Can My Landlord...



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Break My Lease?

Sometimes.

If you have done something wrong, then your landlord can evict you. If you have not done anything wrong, then your landlord can only end your periodic tenancy for certain reasons (for example, if your landlord wanted to live in the property). If you have a fixed term tenancy, then your landlord cannot break your lease unless you agree to move out early.

For more information about evictions, go to this webpage

For more information about ending a periodic tenancy, go to this webpage.

For more information about ending a fixed term tenancy, go to this webpage.

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Charge For Extra Keys

Sometimes. If you lose your key and you need to get another one from the landlord, your landlord may be able to charge you for replacement key. You should look at your lease to find out what the charge will be.

For more information about charging for a key, go to this webpage.

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Charge for Late Rent?

Yes, your landlord can charge late rent fees, if these fees are allowed for in the lease. The fee must be reasonable.

You can find more information about late rent fees here.

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Charge for Pets?

Yes, landlords can charge a pet fee. This fee will usually have to be paid before you can get a pet, and is usually non-refundable (which means that you will not get this money back). You can find more information about pet fees here.

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Go Into My Place?

Yes, but the landlord has to follow some rules. Usually, your landlord can only come into your place if s/he gives you written notice 24 hours before s/he comes in, only comes in between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, and doesn’t come in on a holiday or on your religious day of worship (which is presumed to be Sunday). Your landlord does not have to give you written notice if:

1. There is an emergency;

2. You have abandoned the premises;

3. You say it's okay.

It is an offence for the landlord to enter your place without providing you with written notice, unless one of the three above situations exists.You can find more information about the landlord’s right of entry here.

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Increase My Rent?

Sometimes. Your landlord can usually raise your rent once a year.

If you have a monthly periodic tenancy, your landlord must give you written notice at least three months before you are supposed to start paying the increased amount of rent.

If you have a fixed term tenancy, then your rent can only be increased after a year has passed, and only at the end of your fixed term lease agreement (so your rent can be higher on the next fixed term lease). Your landlord does not have to give you written notice to increase the rent in a fixed term situation.

For more information about rent increases, go to this webpage.

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Keep My Deposit?

Your landlord can keep the security deposit if:

1. You owe money for rent;

2. You owe money for fees;

3. You did not clean the premises;

4. You damaged the property, and the move-in and move-out inspection reports were completed.

If these reports were not done, then your landlord cannot keep any of your security deposit to cover physical damage done to the premises. Your landlord could, however, still bring an application against you.

You can find out more about the rules your landlord has to follow when returning your security deposit here.

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Keep My Stuff?

Maybe.

If you leave goods behind after you move out, then the landlord must decide how much the goods are worth. If your stuff is worth less than $2,000.00, then the landlord can throw them out. If your goods are worth more than $2,000.00, then your landlord must keep the goods for 30 days. Your landlord can charge you for transport and storage costs.

For more information about abandoned goods, go to this webpage.

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Kick Me Out

Maybe. If you have committed a substantial breach, then your landlord can evict you. You commit a substantial breach when you:

1. Don’t pay the rent on time;

2. Violate the rights of the landlord or other tenants;

3. Put other people or property in danger;

4. Do anything illegal in your place or in the common areas;

5. Don’t keep your place reasonably clean

6. Significantly damage the property, or allow other people to damage the property; and

7. Don’t move out when you are supposed to.

If you have done one of these things, then your landlord can serve you with a 14 day notice to terminate the tenancy. If you don’t think you should be kicked out, you can serve your landlord with a notice of objection, and then you can continue living there unless the landlord makes an application against you. The only time you can’t object to the notice is when the reason for the notice is because you haven’t paid the rent. In this case, then only thing you can do is pay the rent before the 14 days are over.

Your landlord can use a 24 hour notice to evict you if you have assaulted or threatened to assault the landlord or other tenants, or you have significantly damaged the property. You cannot object to this notice.

For more information on evictions, go to this webpage.

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Kick My Friends Out

If your landlord believes that you have a guest staying with you without the landlord’s  permission, then your landlord can give your guest a 14 day notice to non-tenant. This notice means that the guest must leave the property.

Remember that if you are having people over and things get noisy, your neighbours or your landlord can call the police.

You can find more information about this notice here.

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Lock Me Out?

Your landlord can change the locks on the property if you are given a new key immediately. It is against the law under the Residential Tenancies Act for the landlord to change the locks if s/he doesn’t give you a key. You can lodge a complaint with Service Alberta against your landlord, and your landlord can be fined, charged, or made to appear in court.

For more information about keys and security, go to this webpage.

For more information about offences, go to this webpage.

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Make Me Clean?

The law says that you have an obligation to make sure that the property is in reasonably clean condition. If you don’t keep the property reasonably clean, then you have committed a substantial breach of the tenancy agreement, and your landlord can evict you.

You can find more information about your obligations here.

You can find more information about substantial breaches here.

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Make Me Pay Cash?

Yes. What method you use to pay rent is up to you and your landlord. You should talk to your landlord before you sign a lease agreement. If you pay in cash, then you should try to get a receipt from your landlord, or you should take someone with you when you pay so that you have a witness.

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Not Give Me a Receipt?

Not Give a Receipt?

The landlord does not have to provide you with a receipt. You may want to pay your landlord a different way instead of cash, so that you can prove that you paid. If your landlord will only accept the rent in cash, then take someone with you when you pay so that you have a witness.

You can find more information about paying rent here.

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Refuse to Rent to Me?

Sometimes. If you are applying to rent somewhere, then your landlord cannot refuse to rent to you because of your race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religious beliefs, gender, physical disability, mental disability, marital status, family status, source of income or sexual orientation. The landlord could refuse to rent to you on the basis of your age.

For more information about human rights and renting, go to this webpage.

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Refuse to Fix Stuff?

Your landlord must make sure that the property meets minimum health, safety and building standards. This means that, for example, if your fridge breaks down, then your landlord must fix or replace it (because the Minimum Housing and Health Standards states that a rental property must have a working fridge and stove). Even if the problem is not a health, safety or building concern, it’s a good idea to write a letter to your landlord asking him or her to make repairs. The letter will give you proof that you requested that the landlord do something.

You should continue to pay the rent, even if your landlord won't make repairs. If you do not pay the rent, your landlord can evict you.

Even if the repairs are not covered by health or safety standards, your landlord might be responsible to fix them. You can find more information about repairs here

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Refuse to Sign a Lease?

A written lease gives you and your landlord protection, because then both of you know what is expected of you. You can also have a verbal (spoken) lease, but verbal contracts are very hard to prove. You may want to think about finding another landlord to rent from instead.

If your landlord gives you a lease and you sign it and give it back to the landlord, the landlord has 21 days to give a signed copy back to you. If you don’t receive a signed copy, then you can withhold your rent until you do receive it. This is the only time that a tenant is allowed to withhold the rent.

You can find out more about the lease here.

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Sell My Place?

Yes. Your landlord does not have to tell you that they are putting the property up for sale. The landlord also has the right to show your place to potential buyers. Your landlord can only end the tenancy once they’ve sold the property if the purchaser requests that your tenancy be terminated, and if you have periodic tenancy. The amount of notice that you will receive depends on the kind of periodic tenancy you have (for example, if you rent month to month, then your landlord must give three months’ written notice).

If you have a fixed term tenancy, then your landlord cannot end the tenancy unless you agree to this change.

You can find more information about when the landlord can end the tenancy here.

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Spray for Bed Bugs

Yes. Your landlord must make sure that your place is free of pest infestations. If the landlord hires an exterminator, then you must allow the exterminator to come in, and you must prepare your place for treatment(s).

You can find more information about pest problems here.

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Sue Me?

Yes, your landlord can make an application against you if you do not obey the terms of the lease, or the rules in the Residential Tenancies Act.

You can find out more about the remedies that a landlord has here.

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Tell Me No Pets?

Yes. It is up to your landlord whether or not you can have pets. If you have a no pet clause, and then you get a pet, you have breached the lease agreement, and you can be evicted.

You can find more information about pets and renting in Renting 101.

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Tell Me to Be Quiet?

Yes. Everyone living around you has the right to enjoy living in their property. If you are being loud, then you are infringing on their right to peaceful enjoyment, and the landlord can evict you.

You can for more information about peaceful enjoyment here.

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The Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of lawyers, librarians, teachers, and web specialists. CPLEA has a mandate to contribute to, advance and promote the legal knowledge and education of the people of Alberta.

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Disclaimer

The information in this application is provided for general information purposes only and is not meant as legal or other professional advice. If you require specific legal advice on any issue, you should consult a qualified lawyer.

This application was developed in Alberta, Canada and incorporates the laws of Alberta. The laws in your jurisdiction may be different. The information contained in this application was correct at the time it was posted. Be aware that it is possible there may have been subsequent changes, which may make the information outdated at the time you are accessing it. Links to third parties' websites are provided on this application. These websites are not under the authority of the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta.

The information contained in linked websites is not guaranteed as to accuracy or timeliness and is provided for convenience only. Some information on the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta websites may have been provided by outside sources. The Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta accepts no responsibility for the accuracy and reliability of outside material. Any opinions and views expressed are those of the writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta.

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Funders

This project is made possible through a grant from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation and the Alberta Law Foundation

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