The lease should include all of the things that the tenant is responsible for, and all of the things the landlord is responsible for. The lease should include all of the rights and responsibilities of both parties.
There are many practical aspects of renting a place to live that should be dealt with by the lease agreement. At a minimum, a residential tenancy agreement should cover the following items:
- Names and addresses of the parties to the contract (i.e., the landlord and tenant or tenants).
- Date of the agreement.
- Names of all those who will be living in the premises, including children and a description of any pets.
- Address of the premises to be rented and anything else necessary to further define the accommodation. For example, a rental agreement may include other facilities such as a parking stall or storage area. Tenants should be aware any property they leave at these facilities (i.e. parking stall or storage room) may be subject to seizure in the event of enforcement proceedings for non-payment of rent. For example, where a parking stall is included as part of the rental agreement, a landlord may seize a tenant’s vehicle from the parking stall if rent isn’t paid.
- Privileges that the tenant is entitled to as a tenant. For example, use of a swimming pool, exercise room, etc.
- Date the tenancy is to start and whether the tenancy is periodic or fixed term.
- Amount of rent to be paid, when it is to be paid, how it is to be paid (by cheque, automatic withdrawal, cash), and any late fees that might apply.
- How the tenancy may be ended, including notice periods.
- Whether there is to be a security deposit, the amount of the deposit, and details of what the deposit covers.
- Who pays for utilities and other services, such as cable TV.
- Extra fees like parking and key deposits.
- Furniture or appliances included in the rental agreement.
- Whether pets are allowed.
- Who is responsible for maintenance and repairs.
- When inspections of the premises will be carried out.
- Responsibility for jobs like snow shovelling.
- Rules regarding subletting or assigning the lease.
- Insurance requirements.
- Procedures that the landlord will follow if there is a complaint about the tenant.
- Other terms to which the parties have specifically agreed.
Landlords may also provide tenants with details of other rules relating to the building that tenants will have to follow, but that are not mentioned specifically in the lease. For example, condominium bylaws or building regulations governing matters such as refuse storage and collection, smoking, etc.
There are some organizations in Alberta that have developed leases for the Residential Tenancies Act and made the forms available for purchase. The organizations who have forms for sale include:
- Alberta Residential Landlord Association
- Calgary Residential Rental Association
- Edmonton: Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board
- Medicine Hat Community Housing Society
- Red Deer: Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Society
- Wood Buffalo / Fort McMurray: Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board