Transition To Canada Toolkit

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Are you new to Alberta? Check out our resources below to help you get settled. If you have questions, book an appointment with a NorQuest international settlement advisor to discuss your options. We’re here to support your move to Canada!

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Transitioning to Canada

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Frequently asked questions

What is a lease/tenancy agreement?

A lease is an agreement with the property owner and the renter (yourself) that lists the rules you both have to follow. Leases are also known as residential tenancy agreements or rental contracts.

You have two different types of leases to choose from:

  • Periodic Tenancy: There is no set end date to the agreement. You will continue renting the unit until either you or the property owner gives notice to end the tenancy
  • Fixed-Term lease: This is a set length of time that you agree to rent the unit. There is an end date written in the lease. Neither yourself nor the property owner can end a fixed-term lease early unless the other party agrees

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What is a damage/security deposit?

A security deposit is a one-time only payment that cannot be more than one month’s rent. In Alberta, most property owners require a tenant to pay a security deposit or damage deposit before moving in

You get the security deposit back once you move out with no deductions as long as the rental unit is left in good condition, meeting all the conditions listed in the rental agreement made at the start

What are my responsibilities as a renter?

The rules that a tenant must follow fall into two groups:

  • The rules that are included in laws such as the Residential Tenancies Act or the Condominium Property Act
  • The rules agreed to in the rental agreement

The Residential Tenancies Act lays down rules a tenant must follow. If the tenant does not follow these rules, the property owner may have the right to end the agreement and ask for compensation for damages in court

  • Pay the rent as agreed upon in the tenancy agreement. The property owner can issue an eviction notice if a tenant does not pay rent
  • Take care of the rental unit, keep it clean, and do not damage it or the common areas of the property
  • Do not interfere with the rights of the property owner or tenants in other units
  • Do not 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 property manager
  • Do not change the locks without permission from the property manager

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Are utilities part of the rent? Check the terms of the agreement. The Residential Tenancies Act does not specify who is responsible for utility payments. The agreement between the property owner and the tenant will be followed.
When can the property owner enter the apartment?

A property owner can only enter a tenant’s unit for specific reasons, unless:

  • the tenant has given the property owner permission to enter
  • there is an emergency that requires the property owner to enter the unit; or
  • the tenant has abandoned the property

The Residential Tenancies Act gives five reasons a landlord can enter a tenant’s property:

  • To check the state of repair of the unit
  • To make repairs to the unit
  • Pest control
  • Showing the property to potential buyers; and
  • Showing the property to potential renters during the last month of a fixed-term tenancy or after notice to end a periodic tenancy has been given

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What is an inspection report?

An inspection report is a written report that the property owner and tenant do together at the beginning and end of the tenancy. Inspection reports ensure that the property owner and tenant both know the condition of the property at the beginning and end of the tenancy

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Can I have pets in my apartment?

In Alberta, the landlord can decide if animals are allowed in the rental property. If your lease does not allow pets, then you cannot have a pet. If you do get a pet without the property owner’s permission, you can be evicted

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Who is responsible for repairs?

Property owners have a responsibility under public health laws to ensure their properties are clean and safe to live in. To enter a tenant’s unit to do repairs, the property owner must give notice to the tenant, except in the case of an emergency

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Who is responsible for fixing appliances?

In Alberta, property owners are responsible for maintaining appliances such as the fridge and stove in their rental unit, under public health laws. Any other appliances mentioned in the lease and included in the price of rent, such as dishwashers, washing machines, ovens, and so on, would also fall under the property owner’s responsibility for regular maintenance and repairs

If, however, the damage is caused to any of these appliances by the tenant, they are responsible to make the repairs or else the cost for repair/replacement may be taken out of their security/damage deposit upon moving out

Are tenants responsible for replacing light bulbs in Alberta? Yes. Small repairs such as replacing lightbulbs and smoke detector batteries would fall on the tenant as part of the regular maintenance of the rental unit
What is a Notice of Rent Increase?

In Alberta, there is no limit on how much a property owner can increase the rent, but it can only be increased after a year has passed from either the start of the tenancy or when the last rent increase was made

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What are the notices to Terminate Tenancy?

Notice to Terminate a Periodic Tenancy: A tenant can end a periodic tenancy by providing the property owner with the appropriate amount of notice

Notice of Termination of a Periodic Tenancy for Allowable Reasons: For very specific reasons, the property owner can give a tenant notice to end the tenancy even if the tenant hasn’t done anything wrong. For example, if the property owner wants to move back into the property

Eviction Notice (Notice of Termination of Tenancy for Substantial Breach): The Residential Tenancies Act only allows property owners to evict tenants in specific circumstances

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Are tenants responsible for lawn care in Alberta?

Tenants are not responsible for lawn care in multi-unit residences. This would be the property owner’s responsibility

In single unit properties, tenants may be responsible for lawn care, but this will generally depend on the lease agreement

How do I file a complaint?

When an agreement cannot be reached with the property owner, you can file a complaint. The first step in any complaint process is to talk with an Information Officer in the Consumer Contact Centre. The Consumer Contact Centre provides provincial information and services through toll-free calling on matters that deal with property owner and tenant and consumer protection legislation. They provide information about requirements to settle disagreements on their own or information on their rights under the legislation

For more information on the RTA, call the Consumer Contact Centre at 780.427.4088 (Edmonton) or toll-free in Alberta at 1.877.427.4088