Common Questions - Landlords and Tenants


If your question is not addressed here, please Contact Us.

Other Online Resources

Laws for Landlords and Tenants in Alberta (external site)

A Guide to the Law in Alberta Regarding Landlord and Tenant

Also see External Links

 

 

 

 

 

Questions:

What can a landlord do if a tenant abandons or vacates the premises leaving personal property?

If the landlord reasonably believes that the abandoned goods have a total market value of less than $2,000; the landlord may dispose of the goods. The sale proceeds go towards the proper costs of removing, storing and selling the goods and to any outstanding liabilities of the tenant to the landlord. Any surplus has to be paid to the Minister.

If the abandoned goods have a value of $2,000 or more and the landlord reasonably believes that the storage of the goods would be unsanitary or unsafe or would rapidly result in total or substantial depreciation in their market value or that the cost of removing, storing and selling would exceed the sale proceeds, the landlord may sell the goods by such means and at such price as the landlord believes is reasonable. The sale proceeds go towards the proper costs of removing, storing and selling the goods and to any outstanding liabilities of the tenant to the landlord. Any surplus has to be paid to the Minister of Service Alberta.

If the abandoned goods have a value of $2,000 or more and the preceding paragraph does not apply, the landlord must store the goods for a period of 30 days from the date of their abandonment. After the 30 days, the landlord can sell the goods at a public auction or with the approval of a court, or the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, by private sale. Again, the sale proceeds go towards the proper costs of removing, storing and selling the goods and to any outstanding liabilities of the tenant to the landlord. Any surplus has to be paid to the Minister of Service Alberta.

How do I deal with bedbugs in my apartment?

Notify your landlord and report the bed bugs.  The landlord should inspect all the units adjacent to, above and below the apartment found to have bed bugs.  The landlord must hire a professional pest control operator approved by Alberta Environment and/or heat treatment professional operator to treat for bed bugs.   For additional information read Bedbugs on the the My Health Alberta website.

The landlord changed the locks on my home. Can he do this?

No. Landlords may add or change locks if a key is made available to the tenant as soon as the addition or change is made. If the landlord refuses, the tenant can contact the police and should file a written complaint with our office.

Can a tenant change the locks?

No. Tenants may not change locks without the consent of the landlord.  A key must be made available to the landlord if consent is given.  A tenant has the right to install a security device that is capable of being put into use while the tenant is inside the premises. The security device becomes part of the property of the landlord when the tenancy ends unless it can be removed without damage to the premises.

A lady calls and claims that her application to rent an apartment was turned down because she is a recent immigrant from Jamaica. What can she do?

Refer to the Alberta Human Rights Commission website www.albertahumanrights.ab.ca/

I am in the process of moving out. The landlord wants me out by noon. Since it is the last day of the month, don't I have until midnight to move out?

 Unless a landlord and tenant agree to a different time, a tenancy ends at 12:00 noon on the last day of the tenancy, other than for terminations for damage or assault.

What is the required notice to be given by a landlord/tenant if they wish to end the tenancy at the end of the fixed term part of a hybrid lease?  Do they have the ability to end it?

Unless there are any agreement to the contrary, notice to terminate is not required in order to terminate a fixed term tenancy.  However, if either the landlord or the tenant do not want to have the lease continue into the periodic portion of the lease, they should advise the other party, within a reasonable time before the lease expires, of their decision to have the agreement end at the completion of the fixed term.  If they don’t notify the other party, the tenancy continues on as a periodic tenancy.  The rules of periodic tenancies now apply to this tenancy agreement.

My landlord is always showing up at our apartment, without notice, and wants to come in and inspect the premises. Can he do that?

If the landlord comes to your door and you let him in, you have given consent and there is no violation.  A landlord may enter without consent, but after 24 hours written notice to the tenant:

    • to inspect the state of repair of the premises,
    • to make repairs to the premises,
    • to show the premises to prospective purchasers or mortgagees, or
    • to show the premises to prospective tenants after a landlord or tenant has served notice of termination of a periodic tenancy or during the last month of a fixed term tenancy.

The notice must state the reason for entry, date and reasonable time of entry.

What time can a landlord enter my suite?

After giving the 24-hour notice, a landlord can enter between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., but is not allowed to enter on a holiday or on the tenant’s day of religious worship. The landlord can enter on a Sunday if the tenant’s day of religious worship is not a Sunday and the tenant has provided the landlord with a written notice of that day.

Can a landlord evict a tenant during the winter months?

Yes.

I am renting with another person. I paid my portion of the rent but my roommate has not. Can the landlord evict me?

If you signed a tenancy agreement along with someone else, the landlord can require any one of the tenants to pay the rent. Since your roommate has not paid his portion of the rent, the landlord can ask you to pay this amount. Your landlord can evict you for non-payment of rent.

Can a landlord evict a tenant for calling a Health Inspector or our department?

No.  This is an offence under the RTA for which the landlord can be charged.

I want to serve an eviction notice on my tenants. I ring their doorbell and I can hear voices inside but they won't come to the door. What can I do?

Notices must be served personally, by registered mail or certified mail. If you are unable to serve a tenant by reason of his evading service or his avoidance, service can be made on any adult person who apparently resides with the tenant or by posting the notice in a conspicuous place on some part of the premises.

Where do I go to file a complaint?

Service Alberta, Investigation Services, investigates contraventions of the Residential Tenancies Act.  Refer to the tipsheet: Filing a Complaint with Consumer Services.

What is a fixed term tenancy?

A fixed term tenancy ends on a day specified in the agreement. No notice has to be given by the landlord or tenant to terminate a fixed term tenancy.

What is a hybrid lease?

A hybrid lease is a term that people use to describe a combination of a fixed term tenancy and a periodic tenancy.  It is not defined in legislation.  It is a tenancy that continues as a periodic tenancy when the fixed term period ends.  If either the landlord or the tenant does not want to have the tenancy continue into the periodic portion, they should notify the other party within a reasonable time before the fixed term part of the tenancy agreement ends.  If they don’t notify the other party, the tenancy continues as a periodic tenancy.  The rules of periodic tenancies now apply to this tenancy agreement.

Can the landlord make the tenant sign a new lease/agreement to begin at the end of the fixed term part of the hybrid lease?

The landlord and tenant agree to the amount of rent when they negotiate the terms of the fixed term tenancy agreement. Rent cannot be increased unless 365 days pass since a tenant moved in or since the last rent increase, whichever is later. If the 365th day is during the current fixed term tenancy agreement, rent cannot be increased until that tenancy agreement ends.


Two roommates have signed a hybrid lease with the landlord.  One roommate wants to move out during the fixed term, while the other wishes to stay until the end.  What would the landlord’s/tenant’s options be in this case? The same as any other fixed term lease.  The individuals who have signed the lease would be bound for the period that the lease is the “fixed term period”.  Should the remaining tenant want to end the tenancy at the end of the fixed term, a courtesy notice should be given to the landlord advising that the tenant has no desire to use the potential periodic portion of the lease.  All parties could agree to enter into a new agreement at any time, if they were all in agreement.

What is an accommodation inspection report and is it mandatory?

The inspection report is a written record of the condition of the premises at the beginning and end of a tenancy.  A landlord and tenant must inspect the rental premises within one week before or after the tenant takes possession of the premises, and within one week before or after the tenant gives up possession of the premises. After the inspections have been completed, the landlord must give the tenant a copy of the report at the time of move-in and move-out,  but, If landlords do not complete the inspection reports, they can’t make deductions from the tenant’s security deposit for damages.   The landlord can still make an application at the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, or the courts to recover damages.  Inspection reports must contain the statements and be signed in accordance with the regulations.

What can a landlord do if the tenant refuses to take part in the inspection?

A landlord can do the inspection report without the tenant, if the tenant or the tenant’s agent has been offered, and refused, 2 separate inspection times by the landlord. The inspection times offered must be on two different days that are not holidays, and between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

What obligations do landlords have in renting premises?

The obligations of the landlord are:

    • to make the premises available for occupation at the beginning of the tenancy,
    • not to disturb the tenant’s possession and peaceful enjoyment of the premises, and•
    • to ensure the premises meet at least the minimum standards prescribed for housing premises under the Public Health Act and regulations.

The landlord also has to maintain the premises in good repair in compliance with all building, health, fire and safety standards and is required to perform any other obligations assigned to the landlord by the tenancy agreement.  If the landlord does not fulfill the landlord’s obligations, the tenant may apply to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service,  or court for one or more of the following remedies:

    • recovery of damages resulting from the breach or contravention of the landlord’s obligations,
    • reduction in rent to the extent that the breach or contravention deprives the tenant of the benefit of the tenancy,
    • compensation for the cost of performing the landlord’s obligations, or
    • termination of the tenancy by reason of the breach or contravention if, in the opinion of the court, the breach or contravention should cause the tenancy to be terminated.

My landlord won't fix anything in my apartment. The heat has been off for 3 days. What can I do?

Health issues such as having no heat should be reported to the Health Unit in your area. A  public health inspector will inspect properties for health and safety concerns.  See the Alberta Health Services, Programs & Services website at www.albertahealthservices.ca/services.asp?pid=service&rid=1052208.

In some cases, tenants may elect to have the repairs completed and then apply to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, or Civil Division of Provincial Court to be compensated for the cost of performing the landlord's obligations.  A tenant cannot deduct the repair costs from the rent without the landlord's consent.

I have only been living in my apartment for one week and this place gives me the creeps. I just discovered maggots crawling under the kitchen sink. What can I do?

If you have not done so already, advise your landlord of your bug problem. If your landlord is aware of the bug problem and won't do anything about it, call the Health Unit and ask to speak to a public health inspector.

I have rented to this tenant for six months now. Every month I have had to chase him for the rent that eventually gets paid. Is there anything I can do to get rid of this tenant?

A tenancy can be terminated by giving the tenant at least 14 days notice before the tenancy is to terminate if he or she has committed a substantial breach of the tenancy agreement.  A substantial breach means a breach of one of the following tenant's covenants:

    • the rent will be paid when due,
    • the tenant will not interfere with the rights of either the landlord or other tenants in the premises or anywhere else on the property,
    • the tenant will not perform illegal acts or carry on an illegal trade, business or occupation in the premises,
    • the tenant will not endanger persons or property on the premises,
    • the tenant will not do or permit significant damage on the premises,
    • the tenant will keep the premises and anything rented reasonably clean,
    • the tenant will move out at the end of the tenancy,
    • or a series of breaches of a residential tenancy agreement, the cumulative effect of which is substantial.

The tenant's continued failure to pay his rent on time constitutes a substantial breach of a tenancy agreement.

Is there a standard form for a lease?

There are no government-approved forms. Landlord and Tenant Advisory Boards and Apartment Associations do sell periodic and fixed term lease forms.

What should be included in the lease? 

    • date of agreement
    • names and addresses of all parties
    • address or description of rental property
    • term of tenancy
    • rent amount and where & when it is to be paid
    • clauses about whether utilities, furniture, appliances, parking, etc. are provided and at whose expense
    • names of permitted occupants
    • security deposit: amount, authorized deductions and interest
    • care, maintenance and repair responsibilities
    • insurance requirements
    • rules and regulations
    • signatures of landlord and tenant

What is the difference between a one-year lease that defines the rent will be set at a certain price for the period of Jan 1 until Dec 31 and a fixed term lease?

The fixed term tenancy agreement ends on a specific date.  Notice to terminate and rent increase rules apply to a periodic yearly lease.

Can a landlord make deductions from a security deposit for restoring or repairing costs resulting from normal wear and tear?

A landlord cannot make deductions from a security deposit for restoring or repairing costs resulting from normal wear and tear, even if there is a clause saying the opposite in a residential tenancy agreement.  Normal wear and tear is the gradual worsening of the condition of property over time that happens even when the property is looked after properly.  Examples:

    • If walls are regularly washed and cared for, eventually over a number of years, they will have to be repainted. This is normal wear and tear.
    • If the walls are not looked after, or holes are knocked in them, this is damage and not normal wear and tear.
    • Carpets wear out over time and have to be replaced, even though they have been properly and regularly cleaned. This is normal wear and tear.
    • Cigarette burns, oil stains, or pet stains in the carpet that require expensive cleaning or replacement of the carpet before it is worn out is damage and not normal wear and tear

I have been trying to reach my landlord by phone but he is never home. I don't have his address.

Within 7 days of a tenant taking possession of the premises, a landlord is required to serve you with a notice of landlord with the name and street and postal address in Alberta The notice must be kept up to date.   If there are common areas, the notice can be posted in that common area, in a conspicuous place.

How much notice of termination must a landlord give me if the rental premises are being converted to a condominium?

The tenant must be given at least 365 days written notice.

How much notice of termination must a landlord give me if he wants to do renovations to the rental property?

A landlord may terminate a periodic tenancy to make major renovations (does not include painting, the replacement of a floor covering or routine maintenance) where the tenant cannot reside in the premises, by serving the tenant with at least 365 days written notice.

Does a notice to end a tenancy have to be in writing?

Yes. The amount of notice required depends on the type of periodic tenancy; for weekly, monthly, or yearly. The notice must:

    • be in writing,
    • be signed by the person giving notice or that person’s agent,
    • if a landlord is ending the tenancy, set out the reasons for the termination,
    • identify the premises for which the notice is served, and
    • state the date the tenancy ends.

I want to serve my landlord with my notice to terminate the tenancy.  Can I serve the property manager?

Yes.  The property manager is acting on behalf of the landlord and a tenant's notice to terminate can be served on them.  Service of notice must be done personally or by registered mail to either the address in the notice of landlord or the address at which rent is paid.

Is there a shorter time period for a landlord to end a tenancy?

If a tenant has done or permitted significant damage to the premises or physically assaulted or threatened to assault the landlord or other tenants, the landlord may serve the tenant with at least 24-hours notice to vacate or apply directly to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, or court to end the tenancy. The tenant can’t object to a 24-hour notice to vacate. If the tenant refuses to move, the landlord must apply to RTDRS or court for an order confirming the termination within 10 days after the termination date, or the 24-hour notice becomes void.

I gave proper written notice to terminate my tenancy and a final inspection report was completed.   I gave the landlord my new address. I moved out two months ago and have received nothing. What can I do?

The security deposit refund (including compounded interest if the landlord has not paid it yearly) and statement of account (if there are any deductions) must be postmarked within 10 days of the day that you gave up possession of the premises.  If the landlord is entitled to make deductions but cannot finalize the exact amount during the 10-day period, the landlord is required to deliver an estimated statement of account for such deductions and return the balance, if any, within 10 days. The landlord must provide a final statement of account and balance, if any, within 30 days of the day that you gave up possession of the premises.

Our landlady told us that we have to move out in 48 hours because she has received complaints about our noisy parties.  She is mistaken - the noise is coming from the tenants in the suite next to ours. What can we do?

The landlady cannot terminate a tenancy by verbal notice. The landlady can serve a written notice at least 14 days before the tenancy is to terminate, setting out the reason. If you receive this notice and you do not agree with the reason given for termination, you can serve your landlady with a written notice setting out your reason for objecting. Be sure and serve this notice to your landlady before the termination date in her notice.

A tenant’s hybrid lease states he must give two month’s notice to vacate at the end of the fixed term portion of the agreement.  Can the landlord demand this, or another time period for a notice?

In a true fixed term lease no notice is required relating to moving out at the end of the fixed term.  While there is nothing in the legislation on this, we do suggest that the tenant and the landlord provide the other party with a courtesy notice prior to moving out.  No time frame is specified for such a courtesy notice.  If the tenant continues into the periodic part of the tenancy agreement (the time after the fixed term has ended) and the landlord has accepted rent, then the notice periods would be one full month for the tenant, not the two month’s notice period in the lease.

There are tenants in the building who are always fighting.  Can’t the landlord do something about this?

The tenant has the right not to be disturbed while living in the residential premises so long as they meet their obligations under the residential tenancy agreement.  This includes disturbance or conflict with the landlord or with other tenants in the same building. It is the landlord’s responsibility to take action if something is causing problems for the tenants like:

    • Excessive noise (other than activity in the normal course of everyday living).
    • Aggressive or obnoxious behavior.
    • A disturbance caused by the landlord, tenant or someone permitted on the premises by the landlord or tenant.

What is a periodic tenancy?

A periodic tenancy renews or continues weekly or monthly without notice. It could also be that part of the tenancy that arises after the end of the fixed term in a fixed term tenancy that contains a provision allowing for renewal without notice.

When can a landlord end my periodic tenancy?

The only reasons landlords can terminate periodic tenancies are:

    • the landlord or a relative of the landlord intends to occupy the premises,
    • the landlord has entered into an agreement to sell the premises and all the conditions of the sale have been satisfied or waived, or the agreement is to sell one detached or semi-detached dwelling unit and/or condominium unit, and the purchaser requests in writing that the landlord give the tenant a notice to terminate the tenancy,
    • the landlord intends to demolish the building in which the premises are located or make major renovations requiring the premises to be unoccupied,
    • the premises will be used for a non-residential purpose,
    • the landlord is an educational institution and the tenant is or will no longer be a student,
    • the premises rented are subsidized public housing and the tenant is no longer eligible for such housing, has not reported income respecting eligibility or the public funding for the program is cancelled,
    • the tenant is employed by the landlord and the employment is terminated,
    • the premises are being converted to condominium use, or
    • if a tenant has committed a substantial breach of the tenancy agreement.

A landlord can’t end a fixed term tenancy during the fixed term, but is not obligated to renew a fixed term tenancy.

How much notice is required to end the periodic tenancy of an employee?

If a tenancy has been entered into by reason of the tenant’s employment and that employment is terminated, either the landlord or tenant may terminate the tenancy by serving notice to the other party in sufficient time to provide a period of notice of termination that is:

    • equal to the period of notice of termination of employment required under the Employment Standards Code,
    • equal to the period of notice of termination of employment agreed to by the landlord and the tenant, or
    • of one week’s duration, whichever period is longest.

I gave my tenant a 14-day notice to terminate for non-payment of rent. The notice is up in two days; however, a neighbour saw them moving out last night. Can I go in to see if the premises have been abandoned?

If a landlord is unsure whether a tenant has abandoned the premises, it is advisable they serve a 24 hour notice of entry.  If the landlord is absolutely positive the premises have been abandoned or there is an emergency, the landlord can enter the premises. 

When does the purchaser of my rental home officially become my new landlord?

Not until the agreement for sale is completed. Landlords should get legal advice on how to handle security deposit.

I was in the process of moving out because my landlord evicted me. Now my landlord has removed the rest of my belongings. He won't give them back unless I pay my rent arrears for the last two months. Can he do this?

No.  The landlord cannot hold your belongings. The tenant may need the assistance of the police to recover their property, or sue the landlord for the replacement cost of the items.

The landlord can apply the security deposit to the rent owing and sue through court or take the tenant to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, for the balance. 

The landlord served a proper three-month notice to increase the rent.  The notice was served during the fixed term portion of a hybrid lease. The increase would take effect after the fixed term portion of the lease expired.  Can the landlord do this?

Yes.  However, rent can only be increased once per year. This applies to both periodic (month-to-month) and fixed-term tenancies. Three month's notice will still be required before increasing rent on periodic tenancies.  espite any agreement, declaration, waiver or statement to the contrary, a landlord shall not increase the rent payable by a tenant who is occupying the same premises under two or more consecutive residential tenancy agreements in respect of fixed term tenancies each for a term of less than one year or recover any additional rent resulting from an increase unless at least 365 days has passed since the commencement of the first of those tenancies, or the last increase in rent, whichever is later.

My landlord put a note in my mailbox to say the rent is going up $200.00 next month. I am renting on a month-to-month basis. Can he do this?

The written notice of the increase in rent must be at least three tenancy months. Since your landlord has not provided the proper notice, this notice is invalid. The landlord will have to issue a new notice.   landlord cannot increase the rent unless at least 365 days has passed since the last increase of rent or the commencement of the tenancy.

The landlord must serve notices in person or by certified or registered mail. If he feels you are avoiding his service, he could give the notice to an adult residing with you or post the notice in a conspicuous place on your premises.

How much notice does a landlord have to give me to increase the rent for a periodic tenancy?

The landlord must give a written notice of the increase:

    • at least 12 tenancy weeks before the date on which the increase is to be effective for a weekly tenancy,
    • at least three tenancy months before the date on which the increase is to be effective for a monthly tenancy.
    • at least 90 days before the date on which the increase is to be effective for any other periodic tenancy.

A landlord cannot increase the rent unless at least 365 days has passed since the last increase of rent or the commencement of the tenancy.

A tenant has lived in an apartment for eight months and the landlord now wants the tenant to sign a rental agreement and inspection report. Does the tenant have to sign the forms?

No.  The tenant does not have to sign either one. The landlord will not be able to deduct for damages/cleaning from the security deposit when the tenant moves out because an inspection report was not completed at the time of the move-in.  The landlord can still make an application at the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, or the courts to recover damages.

I paid a $500 security deposit to rent a suite for the beginning of next month. My roommate has backed out and now I can't afford the rent. The landlord says he can keep my money. Can he?

The landlord could be holding your security deposit as liquidated damages for not renting his suite. Depending on the circumstances, you may decide to sue your landlord or apply to RTDRS to try and get your security deposit back. For example, was the landlord able to find another tenant or did the suite sit vacant for a month?

What is a security deposit?

Any  money, property or right given by a tenant to a landlord as security for the performance of an obligation or the payment of a liability by a tenant.

I'm moving out at the end of next month and I'm afraid the landlord won't return my security deposit. Can I tell him to use my security deposit as the last month's rent?

No.  If you do not pay rent for the last month, the landlord could serve you with a clear 14-day notice to terminate the tenancy for non-payment of rent, or obtain a Distress for Rent or an Order for Possession from the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, or the Courts.

How much can a landlord charge for a security deposit?

The security deposit can’t be greater than one month’s rent. It can’t be increased later if the rent amount increases.

Can a landlord demand a tenant pay a security deposit plus an additional refundable amount for a certain privilege (e.g. having a pet) if the total exceeds the sum of one month's rent?

 No.  As the sum is held by the landlord as security, and will be returned to the tenant, it is a security deposit as defined by the Residential Tenancies Act..

Can a landlord charge a non-refundable sum in addition to a security deposit for the privilege of having a pet?

As the sum is not held by the landlord as security, and will not be returned to the tenant, it is not a security deposit as defined by the Residential Tenancies Act.guidelines.

Does the landlord have to put security deposits in a trust account?

Yes.  Landlords have to put security deposits in an interest-bearing trust account at a bank, treasury branch, credit union or trust company in Alberta within two banking days of receiving the deposits.

My bank is not paying any interest on my security deposit trust account. Why do I have to pay interest to my tenants on their security deposits?

    • The landlord has to pay interest annually when the security deposit is money.
    • The interest rates for the period January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2011, 0%
    • The annual rate of interest for January 1, 1995 to December 31, 2004, is the rate that is 3.5% below the rate of interest that is in effect in December of the previous year for Alberta Savings Certificates or any security issued in that previous year to replace those certificates.
    • The annual rate of interest for 2005 and each following year is the rate of 3% below the interest rate that is in effect on November 1 of the previous year for cashable one-year guaranteed investment certificates held or offered by Alberta Treasury Branches Financial. 

I have not paid interest to my tenants on a yearly basis. When do I compound this interest?

The landlord and tenant may agree in writing that the interest shall not be paid annually and in that case the interest is to be compounded annually on the anniversary date of the tenancy and paid at the end of the tenancy.

Can a new landlord deduct for damages from a security deposit if the previous landlord did not complete an incoming inspection report?

No.  If a landlord does not complete an inspection report, the landlord cannot deduct any money to cover damages to the premises from the tenant’s security deposit. However, the landlord can still make an application at the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, or the courts to recover damages.

I bought an apartment building three months ago. Now I have discovered that the former landlord did not pay interest to the tenants on a yearly basis. Am I responsible to pay this interest to the tenants?

Yes, you are responsible for paying the interest to these tenants. If you do not pay interest to the tenants annually, you can agree to compound the interest annually and pay the interest at the end of the tenancy.

A person who acquires the interest of a landlord in residential premises shall, within a reasonable time after acquiring the interest and without cost to the tenant, serve on the tenant:

  1. a notice of landlord that meets the requirements, and
  2. a statement setting out the amount of the security deposit and interest, calculated in accordance with the regulations, standing to the tenant’s credit as of the date the person acquired the interest in the residential premises.

I disagree with the deductions that my landlord has listed on the statement of account. What can I do?

If you cannot resolve your dispute with your landlord, you can apply to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, or to Provincial Court Civil Division to resolve the dispute. You do not need to hire a lawyer.  You can also request mediation through the Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board (Edmonton and Fort McMurray).  Both landlord and tenant must agree to this procedure.

I signed a fixed-term lease that doesn't end for another five months. I just got a job transfer to Winnipeg. Can I sublet my apartment?

A fixed-term tenancy begins and ends on specific dates. If you leave before the tenancy ends, and the landlord is unable to re-rent the suite for the remainder of the term, you can be held liable for the rent owing.  Talk to your landlord about assigning your lease to another tenant. You have to have written consent from the landlord. A landlord must have reasonable grounds to refuse an assignment of your tenancy. A landlord who refuses to give consent must provide written reasons for the refusal. If a landlord does not respond to a request for consent within 14 days after receiving the request, the landlord is considered to have given consent.   A landlord is required to make reasonable efforts to minimize your liability for rent by trying to rent the premises to a new tenant.

Does a tenancy agreement have to be in writing?

No. An agreement can be written, oral or implied. A fully signed tenancy agreement is a legal document. Written is preferred and it must contain the following statement in print larger than the other print in the agreement.  "... 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."
Although tenancy agreements can be oral, it is often difficult or impossible to prove what was agreed to by the parties when a dispute occurs.

Do tenants have to get a copy of the written tenancy agreement?

Yes.  A landlord must deliver a fully signed copy of the written tenancy agreement to the tenant within 21 days of when the tenant gave the lease with the tenant’s signature to the landlord.  If a landlord does not give the tenant a copy, the tenant can withhold the rent until a copy is received.

If a tenant dies during a tenancy, does the estate have to pay for next month’s rent?

Yes. One month’s written notice must be given to the landlord on the first day of the month for monthly tenancies.

I have been renting a hotel room for 4 months. The landlord wants me out by tomorrow. Can the landlord evict me?

Since the Residential Tenancies Act. doesn’t apply to tenants living in a motel/hotel for less than six months, this tenancy is not covered. The tenant should review the tenancy agreement, if there is one, for direction or contact a lawyer for legal advice.

A landlady calls wanting to know what she can do about a tenant who is living in her home who continues to play his music loudly well into the night. 

You want to clarify what the lady means by a tenant. If the "tenant" is sharing accommodations with the landlord such as the kitchen, bathroom and living room, then the Residential Tenancies Act. does not cover this tenancy. In this case, the landlady should review her tenancy agreement, if there is one, for direction or contact a lawyer for legal advice.

What can I do about noisy tenants that other tenants are complaining about?

Serve a clear 14-day eviction notice (do not include the date of service or the date of termination) or apply to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, or the court for an Order for Possession.

My tenants pulled out on me in the middle of the night without providing me any notice. What can I do to recover the rent owing?

Since the tenants failed to give you proper notice, you can claim for lost rent up to the date the tenancy would have ended if the tenants had given you proper notice. You can deduct this amount from the tenant's security deposit. You are required to make every effort to re-rent the premises as soon as possible so as to reduce your losses and the resulting claims against the tenants. If you are able to re-rent your property to new tenants without losing any rent, you have no claim against the former tenants for lost rent.

What obligations do tenants have in renting premises?

 The obligations of the tenant are:

    • to pay the rent when due,
    • not to interfere in any significant manner with the rights of the landlord or other tenants in or around the premises,
    • not to perform illegal acts or carry on an illegal trade, business or occupation in or around the premises,
    • not to endanger persons or property in or around the premises,
    • not to do or permit significant damage in or around the premises,
    • to maintain the premises in a reasonably clean condition, and
    • to vacate the premises at the end of the tenancy.

If a tenant does not fulfill any of the above obligations, the tenant may have committed a substantial breach of the tenancy agreement. A landlord can terminate the tenancy by giving a clear 14- day notice to terminate or can apply to court or the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, to end the tenancy.  A substantial breach means a breach of one of the above tenant's covenants or a series of breaches of a residential tenancy agreement, the cumulative effect of which is substantial.  A tenant's continued failure to pay his rent on time could be deemed a substantial breach of a tenancy agreement.

What can a landlord do if a tenant does not move out at the end of the tenancy?

A landlord may apply to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, or a court for one or more of the following remedies:

    • recovery of rent arrears,
    • recovery of damages resulting from the breach,
    • compensation for the use of the premises by the tenant,
    • recovery of possession from the tenant,
    • termination of the tenancy because of substantial breach.

A landlord may also include a claim for the landlord’s legal costs, plus a claim for reasonable expenses of incoming tenants who obtain temporary accommodation until the premises are vacated by the over-holding tenant and who are entitled to reimbursement for those expenses from the landlord.

What can a landlord do if the tenant objects to the landlord’s notice for substantial breach and does not move out?

After receiving a written notice of objection from a tenant, a landlord can apply to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service,  or court for termination of the tenancy and an Order for Possession. 

Does a tenant have a five-day grace period to pay the rent?

No. Rent is due and payable on the first day of each tenancy period unless stated otherwise in the residential tenancy agreement.

What can I do about a tenant who hasn’t paid the rent?

 There are three options:

  1. serve a clear 14 day termination notice, or
  2. get a Distress for Rent, or
  3. apply for an Order for Possession/Monetary judgment for rent arrears through the  Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, or the court.

The landlord served me with an eviction for not paying the rent. What can I do?

 If the notice is only for not paying the rent, the notice is automatically void if all the rent is paid before the termination date in the notice.