed term. This particular situation is called an implied period tenancy.

Is a signed lease required?

A signed lease is not required, but if the rental agreement is put in writing, it has to contain the following statement in print and in a font that is larger than the other print in the lease: “The tenancy created by this agreement is governed by the Residential Tenancies Act and if there is a conflict between this agreement and the Act, the Act Prevails.”

If the agreement is put in writing and it has been signed by the tenant and returned to the landlord, the landlord is required to sign and return it within 21 days of when the tenant signed it. The tenant has every right to withhold payment of rent until they have received a signed copy of the rental agreement.

Is a signed move in/move out inspection report required?

Once the inspection reports have been completely filled out, they have to be signed. In Alberta, failing to completely fill out an inspection report is not considered to be an offence, but the Residential Tenancies Act encourages it. If a landlord does not complete the inspection report, their ability to retain the tenant’s security deposit may be at risk.

Deposits

A security deposit given to a landlord by a tenant cannot exceed more than a single month’s rent. The landlord is required to put all security deposits into a trust account in a bank where it will accumulate interest over time. The deposit can also be put into a credit union, treasury branch or trust company in Alberta, but it has to be deposited within two business days of collecting it. Interest has to be paid to the tenant at the end of each tenancy year, though it may be compounded annually and paid to the tenant at the end of each tenancy term, provided that such a setup has been agreed to in writing both by parties. The landlord is not able to increase the security deposit during the tenancy period.

The landlord is required to return the security deposit within 10 days of the tenant moving out of the rental property. The interest rate that the tenant’s deposit accumulates while they are living in the property is regulated at 3 per cent below the November 1 rate for cashable one-year guaranteed investment certificated held or offered by ATB Financial, known as Albert Treasury Branches in the past.

Key Money

If any key money can be refunded to the tenant, it is considered to be part of the security deposit and cannot go over the amount of one month’s rent.

Post-dated Cheques

Landlords have the right to request post-dated cheques.

Renewal of a Lease

In order to renew a fixed term lease, there must be a new agreement signed at the end of the term. Fixed term leases are typically for a period of one year, and the term may be changed to month-to-month tenancy after the fixed term is finished. A vast majority of leases are periodic monthly agreement that keep going until there is a notice given from one of the two parties.

Terminating a Tenancy (Lease): Notice and Timing

A fixed term lease does not require a notice to end it. This type of lease ends automatically on the specific end date stated in the agreement. A notice from a landlord to end a periodic tenancy has to be signed and have the address of the property on it, as well as the date that the tenancy ends and the reason for ending it. The amount of notice that must be given depends on the reason for termination.

If a landlord wishes to convert the rental property into a condominium and the premises has to be vacant, or the landlord requires major renovation work that can only be done if the property is empty, the landlord is required to give the tenant a full 365 days written notice to terminate the periodic tenancy. After this notice of termination has been served for one of these reasons, a landlord is not able to increase the rent payable.

NOTE:

Things like painting, replacing of floor covering or routine maintenance do not constitute major renovations.

In addition, a landlord can end a periodic tenancy in the event that:

  • The landlord or someone directly related to the landlord wishes to move in
  • The landlord has agreed to sell the property, all conditions of the sales agreement have been fulfilled or waived and the buyer or a relative of the buyer wishes to move in.
  • The landlord is planning to demolish the building that the tenant is currently residing in.
  • The property is a detached or semi-detached dwelling or a single condominium unit. The landlord agrees to sell the property and all conditions of the sales agreement have been fulfilled or waived. In these circumstances, the buyer is required to ask the landlord to give a written notice to the tenant in order to officially end the tenancy. Neither the buyer nor the buyer’s relatives have to occupy the rental property.
  • The landlord is an educational institution (college, university, etc), and the tenant was a student when the tenancy began but is no longer a student or will no longer be studying at the institution after the notice period has expired.
  • The landlord plans to use or rent the property for a non-residential purpose.

The notice required in these situations is:

  • Weekly: 1 full week
  • Monthly: 3 full tenancy months

If a tenant is ending a monthly periodic tenancy, they must give a full month’s notice on or before the first day of the tenancy month. All of these notices have to be put down in writing.

For mobile home sites, landlords are required to provide tenants with the following notices:

Monthly tenancies: 6 full months for specific reasons

  • The landlord or a direct relative of the landlord will be occupying the mobile home site after the tenant(s) are gone.
  • The site has been sold and the buyer or relative of the buyer is planning on occupying the mobile home site.
  • Repair work is required for the utilities on the site to function properly and require the site to be vacant while the work is done.
  • The site is planned for elimination or the boundaries of the site altered in some way (widening of the road).

When it comes to making a change in the land use, such as a site sold as a condominium or cooperative or the land is planned to be used for a purpose other than a mobile home park, the landlord is required to provide at least 365 days notice to the current tenant.

Mobile home site rental covers refers to the rent of the land itself, as opposed to the rental of the home that it is located on.

A mobile home site tenant is required to give two full months’ notice when ending a monthly periodic tenancy.

Assignments and Sublets

Landlords are required to respond to a tenant in writing and give permission within a period of 14 days after the tenant’s request to sublet or assign the rental property or it is automatically assumed that they have consented to the sublet. Landlords are not able to refuse a tenant’s request for a sublet or assignment without a valid reason.

Rent Increases: Notice and Timing

There are no regulations or controls of the amount of rent increases in Alberta. However, a tenant’s rent can only be increased if there has not been a rent increase within the last full calendar year or since the beginning of the tenancy, whichever is later. Before rent can be increased, the landlord is required to give written notice in advance. The specific timeframe that is required for this notice depends on the term of the tenancy:

  • Weekly: 12 full tenancy weeks
  • Monthly: 3 full tenancy months
  • Any other periodic tenancy: 90 days

The notice that is given to increase a tenant’s rent must include the date that the increase is set to take effect and it must also be dated and signed by the landlord.

Tenants living in mobile home sites must get a total of 180 days notice for a raise in rent.

Late Rent Payments

Rent is considered to be late the day after the due date stipulated in the rental agreement. Tenants must pay the rent by the date written in the lease or be subject to penalties, including late fees.

Evictions

There are a number of reasons why a tenant can be evicted. The required notice period for eviction depends on the ground for the eviction. Some of the reasons for eviction include:

  • Significant damage or threats to physical assault: 24-hour written notice is required. This notice must be signed by the landlord or agent and provide the tenant with the reason for eviction as well as the time and date that the tenancy is set to end.
  • Substantial breach: The landlord has the option to give 14-day written notice, signed by the landlord or agent, providing the tenant with the reason for eviction as well as the date the tenancy ends, or the landlord can apply to the Residential Dispute Resolution Service or the court to complete the eviction.

Fine Points

Landlord Entry

Landlords are required to give a minimum of 24-hour notice before entering a tenant’s unit to make repairs, inspect repairs or show the property to prospective buyers or renters, unless the tenant agrees. The only situation where immediate entry by the landlord is permitted is for emergencies or abandonment. A notice by the landlord cannot be used for more than a single entry. Each entry by the landlord that is not an emergency must be preceded by a written notice 24-hours in advance.

May the tenant withhold rent for repairs?

No

Changing Locks

A change of locks cannot be done until both the landlord and tenant have consented to it. However, a landlord or tenant can change the locks right away if a key is made available to the other party immediately.

Pets and Smoking

Is a landlord allowed to refuse to rent to a tenant who has pets?

Yes, however, if the rental agreement allows pets, they are allowed in the rental unit.

Can a landlord include a no-smoking clause in the lease?

Yes

If there is a no pets and no smoking clause written in the lease and the landlord finds out that the tenant has a pet and/or is smoking in the unit, can the landlord legally evict the tenant?

The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) lists the various reasons that a landlord can terminate a tenancy. Pets/smoking is not part of this list, though a no pet/no smoking policy can be enforced if it has been included in the lease, which was signed by both parties. If a tenant willfully breaches the rental agreement by keeping a pet in the premises or smoking inside the property, the landlord has the right to apply to the courts or the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) to force the tenant to move. The landlord can also choose to issue a 14-day eviction based on a substantial breach of the lease. In order to enforce an eviction in the event that the tenant refuses to leave, the landlord has to apply to the courts or to the RTDRS to terminate the tenancy.

Contact Information

For more information about renting in Alberta contact:

Service Alberta
3rd Floor, 10155 – 102 Street
Edmonton, AB
T5J 4L4

http://www.servicealberta.ca/Landlords_Tenants.cfm
See Web site for area Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board locations.

For general information about renting in Alberta contact the Consumer Contact Centre:
1-877-427-4088 (Outside Edmonton, Alberta only)
780-427-4088 (Edmonton and area)

Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service
The Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) offers landlords and tenants an alternative means of resolving serious disputes outside of court. The Service is designed to be faster, more informal and less expensive than the courts. Disputes are heard by a Tenancy Dispute Officer who is authorized to make binding decisions on claims of up to $25,000 involving tenancy disputes. The service is currently available in Edmonton and area, Calgary and area and northern Alberta.
http://www.servicealberta.ca/869.cfm

Edmonton Office
Unit 112, 10025 – 102A Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 2Y8

Phone: dial toll-free 310-0000 (then 780-644-3000)
Fax: 780-644-2266
E-mail: rtdrs@gov.ab.ca

Calgary Office
Main Floor, Rocky Mountain Plaza
180 – 615 Macleod Trail SE
Calgary, Alberta T2G 4T8

Phone: dial toll-free 310-0000 (then 780-644-3000)
Fax: 403-297-2669
E-mail: rtdrs@gov.ab.ca

Residential Tenancies Act and Regulations

Service Alberta Acts and Regulations.
http://www.qp.alberta.ca/574.cfm?page=R17P1.cfm&leg_type=Acts&isbncln=9780779742301
(see main Alberta contact, above)

AbertaMobile Home Sites Tenancies Act
http://www.qp.alberta.ca/574.cfm?page=M20.cfm&leg_type=Acts&isbncln=9780779734191

Application in Provincial Court of Alberta under the Residential Tenancies Act and Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act — Instructions for Landlords and Tenants:
http://www.albertacourts.ab.ca/pc/civil/publication/rta.pdf
(see main Alberta contact, above)

Information for Landlords and Tenants
A PDF file with useful, Alberta-specific information.
http://www.servicealberta.ca/1132.cfm
(see main Alberta contact, above)

Renting a Mobile Home Site
A PDF file with information on renting a mobile home site; renting mobile home sites in Alberta falls under a different Act, the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act.
(If the tenant is renting a mobile home from a landlord, the Residential Tenancies Act applies.)
http://www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/pdf/tipsheets/Renting_a_mobile_home.pdf
(see main Alberta contact, above)

Security Deposits
An online calculator and table of yearly interest rates on security deposits, which you can use to calculate the amount of interest owing on a security deposit based on the time period of the tenancy.
http://www.servicealberta.ca/620.cfm
(see main Alberta contact, above)

Direct to Tenant Rent Supplement Program
Information on the subsidy program for eligible tenants (formerly known as the Homeless and Eviction Prevention Fund.)
http://www.municipalaffairs.alberta.ca/tenant_rent_supplement.cfm

Programs and Services for Seniors
Seniors and Community Supports ministry has information on financial assistance for seniors.
http://www.health.alberta.ca/documents/Seniors-ProgramsServices-QuickFacts.pdf

Legal Information About Landlord and Tenant Law in Alberta
This reference manual on landlord and tenant law in Alberta was created by the Student Legal Services of Edmonton.
http://www.slsedmonton.com/civil/landlord-and-tenant-law/

Renting A Place to Live
Answers to frequently asked questions on shared accommodation and roommate issues, laws, privacy, leases, rent, notices, visitors, and pets.
http://www.law-faqs.org/wiki/index.php/Renting_a_Place_to_Live

Laws for Tenants in Alberta
A resource for tenants and landlords seeking advice on their legal responsibilities.
http://www.landlordandtenant.org/

Calgary

Community Mediation Calgary
A non-profit organization that offers free mediation services on a part time basis.
http://www.mediation.ab.ca/

Calgary Residential Rental Association
The Calgary Residential Rental Association (CRRA) is a non-profit organization formed in 1959 and registered under the Societies Act of the Province of Alberta.
http://www.crra.ca

Edmonton

Edmonton Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board
Provides advice and information to landlords and tenants of residential property in Edmonton.
http://www.edmonton.ca/for_residents/programs/landlord-and-tenant-advisory-board.aspx