Common Questions - Landlords and Tenants


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Questions:

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 at the end of the agreement.

What is a periodic tenancy?

A periodic tenancy renews or continues weekly, monthly, or yearly 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.

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.  "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."  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.

What is an 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 are complete, the landlord must give the tenant a copy of the report at the time of move-in and move-out.  

A landlord can do the inspection reports without the tenant if the tenant or the tenant’s agent has been offered, and refused, two 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.

If landlords do not complete the inspection reports, they can’t make deductions from the tenant’s security deposit for damages or cleaning.   The landlord may still make an application through 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.  See Residential Tenancies Ministerial Regulation and Information for Landlords.

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 tenants’ 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 or Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, the breach or contravention should cause the tenancy to be terminated.

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 at least a 14-day notice to terminate or 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 tenants 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. 

The Residential Tenancies Act says that a tenant must be given notice at least 14 clear days before the tenancy is to end. This means that the day the notice is given and the day the tenancy ends do not count as part of the 14 days. For example, if a landlord gives the tenant notice on the fourth of the month, the earliest day the tenancy can end is the 19th of the same month.

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.

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. See Landlord and Tenant 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 the landlord and tenant

Can the landlord require a tenant to sign a rental agreement and inspection report eight months after the tenant has moved into the rental unit? 

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.

Can a tenant sublet or assign the balance of their fixed-term lease to another person?

A fixed-term tenancy begins and ends on specific dates. If the tenant leaves before the tenancy ends, and the landlord is unable to re-rent the suite for the remainder of the term, the tenant can be held liable for the rent owing.  Talk to the landlord about assigning or subletting the lease to another tenant. The tenant must have written consent from the landlord. A landlord must have reasonable grounds to refuse an assignment or sublease of the 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 the tenant’s liability for rent by trying to rent the premises to a new tenant.  A landlord may not charge a fee or other consideration for giving consent to an assignment or sublease.

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 periodic tenancies.

In a fixed-term tenancy, the estate could be held responsible until the end of the tenancy, or until the rental premises are re-rented, whichever occurs first.  A landlord is required to make reasonable efforts to re-rent the premises.

What is a security deposit and how much can it be?

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.

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 make deductions from a security deposit for restoration or repair costs resulting from normal wear and tear?

A landlord cannot make deductions from a security deposit for restoration or repair 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.

A tenant gave proper written notice to terminate their tenancy and a final inspection report was completed.   They provided the landlord with their new address and moved out two months ago and have received nothing.

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 the tenant 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 the tenant gave up possession of the premises.

A tenant paid a $500 security deposit and signed a residential tenancy agreement to rent a suite for the beginning of next month.  The tenant’s roommate has backed out and now the tenant can't afford the rent. The landlord says he can keep the money.

The landlord could be holding the security deposit as liquidated damages for not renting his suite. Depending on the circumstances, a tenant may decide to sue their landlord through court or the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service to try and get the security deposit back. For example, was the landlord able to find another tenant or did the suite sit vacant for a month?

Can a tenant demand the landlord use their security deposit for the last month’s rent?

No.  If the tenant does not pay rent for the last month, the landlord could serve at least a 14-day notice to terminate the tenancy for non-payment of rent, or obtain a Distress for Rent (see note) or apply for an Order for Possession from the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service or the courts.

The Residential Tenancies Act says that a tenant must be given notice at least 14 clear days before the tenancy is to end. This means that the day the notice is given and the day the tenancy ends do not count as part of the 14 days. For example, if a landlord gives the tenant notice on the fourth of the month, the earliest day the tenancy can end is the 19th of the same month.

Note: Distress for Rent is a remedy that a landlord can use to recover unpaid rent without having to go to court. The process of distress allows a landlord to hire a civil enforcement agency to seize property on the rented premises that belongs to the tenant in order to recover rent money that is owed. The property can then be sold and the proceeds used to repay the rent and costs incurred by the landlord.

Can a landlord charge 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 money is held by the landlord as security and will be returned to the tenant, it is considered 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?

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

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.

If the bank is not paying any interest on security deposit trust accounts, why does the landlord have to pay interest to tenants on their security deposits?  Does the interest have to be compounded?

The landlord has to pay interest annually when the security deposit is money.

For a list of current interest rates see Information for Landlords.  To calculate the interest owing, see Security Deposit Interest Calculator.

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 Branch Financial. 

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 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 to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service or the courts to recover damages.

If a new landlord takes over a rental property, and the former landlord did not pay interest annually to the tenants on their security deposits, is the new landlord obligated to pay this interest to the tenants?

Yes. The new landlord is responsible for paying the interest to these tenants.

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.

What can a tenant do if they disagree with the deductions that their landlord has listed on the statement of account?

A tenant should contact their landlord in writing and identify the amounts that are in dispute.  If they cannot resolve their dispute, the tenant can apply to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service or to court to resolve the dispute. A lawyer is not required.  Mediation can also be requested through the Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board (Edmonton and Fort McMurray).  Both landlord and tenant must agree to this procedure.

What happens if a tenant moves out in the middle of the night without providing any notice? What can the landlord do to recover the rent owing?

Since the tenant failed to give proper notice, the landlord can claim for lost rent up to the date the tenancy would have ended if the tenant had given proper notice. This amount can be deducted from the tenant's security deposit. The landlord is required to make every effort to re-rent the premises as soon as possible so as to reduce losses and the resulting claims against the tenant. If the landlord is able to re-rent the property to a new tenant without losing any rent, they have no claim against the former tenant for lost rent.

The landlord changed the locks on the residential premises. Can he do this?

No. Landlords may add or change locks only 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. See Filing a Complaint with Consumer Services.

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 only 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.

When and under what circumstances can a landlord enter the residential premises?

The landlord may enter the residential premises without permission and without giving the tenant any notice for two reasons:

  • If the landlord believes there is an emergency;
  • If the landlord believes the tenant has abandoned the residential premises.

    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 take necessary steps to control pests in the premises to ensure that the premises meet standards in that regard that are required under any law in force in Alberta,
      • 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.

    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.

    The notice of entry must state the reason for entry, be signed by the landlord or their agent, and name a date and reasonable time of entry.

    If the landlord comes to the door and the tenant lets him in, then consent has been given and there is no violation.

    Can a landlord evict a tenant during the winter months?

    Yes.

    Two roommates are renting the premises.  One roommate pays their portion of the rent but the other roommate does not.  Can the landlord evict them?

    If a tenancy agreement is signed along with someone else, the landlord can require one or both of the tenants to pay the rent. Since one roommate has not paid his portion of the rent, the landlord can ask the other tenant to pay this amount. The landlord can evict both roommates for non-payment of rent.

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

     There are three options:

    1. serve at least a 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 Residential Tenancies Act says that a tenant must be given notice at least 14 clear days before the tenancy is to end. This means that the day the notice is given and the day the tenancy ends do not count as part of the 14 days. For example, if a landlord gives the tenant notice on the fourth of the month, the earliest day the tenancy can end is the 19th of the same month.

    Note: Distress for Rent is a remedy that a landlord can use to recover unpaid rent without having to go to court. The process of distress allows a landlord to hire a civil enforcement agency to seize property on the rented premises that belongs to the tenant in order to recover rent money that is owed. The property can then be sold and the proceeds used to repay the rent and costs incurred by the landlord.

    The landlord served an eviction notice for not paying the rent. What can the tenant 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.  A tenant cannot object to an eviction 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 Residential Tenancies Act for which the landlord can be charged. A tenant can file a written complaint with Service Alberta.  Refer to the tips: Filing a Complaint with Consumer Services.

    A landlord wants to serve an eviction notice to the tenants. They hear voices inside but no one comes to the door when the doorbell is rung. What can the landlord do?

    Notices must be served personally, by registered mail or certified mail. If the landlord is unable to serve a tenant by reason of the tenant evading service or the tenant's 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.

    If a landlord is unable to serve a notice by any means referred to above, the notice may be sent through electronic means that will result in a printed copy of the notice.  The sender has to ask for acknowledgment and the recipient has to acknowledge their receipt of the notice.

    A landlord has rented to his tenant for six months. Every month the landlord has to chase the tenant to get the rent paid. Is there anything the landlord 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 the tenant has committed a substantial breach of the tenancy agreement.  A substantial breach means a breach of one of the following tenants’ 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 rent on time constitutes a substantial breach of a tenancy agreement.

    The Residential Tenancies Act states that a tenant must be given notice at least 14 clear days before the tenancy is to end. This means that the day the notice is given and the day the tenancy ends do not count as part of the 14 days. For example, if a landlord gives the tenant notice on the fourth of the month, the earliest day the tenancy can end is the 19th of the same month.

    There are tenants in the building who are always fighting.  Can the landlord do something about this?

    A 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 tenant or someone permitted on the premises by the tenant.

    A landlord can serve at least a 14-day eviction notice to the tenant.  The notice must be in writing, be signed by the landlord or their agent, state the reason for eviction, and state the date the tenancy ends.

    The Residential Tenancies Act says that a tenant must be given notice at least 14 clear days before the tenancy is to end. This means that the day the notice is given and the day the tenancy ends do not count as part of the 14 days. For example, if a landlord gives the tenant notice on the fourth of the month, the earliest day the tenancy can end is the 19th of the same month.

    Alternatively the landlord can apply to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service or the court for an Order for Possession.

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

    If a tenant disputes the reasons in the eviction notice (other than for non-payment of rent), they may provide a written notice of objection identifying the reasons why they are objecting to the eviction.  This objection must be provided to the landlord prior to the date the eviction notice becomes effective.  This will void the eviction notice. 

    After receiving a written notice of objection from a tenant, a landlord can apply to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) or court for termination of the tenancy and an Order for Possession.  The court or RTDRS will determine whether the reasons for eviction are valid.

    What time does the tenancy end on last day of the tenancy month?

    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.

    Does the landlord have to provide their contact information? 

    Within seven days of a tenant taking possession of the premises, a landlord is required to serve a notice of landlord with their name and street and postal address in Canada. 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 if the rental premises are being converted to a condominium?

    The tenant must be given at least 365 days written notice.  The notice must be signed by the landlord or their agent, set out the reason for the termination, identify the premises for which the notice is served, and state the date the tenancy ends.

    The Residential Tenancies Ministerial Regulation states that a tenant must be given notice at least 365 days before the tenancy is to end. This means that the day the notice is given and the day the tenancy ends do not count as part of the 365 days.   

    How much notice of termination must a landlord give 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.  

    The Residential Tenancies Ministerial Regulation states that a tenant must be given notice at least 365 days before the tenancy is to end. This means that the day the notice is given and the day the tenancy ends do not count as part of the 365 days.   

    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.

    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 common areas, 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 (RTDRS) 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.

    When can a landlord end a periodic tenancy?

    The only reasons landlords can terminate periodic tenancies for 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 tenancy is a benefit of employment and the tenant’s 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 for the reasons above, 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 weeks duration, whichever period is longest.

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

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

    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 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.

    How much notice does a landlord have to give 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.

    The notice must be served prior to the first day of the tenancy month.

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

    A landlord put a note in the tenant’s mailbox to say the rent is going up $200.00 next month. The tenant is 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.  The notice must be served prior to the first day of the three month period. Since the landlord has not provided the proper notice, this notice is invalid. The landlord will have to issue a new notice.  Landlords cannot increase the rent unless at least 365 days have 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 the landlord feels the tenant is avoiding the service, the landlord could give the notice to an adult residing in the premises, or post the notice in a conspicuous place on the premises.

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

    A tenant was in the process of moving out because the landlord evicted them. Now the landlord has removed the rest of the tenant’s belongings and won't give them back unless all rent arrears for the last two months are paid. Can he do this?

    No.  The landlord cannot hold tenants 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. 

    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 of Service Alberta.

    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 does a tenant deal with bedbugs in their apartment?

    The tenant should notify the 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  My Health Alberta website.

    The landlord won't fix anything in the apartment. The heat has been off for three days. What can a tenant do?

    Health issues such as having no heat should be reported to the Health Unit.  A public health inspector will inspect properties for health and safety concerns.  See Alberta Health Services, Programs & Services.

    In some cases, tenants may elect to have the repairs completed and then apply to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service or 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.

    Can a landlord refuse an application to rent premises because of a person’s place of origin, religious beliefs, source of income etc.

    Individuals who believe that a landlord has discriminated against them may contact Alberta Human Rights Commission

    Where can a tenant file a complaint against a landlord?

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

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

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

    Does the legislation apply when a landlord and tenant are sharing the living accommodations? 

    If the tenant is sharing the living accommodations with the landlord such as the kitchen, bathroom and living room, then the Residential Tenancies Act does not apply.  The tenancy agreement would govern this type of tenancy.