Alberta Landlord-Tenant Law Summary
What does a landlord need to do before a tenancy is started?
Conducting tenant screening by verifying the applicant's credit history, criminal history and rental history is crucial in an effort to choose the best tenant. In order to facilitate the screening process, it is important to gain information and legal permission from the applicant, which can be done with a rental application.
Must a landlord conduct an inspection of the rental unit?
In Alberta it is mandatory to do an inspection with an Alberta Walk-Through Checklist within one week before move-in and move-out. Both the landlord and the tenant must then keep a signed copy when the inspection is completed. If a landlord fails to conduct an inspection or complete an inspection report, the landlord may be prevented from making any deductions from the security deposit (AKA damage deposit).
Is a written lease required?
Although a written lease agreement is not specifically required by the Alberta Residential Tenancies Act, it is an essential document. Where this is a written agreement, if any of the terms or clauses are not in compliance with the Act, the Act prevails. The landlord must give the tenant a copy of the signed lease agreement within 21 days after it is signed.
Is the landlord or tenant responsible for maintaining the rental unit?
The landlord has a responsibility to make sure that the rental unit is safe, and in compliance with all Alberta and local health and fire regulations. The Act does not specify who is or is not responsible for overall maintenance and repairs. These items must be detailed in the lease agreement.
What procedures must a landlord follow if he must enter the rental unit?
The landlord must give 24 hours written notice to the tenant before entering the unit. The landlord may give the 24 hours written notice to do any inspections or repairs, or show the property to prospective tenants or purchasers. If the landlord is showing the property to prospective tenants, he/she may only show the property at the end of the month, after presenting a 24 hour written notice. If the landlord has reason to believe that an emergency exists, no notice is needed. WARNING: Neither landlord or tenant may change the locks to the leased premises without giving access or replacement key to the other immediately.
May a landlord charge a security deposit/damage deposit?
The landlord may charge a security deposit, or damage deposit, where the amount is equal to no more than one months rent. If the landlord would like to add a fee for keys, it must be included in the security deposit and counted towards the one month maximum amount.
When are rent increases allowed?
The amount of rent may not be increased until 12 months have elapsed from the beginning of the tenancy. And if the amount of rent was increased before, then the landlord must wait another period of 12 months before increasing the amount again. If a fixed term lease is used which is a lease with a specific ending date, then the landlord must wait until the end of the tenancy before increasing the rent. There are no laws restricting the amount of rent increase but when serving a notice of rent increase, the landlord must abide by Alberta’s laws. For a weekly tenancy, the landlord must give at least 12 tenancy weeks in advance to the day of rent increase, to serve the notice. If the landlord wants to increase the rent in a monthly tenancy, he/she must serve the notice of increase at least three tenancy months before the day of rent increase. For a periodic tenancy (e.g. one year), the landlord must wait at least 90 days before the day of rent increase, to serve the notice.
What procedures are to be followed by a landlord to end a periodic tenancy?
A notice must be given to the tenant in writing. The notice period will vary depending on the length of tenancy. The reason must be specified and whomever gives the notice to the tenant must sign the notice; either the landlord or the landlord’s agent. A landlord may not end a fixed-term tenancy mid-term without cause, however a landlord may choose not to renew the fixed-term lease upon its expiration.
What can a landlord do when a tenant is not paying rent?
A landlord may send the proper eviction notice, granting the non-paying tenant 14 days to vacate or pay. There is also the option to apply to the Residential Dispute Resolution Service or the court to end the tenancy.
What can a landlord do if the tenant abandons personal property in the rental premises?
If the items left behind are believed to be in value under $2000, then the landlord may dispose of the abandoned property as they see fit. If there is any money from the sale of the items, the money first will go to any costs of storage or removal as well as any outstanding debt to the landlord. Anything leftover will be paid to the Minister.
If the abandoned items are believed to be worth more than $2000, and the landlord believes storing the belongings would ruin the items, be unsafe OR the cost of storing, moving or selling the items will cost more than the items are actually worth, the landlord will have the option to sell the goods at a reasonable price. After the money received is applied to any costs of storage, sale as well as any outstanding debt of the tenant, the balance will be paid to the Minister of Service Alberta. Please note: If the property is worth more than $2000 and the cost of storing, selling and/or moving will NOT exceed the value, the landlord must provide storage for 30 days from the date of the abandonment. After the 30 days elapse, the landlord may sell the items at a public auction or by a private sale (only upon approval of the court or the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service.) As stated above, any excess after costs shall be paid to the Minster.
How do I contact the Minister of Service Alberta?
The telephone number is toll-free 310-0000, then dial 780-644-3000 or email email@example.com.