Types of Leases / Information a Lease Should Include / Where to Purchase Forms / Frequently Asked Questions
Lost your job? Looking to leave your lease early?
See our new tip sheet If Your Employment Ends or check out our FAQ – Can the landlord or tenant ever “break the lease”?
A lease is a contract between a landlord and a tenant (or tenants) that sets out the rules both parties will follow. Leases are also known as residential tenancy agreements or rental contracts.
Leases usually include terms from the Residential Tenancies Act. For example, leases will often include information about when and why notice can be given to end a residential tenancy agreement, which is an issue covered under the law.
The Residential Tenancies Act will always be enforced over any agreement that the landlord and tenant make on their own. If the law is silent on a particular issue, then the landlord and tenant can agree to anything, as long as it is not illegal. For example, the lease will usually contain terms about whether pets are allowed, which is not covered under the law. Landlords and tenants are left to come up with their own agreements about pets.
Types of Leases
A periodic tenancy means that there is no end date included in the residential tenancy agreement. The tenant can continue to live in the property until either the tenant or landlord gives notice to end the tenancy. There are different kinds of periodic tenancies, including monthly periodic tenancies (where the tenant agrees to rent month-to-month and pay rent on a monthly basis) and weekly periodic tenancies (where the tenant agrees to rent week-to-week and pay rent on weekly basis).
A fixed term lease means that the tenant agrees to rent the premises for a fixed length of time. There is an end date written in the lease. For example, a tenant agrees to rent a property for six months. At the end of the agreed time, it is assumed that the tenant will move out and no longer live there. Neither a tenant nor a landlord can end a fixed term lease early unless the other party agrees.
What Information a Lease Should Include
Here are some of the things that a lease should include:
- Names of all the people who are living in the rental unit (i.e. apartment, house, basement suite);
- Name and contact information of the landlord;
- Address of the place being rented;
- Amount of rent, when it is due, how it is to be paid, and to whom;
- Date the tenancy is to start and the kind of lease (periodic or fixed term);
- Amount of the security deposit;
- Any additional fees (late rent fee, pet fee, key fee, etc.);
- What utilities are included and what are not;
- Responsibility for maintenance and repairs;
- If there is a yard, who is responsible for maintaining it (for example, cutting grass, shovelling snow, etc);
- Rules regarding subletting or assigning the lease; and
- Insurance requirements.
Every written residential tenancy agreement has to include the following statement in larger print than the rest of the agreement: “The tenancy created by this agreement is governed by the Residential Tenancies Act and if there is a conflict between the agreement and the Act, the Act prevails.”
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.
Where to purchase leases and forms
There are some organizations in Alberta that have developed leases for the Residential Tenancies Act and made the forms available for purchase. For more information, go to our page on forms.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the lease have to be in writing?
What can be included in the lease?
Can the landlord or tenant ever “break the lease”?
Can the landlord require a tenant to provide proof of insurance as a condition of the lease?
Does everyone who is living in the property have to be named on the lease?
The lease says that no pets are allowed. Is this legal?
What happens at the end of a fixed term lease?
Tools to Help