Need to know
- Both landlords and tenants have rights and responsibilities when renting.
- The rules that landlords and tenants must follow fall into two groups: rules in laws (for example, the Residential Tenancies Act or the Condominium Property Act) and rules in the rental agreement.
- There are legal consequences when a tenant or landlord does not follow rules when renting.
Tenants must follow the rules outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) and the rules in the rental agreement.
Tenant’s rules under the RTA
The RTA sets outs the rules (also known as covenants) a tenant must follow, which include:
- Pay the rent as required by the tenancy agreement. A landlord can issue an eviction notice if a tenant does not pay rent.
- Look after the rental unit, keep it clean, and not damage it or the common areas of the property.
- Do not interfere with the rights of the landlord or tenants in other units.
- Cannot do anything illegal in the rental unit or common areas of the property.
- Do not endanger or threaten other people or property in the rental unit or common areas.
- Move out of the rental unit at the end of a fixed term tenancy. For periodic tenancies, give the required notice to end the tenancy, in writing, and move out by the date given to the landlord.
- Do not change the locks without permission from the landlord.
Tenants also have to follow rules that they agree to in the rental agreement. These rules cover things not included in the RTA, such as:
- whether or not the tenant can smoke in the rental unit
- whether or not the tenant can have pets, and if so, the rules around how many pets and allowable types of pets and
- specific responsibilities such as shoveling snow or cutting the lawn.
Landlords also must follow the rules outlined in the RTA and the rules in the rental agreement.
Landlord’s rules under the RTA
The RTA also sets outs the rules a landlord must follow, which include:
- Do not disturb the tenant’s possession or peaceful enjoyment of the rental unit. A landlord cannot enter a tenant’s suite without consent or without providing notice to the tenant. The RTA states that a landlord must give 24 hours notice to enter a suite and can only enter for specific reasons (i.e. repairs).
- Ensure the rental unit meets the Minimum Housing and Health Standards. Landlords must ensure the structure of the building is safe, the heating and plumbing systems work, and wind, rain and snow cannot enter the building.
- If there is a written lease, give the tenant a signed copy of the lease within 21 days.
- Provide the tenant with the landlord’s contact information or have it posted in a common area such as the lobby or mail room.
- Give a valid reason with enough notice to end a periodic tenancy. The RTA states how much time a landlord must give a tenant to end a periodic tenancy. A related regulation gives a specific list of reasons as to why a tenancy can end (e.g., major renovations, the landlord is moving into the rental unit, etc.).
- Give tenants at least three months notice, in writing, before increasing the rent. Landlords cannot increase the rent more than once a year.
- Pay interest to tenants on security deposits (the Government of Alberta sets the interest rate).
If the landlord does not follow these rules, the landlord could be charged with an offence under the RTA and face a fine. Tenants can also seek to terminate their tenancy or request financial damages if the landlord breaks the rules.
Landlords may have agreed to other rules set out in the rental agreement. So, these rules cover things not included in the RTA, such as:
- specific responsibilities like shovelling snow or cutting the lawn; or
- repairing suites within a certain period of time.
Tenant – FAQs
Landlord – FAQs