Renting in Alberta

The governing or regulatory body for renting in Alberta is Service Alberta (www.servicealberta.ca/Landlords_Tenants.cfm). Service Alberta oversees and enforces Alberta’s Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), the legislation that sets out the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in Alberta.

A

residential tenancy agreement cannot take away any of the tenant’s rights provided by the RTA. Both the landlord and tenant should sign the residential tenancy agreement. The landlord must give a copy of the agreement to the tenant within 21 days of the time it is signed and returned to the landlord. The tenant can withhold rent until the agreement has been received. There are two types of tenancy agreements: fixed and periodic. A fixed-term tenancy begins and ends on a specific date. No notice is required to end the tenancy by either the landlord or the tenant. A periodic tenancy has a start date but no end date. Either the landlord or tenant may end a periodic tenancy by giving notice. Most periodic tenancies are month-to-month, but they can also be week-to-week or year-to-year.

Landlords usually ask tenants for a security deposit, sometimes called a damage deposit. The RTA limits the amount a landlord may ask for as a security deposit. It cannot be more than the equivalent of one month’s rent at the time the tenancy starts.

The security deposit cannot be increased as rent increases. The tenant needs to ask for a receipt for any fees paid which shows the amount, date and parties involved in the transaction. The security deposit is not to be used as the last month’s rent, which the tenant is responsible for paying.

Rent cannot be increased unless 365 days have passed since the commencement of the tenancy or the last increase in rent, whichever is later. This applies to both periodic and fixed-term tenancies. If the 365th day occurs during the term of a fixed-term tenancy, the rent cannot be increased until that fixed-term residential tenancy agreement ends.

If a landlord and tenant agree that the landlord will add services, such as an extra parking spot, with respect to the tenant’s occupancy of the residential premises, the rent can be increased at that time without notice based on the added services. Changes should be agreed to in writing.

It is mandatory for landlords and tenants to complete both a move-in and a move-out inspection report.

A landlord may enter the residential rental premises at any time with the tenant’s consent. Consent can be verbal or written. If the landlord has the tenant’s consent, no notice is required.