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Whether you’re a tenant or landlord, you should understand your rights and responsibilities under the Landlord and Tenant Act in Alberta. This Act keeps all parties in check and ensures that everyone is treated fairly. 

Let’s take a closer look at this Act to help you understand your obligations and protections if your rights are violated.

What Is The Landlord And Tenant Act, Alberta? 

The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) in Alberta sets standards that landlords and tenants in the province must adhere to. The Act is the law that oversees lease agreements, including fixed- and periodic-term tenancies. It outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties of all parties involved in a lease.  

Rental Rights And Responsibilities According To The Landlord And Tenant Act Alberta

Both tenants and landlords need to meet their own requirements, as per the RTA.

Tenant Rental Rights And Responsibilities 

Under the Residential Tenancies Act in Alberta, tenants are required to comply with the following:

  • Pay rent on time
  • Keep the premises clean
  • Not damage the property
  • Not put other tenants in danger
  • Not conduct illegal activity or business on the premises
  • Be considerate of other tenants and the landlord
  • Vacate the premises when the lease agreement ends
  • Follow all rules of the lease that are not in conflict with the RTA

Landlord Rental Rights And Responsibilities 

Landlords also have responsibilities, including the following:

  • Ensure the rental unit is available on the date the lease takes effect
  • Provide the tenant with written notice within seven days of the tenant moving in, or post the notice in a common area of the complex for others to see
  • Not interfere with the tenant’s peaceful enjoyment of the premises 
  • Keep the premises in habitable condition

What Happens Under The RTA If I Can’t Pay Rent?

Under the RTA, tenants are required to pay their rent on time. But what if you can’t afford to pay rent? 

If you’re experiencing financial troubles that are getting in the way of making your rent payment next month, you’ll need to take steps to deal with the situation. Here are a few options to consider.

Speak To Your Landlord 

Maybe you had to drop a large chunk of money on an unexpected expense, leaving you with little money to cover your entire rent. Or maybe your hours at work have been cut, or you were laid off. Or perhaps your landlord is increasing your rent, and it’s now a little out of your financial reach.

Whatever the case, you’ll need to speak with your landlord immediately. Waiting to get evicted is never a good idea. If you’ve been a good tenant up until now, your landlord might be willing to forgo the rent increase, at least for a little while longer. 

If you absolutely cannot make your rent payment on time next month, even without a rent increase, ask your landlord for an extension. This is a temporary solution, as your landlord will likely not agree to perpetually late or missed rent payments. If your financial woes last longer than a month or two, consider other options.

Apply For A Personal Loan 

You want to be on time for next month’s rent payment, but you also need the money to cover it in full. Rather than being late on your rent, consider taking out a personal loan. You can use the funds from the loan to make your rent payment in full and on time. Meanwhile, you can make much smaller repayments over the long term to pay back the loan.

Personal Loan Example

For instance, let’s say you won’t be able to pay rent for the next six months. If your rent is currently $1,400 per month. That means you’d need $8,400 to cover half a year’s worth of rent. 

With a personal loan, you can borrow $8,400. This would ensure that rent will be paid in full for a few months until you get back on your feet. In the meantime, an $8,400 personal loan at a rate of 6% and a loan term of 5 years would require monthly payments of $162.40 until the loan is paid back. That’s a lot less than the $1,400 that your landlord would expect every month.

A personal loan can be a good alternative to being late on your rent payment, especially if you qualify for a low rate. But before you apply, make sure you check your credit score first, as this will impact the type of interest rate you can qualify for. You can check your credit score for free using Loans Canada’s CompareHub.

Use Your Credit Card 

Landlords don’t usually accept credit cards as a method of rent payment. Instead, they typically take cheques, direct deposits, or cash. But there are third-party rent pay services and apps you can use that collect your credit card payment and deposit the money into your landlord’s account for you. Within a couple of days, your landlord will receive the payment, and your rent will be considered paid.

Using your credit card ensures that your rent is paid on time. Without having to come up with the full amount by the rent due date. Plus, you can earn rewards points and build good credit with timely payments. You’ll then have a lot more time to come up with the money to pay your credit card bill. 

Remember, Credit Cards Are Expensive 

You can carry your balance over and make the minimum payment. Just keep in mind that carrying a balance month over month will cost you more in interest and make it more difficult to pay off your credit card debt.

Also, using your credit card to pay your rent makes the most sense if you’re in a temporary financial predicament and are a little short on cash this month. If your financial troubles are expected to last for the long haul due to the loss of a job or other significant issues. You may need to seek other alternatives.

Want to buy a house in Alberta? This is the average cost of a house.

How Your Rights And Responsibilities Change Under The Landlord And Tenant Act Alberta When You Rent A Condo

The rules that landlords and tenants must follow differ when it comes to condominium rentals. More specifically, condo owners who rent their units are required to comply with the regulations stipulated under the Condominium Property Act. If any part of the Condominium Property Act clashes with the RTA, then the former would apply.

Tenant Responsibilities 

In addition to their requirements under the RTA, tenants who rent condo units also have the following obligations: 

  • Comply with the bylaws of the condo corporation
  • Pay rent to the condo corporation rather than the landlord if required by the corporation

Owner Responsibilities

Condo unit owners who rent out their units must inform the condo corporation in writing of the following: 

  • Their intention to rent out their unit
  • Their address 
  • The rent amount they’re charging
  • The tenant’s name (required within 20 days of the start of the lease) 
  • The date the unit is vacated by the tenant (required within 20 days of the end of the lease)

Condo unit owners must also do the following:

  • Pay a deposit upon the request of the condo corporation 
  • Agree that the tenant will not cause damage to the property
  • Notify the tenant of the condo corporation’s bylaws and include them as a condition of the tenancy

Corporation Responsibilities

The condo corporation may ask an owner for a deposit of $1,000 or one month’s rent, whichever is greater. The deposit can be used to cover the cost of repairs or replacements as a result of the tenant damaging, destroying, or removing items by the tenant.

Condo owners must provide the condo corporation with written notice within 20 days after the end of a lease. The condo corporation must then return the deposit to the owner within 20 days of receiving the notice, minus any deductions. No interest is required to be paid on the deposit. 

What Can You Do If The Tenant Or Landlord Isn’t Abiding By The Landlord And Tenant Act Alberta?

If there is an issue between tenants and landlords, attempts should be made to resolve the issue amongst each other. Failing this, tenants and landlords can file a complaint with Service Alberta or with the Residential Tenancies Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS). Otherwise, more extreme situations may have to be dealt with in court.

What Can Be Included In The Lease According To The RTA?

Some clauses may be included in a lease agreement in Alberta, while others cannot.

Clauses Permitted in a Lease 

  • Payment for utilities. This clause explains who is responsible for paying the utilities, such as electricity, gas, water, and cable. If the tenant is responsible for covering the utilities. Then the clause should detail how and when the payments must be made. 
  • Subletting. If the tenant wishes to sublet their unit, they may need the landlord’s permission to sublease the property. If so, all conditions of the sublease must be specified. 
  • Smoking. Landlords are allowed to include a non-smoking clause in a lease.
  • Pets. Landlords may include a clause in a lease that specifies whether or not pets are allowed. If they are, the landlord may also place restrictions on the breed or size of the pet. As well as how many pets are permitted. Landlords cannot charge a pet deposit, but they can charge a fee on top of a security deposit.

Clauses Not Permitted in a Lease

  • No guests. Landlords cannot restrict tenants from having guests, roommates, or additional occupants. However, if the landlord believes that others are living in the unit.  They have the right to either remove the person(s) or have their name(s) added to the lease. 
  • Money for repairs. Landlords cannot demand payment to cover the repairs they are responsible for, including electrical or plumbing services. 
  • Additional deposits. Landlords are only permitted to ask for a refundable security deposit equivalent to no more than one month’s rent.

Final Thoughts

Tenants and landlords enjoy a variety of rights, but they also have specific responsibilities to meet. The Landlord and Tenant Act in Alberta outlines all the respective rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords to ensure all parties are treated fairly. Ensure you understand your obligations before entering into a lease agreement.

Landlord and Tenant Act in Alberta FAQs

Where can I get help regarding my rights as a tenant?

To find out more about renting in Alberta, reach out to the RTA:
  • By phone: 1-780-427-4088 or 1-877-427-4088
  • By email: rta@gov.ab.ca

Is an inspection report required in Alberta?

The Residential Tenancies Act requires landlords to provide tenants with a written move-in and move-out inspection report. This details the rental unit’s condition and helps tenants prove that any damage was not caused while living there.  Move-in inspection reports must be completed within one week before or after the tenant moves in. The move-out inspection report must be completed one week before or after the tenant vacates the premises. Landlords must hold on to these inspection reports for a minimum of three years after the lease ends.

How much notice do tenants have to give landlords before moving out?

The amount of notice required depends on the type of lease agreement in question: 
  • Fixed-term leases: At least 60 days’ notice before the last day of a lease year.
  • Month-to-month leases: At least one month’s notice. 
  • Week-to-week leases: At least one week’s notice.
The exception to these rules is if the tenant’s safety is at risk. In this case, the tenant can terminate their lease early without repercussions.
Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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