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In Canada, rental laws vary by province/territory and it’s important to know how these things work in your particular region so you don’t get caught off guard. For example, getting evicted can be awful no matter where you live, especially if you think your landlord is doing it wrongfully and you don’t know how to defend your rights as a tenant.
Are you an Alberta resident worrying about eviction? Your worries are valid when you consider the province’s high cost of living and the effort it takes to find a new rental. Read this to learn what you can do if you receive an eviction notice in Alberta.
Reasons You Can Get Evicted In Alberta
If your landlord tries to evict you, it’s probably because you’ve broken your rental agreement in some way. The most common reasons for eviction in Alberta include:
Failure To Pay Rent
In Canada, a tenant cannot legally refuse to pay rent, which many do to get their landlord to deal with repairs or other issues. Although late payments or negotiations may be possible, landlords aren’t obligated to give you a break and are entitled to collect rent on its due date, no questions asked.
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Breach Of Rental Contract
There are several other ways an Alberta resident can break the terms of their rental, like living with an unregistered tenant or moving without notice. Some tenants also make the mistake of modifying the property or doing other things without permission (smoking, owning pets, etc.).
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Damage Or Abuse
Causing a significant amount of damage to the property is another easy way to get evicted in Alberta. So is disturbing or potentially harming other people while on the premises. Not only would these problems be a substantial breach of contract, but they could also get you in trouble with the law.
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What Is The Eviction Process Like In Alberta?
In Alberta, a landlord must give you a written notice, along with an official eviction and tenancy cancellation date before they’re legally allowed to kick you off their property. Here’s how the process typically goes:
- The landlord has to give you an adequate warning of the eviction. You can then protest the notice unless it’s because you didn’t pay rent or utilities.
- If a dispute is made, the landlord can bring the case to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) or to court.
- The landlord will file an order to cancel the tenancy and reclaim possession of the property, which both parties can present arguments for or against.
- However, some landlords and tenants will settle the issue and agree on a termination date to avoid the hassle and costs of a court or RTDRS case.
- If the eviction is deemed valid, the tenant will have a specific amount of time to remove their possessions and vacate the premises.
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How Much Notice Does Your Landlord Have To Give In Alberta?
Alberta landlords can serve you with three types of eviction notices:
24-Hour Minimum Notice
If you’re being evicted because you’ve destroyed a part of the property or committed some sort of serious crime, like assaulting or threatening another tenant, a landlord can give you at least 24-hours to vacate.
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48-Hour And 14-Day Minimum Notice
This kind of eviction often occurs when a tenant is living in your rental without permission. Once again, the landlord can go to court or contact the RTDRS if the unauthorized person refuses to leave.
14-Day Minimum Notice
This is a more common type of eviction that happens when a tenant commits a “substantial” breach of contract. Reasons include not paying rent or willfully doing anything else the landlord has explicitly forbidden.
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What Happens If You Disagree With A Notice Of Eviction?
In Alberta, there are few different ways that a landlord or tenant may respond to the terms of an eviction notice:
- Landlords – There are some instances where a landlord will object to their own 14-day eviction order after it’s been stayed or complied with. If the landlord draws up the objection in writing within 7 days of your notice, the eviction will be voided.
- Tenants – To object to an eviction notice, you must give your landlord a written dispute with a viable explanation before your 14-day period is up. If you refuse to leave after 14 days, the landlord can contact the RTDRS or bring you to court.
Prior to disputing an eviction notice in Alberta, keep in mind that your landlord can’t legally evict you from the property until an official RTDRS or court order has been made.
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What Happens If Your Landlord Files An Eviction Application In Court Or With The RTDRS?
In Alberta, your landlord can file an eviction order in:
- The Provincial Court – If they’re seeking reparations for damages or lack of rent to a maximum of $50,000, the landlord can bring the case before a Provincial Court judge. After all required forms are filled out, the landlord and tenant will be given an official hearing date, where both parties can defend their cases.
- The Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service – Many landlords file evictions through the RTDRS, which is cheaper and easier than court. Here, both parties can argue and present evidence before a Tenancy Dispute Officer (TDO) during a hearing. If no verdict is reached, the case may be sent to court instead.
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What Happens During A Hearing With The RTDRS?
As mentioned, all physical hearings and teleconferences that go through the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service are overseen by a Tenancy Dispute Officer. During the hearing, the TDO will list verbal reasons for the case and may decide to follow the Hearing Procedure Chart or modify the terms slightly to fit the situation.
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Once the hearing is in session, tenants and landlords can present their arguments. If the case isn’t too complicated, a verdict should be reached by the end of the process.
That said, certain things may delay judgement, like a party being ejected from the hearing for bad behaviour or a TDO reserving their decision due to other complications. In that event, all parties will receive a verbal or written confirmation by mail, telephone or in-person, along with a written copy of the final order within the next 30 days.
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What Happens After A Hearing With The RTDRS?
When the hearing concludes, your TDO will provide their judgement, as well as a verbal explanation for it. If the case doesn’t go to court, there are several types of orders they may issue to the landlord or tenant, any of which can be valid for up to 10 years:
Order Of Possession And/Or Judgement
If receiving judgement for a tenancy termination, possession of the rental or unpaid rent/utilities, a landlord can file an unconditional or conditional order. In the event of a conditional order, the tenant is legally obligated to pay what they owe if they want to remain on the property.
Dismissal Or Withdrawal Orders
The Tenancy Dispute Officer must also pass judgement if one of the applications withdraws their dispute or the order does not have enough backing to be considered valid. Dismissals can occur when an applicant relinquishes their application or fails to show up for their hearing.
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Prior to or during the hearing, it’s possible that the landlord and tenant will settle their differences some other way. If that’s the case and the TDO decides that no judgement is necessary, a new agreement and order will be drawn up, along with a new list of rental conditions for the tenant to follow.
Referral To Court Order
If a dispute doesn’t fall under the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act or Residential Tenancies Act, the TDO may reserve judgement and send the case to court. This can also occur if the case is too complex or involves issues that a TDO can’t authorize (human rights, constitutional law, etc.).
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Order Of Judgement
A traditional order of judgement may apply to a tenant or landlord that’s seeking reparation for various issues, including but not limited to:
- Unpaid rent or utilities
- Return of security deposit
- Physical damages the rental property has endured
- Duties the landlord or tenant must perform
- Financial damages that break the rental agreement, the Residential Tenancies Act or the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act.
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How long do I have to respond to my landlord’s eviction notice?
- Provide the landlord with a certified written explanation for the dispute
- Give said dispute to your landlord before your 14-day grace period ends
Not Sure What Your Rights Are A Renter Or Landlord?
Remember, every part of Canada has different regulations when it comes to rental properties and any parties involved. So, if you’ve recently been given an eviction notice or you’re worried about being evicted in Alberta, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney and the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service to find out what your rights are.
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