Landlord and Tenant Disputes (RTDRS Process)

490 Making an Application with the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS)

The topics in the Dial-A-Law series provide only general information on legal issues within the province of Alberta. The purpose is to make you aware of your legal rights and responsibilities. This is not legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer through our lawyer referral service line.

This topic will discuss the process of filing an application with the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS). The Rules of Practice and Procedure provides clear information on the RTDRS process when considering disputes between landlord and tenants. 

Before you Apply: 

Preparation is the key to a successful application. A well-prepared application is only the beginning of the process. There are many steps involved with making an application.

Before filing an application with the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS), consider the following:

  • Have you tried to resolve the matter directly with the other party?
  • Can you locate the respondent to serve them with documents?
  • Have you gathered all of the information and evidence to prove your claims against the other party? See the Evidence tipsheet for details
  • Does the respondent have income or assets that can be garnished or seized to satisfy a judgment?
  • Have you contacted witnesses for statements and asked if they will attend the hearing?

Making an Application for Remedies: 

Landlords and Tenants may make an application for remedies under the Residential Tenancy Act. Consult a lawyer if you have any questions how The Act may apply to your specific situation. File a complaint with Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS):

  1. Apply online using the RTDRS eFiling service:  
  1. Apply in person, by fax, or by mail. The application forms are available at the Government of Alberta website

Gathering Documents:

Witnesses

  1. You do not need to provide witnesses, but in some cases, they may help your case. 
  1. The party requesting that a Notice to Attend be issued must complete an Affidavit in Support of a Notice to Attend

Evidence: 

Evidence  is the legal word for things that prove what happened during the tenancy.  

Evidence can be:

  1. Documents may be things such as leases, agreements, termination notices, receipts, invoices and photographs. 
  2. Audio and video recordings
  3. What you and your witness say in the hearing 
  4. Land titles searches, corporate registry searches

The RTDRS does NOT accept physical evidence such as insects, mould samples or weapons. Instead you must submit photos with a written description. 


Organization is the key to a successful application and aids the Tenancy Dispute Officer easily locate your evidence during the hearing. 


Make sure that your evidence is in the order that corresponds in the sections of the application. Label each part of the evidence as “Item A, Item B, etc”. And write the same item letter in the corresponding spaces in the application form. 

If you are submitting an application in person, it is essential that you bring ALL the evidence that you are relying on at the time of filing your application.


It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide the completed original application and required number of evidence copies. Do not copy your application. The RTDRS will do that for you.


Required Copies of Evidence: 

1 respondent – 1 complete copy of the evidence (marked individually as “Item____”) 

2 respondents – 2 complete copies of evidence (marked individually as “Item___”) 

3 respondents – 3 complete copies of evidence (marked individually as “Item___”) 

On receipt of the completed application and application fee, the RTDRS will provide you with a Notice of Hearing that gives you the date, time and location of the hearing.

See the evidence tip sheet for more information about the kinds of evidence that can be submitted. 


Submitting the Application Form and Evidence

There is a cost of $75 filing fee at the time of your application. The RTDRS does not accept cash. 

The RTDRS may accept applications up to $50,000. 

Applications must be made within 2 years from the date that a potential claim is discovered. 

Submit applications at either the Edmonton or Calgary office. 

Hours: 8:15 am to 11:30 am, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)


Edmonton office:

Edmonton City Centre Mall (beside the 102A Avenue Entrance)

Unit 112, 10025 102A Avenue

Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 2Y8

Calgary Office:

Main Floor, Rocky Mountain Plaza

180, 615 Macleod Trail SE

Calgary, Alberta  T2G 4T8


Once the application is filed with the RTDRS will set a date, time and location for the hearing. The applicant must deliver a copy of the filed application to the respondent, either in person or by registered mail.  

Financial Assistance for Filing Fees

If the filing fee is a financial difficulty, you may apply to waive the fee.

You must provide 3 months’ proof of income, either as pay stubs or as a printout of your bank account.

Contact the following organizations to apply:

  • Student Legal Service (Edmonton)
    • Phone: 780-492-8244
  • Calgary Legal Guidance
    • Phone: 403-234-9266
  • Lethbridge Legal Guidance
    • Phone: 403-380-6338
  • Central Alberta Community Legal Clinic (Red Deer)
    • Phone: 403-314-9129
  • Grande Prairie Legal Guidance
    • Phone: 780-882-0036

Applicants may also contact the RTDRS by completing the RTDRS Fee Waiver Form, then contacting us. If the request is approved by one of the law services listed above, you will be given a letter that you must submit with your application form.

Hearing:

Hearings will take place either by telephone or in person, as coordinated by the RTDRS office. 

The Tenancy Dispute Officer manages the hearing process. The process of the hearing is outlined in the procedure chart, but may alter that process to suit the case before them. 

Each party will have a chance to tell their side of the story and answer any questions the Tenancy Dispute Officer may have. All parties participating in the hearing are expected to conduct themselves in a courteous and respectful manner. Anyone who displays disruptive, disrespectful or threatening behaviour may be required to leave the hearing room or may be disconnected from the teleconference.

The Tenancy Dispute Officer will give verbal reasons for their decision to both parties plus a written order at the end of the hearing. If the matter is more complicated the Tenancy Dispute Officer may decide to reserve their decision. This means that they will contact the parties (in person, by telephone or by mail) within 30 days to give them their decision (verbal or written) and a written order.

If you are unable to attend your own hearing, the hearing may still proceed without you. An order may be granted in your absence and could have serious consequences for you. It is best if you are able to attend. 

Delayed Hearing

‘Adjourn’ or ‘adjournment’ is the legal word for delaying the hearing.

A hearing may be re-scheduled if the Application Package has not been served on the respondent or if all parties consent to the re-scheduling of the matter. The applicant must advise the RTDRS of this in writing, by fax or email prior to the hearing date and time set out in the Notice of Hearing form.

If the Application Package has not been served

If the Application Package has not been served on the respondent, the RTDRS will change the date and time of the hearing and the applicant will serve the respondent with the new Application Package. If both parties agree to re-schedule the hearing and the RTDRS has been advised, the applicant has 10 business days from the date of the original hearing to set a new hearing date and time with the RTDRS or the file will be closed. The applicant will not be required to re-serve a copy of the new date on the respondent if both parties agree to the re-scheduled time. If both parties cannot agree on the new date and time the applicant must serve the respondent with a copy of the new Notice of Hearing form.

If a party is unable to attend

If a party requests that a hearing be adjourned because they are unable to attend and the opposing party does not consent to the adjournment the hearing will commence at the scheduled time. The person who is unable to attend should send someone on their behalf or appear via teleconference to request an adjournment. At the discretion of the Tenancy Dispute Officer a party may make a request for an adjournment in writing for consideration. The Tenancy Dispute Officer will then consider the request to adjourn the matter to a later date. If an adjournment is granted, the Tenancy Dispute Officer will set a new date and time for the hearing to commence.

The Tenancy Dispute Officer may also adjourn the hearing to meet a requirement of fairness. For example, if the Application Package was not served properly, the Tenancy Dispute may adjourn the hearing. For more information on the adjournment process, please refer to the RTDRS Rules of Practice and Procedure.

Remedies:

Limitation period to apply for remedies Applications can be made to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) within 2 years from the date the claim is discovered. 

Landlord remedies: 

  • Recovery of rent arrears  
  • Recovery of possession of the premises (Order of possession)  
  • Compensation (in the case of an overholding tenant) 
  • Termination of the tenancy 
  • Damages for breach of tenancy agreement 
  • Amount landlord can deduct from the security deposit 

Tenant remedies: 

  • Damages for the breach or contravention of a tenancy agreement  
  • Abatement of rent  Compensation for the cost of performing the landlord’s obligations  Termination of the tenancy

Contact 

To connect with RTDRS:

Phone: 780-644-3000

Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)

Fax: 780-644-2266

Email: rtdrs@gov.ab.ca