The topics in the Dial-A-Law series provide general information on legal issues within the Province of Alberta. The purpose of this topic is to inform you of your legal rights and responsibilities. This is not legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer.
This topic discusses the rights of landlords and tenants during an eviction. The information in this topic applies only to residential tenancies. If you are unsure as to your status contact your local Landlord Tenant Advisory Board.
If a tenant has NOT committed a substantial breach of the tenancy agreement, a landlord can only end a periodic tenancy for one of the following reasons:
– the landlord or relative of the landlord intends to live in the premises
– the landlord has sold the premises and the purchaser or a relative of the purchaser wants to move in
– the landlord is demolishing or making major renovations to the premises
– the landlord intends to use or rent the premises for a non-residential purpose
– the landlord intends to convert the premises into condominiums
– the landlord is an educational institution and the tenant is no longer a student.
The Residential Tenancies Act and its regulations should be referred to for more detail as to these reasons for terminating a periodic tenancy. If one of these reasons apply, a tenant is entitled to varying amounts of notice depending on the type of periodic tenancy. For a yearly periodic tenancy, a landlord much give a period of 90 days notice before the last day of the tenancy year. A monthly periodic tenant must receive 3 months notice. A weekly periodic tenant is entitled to 1 weeks’ notice. These notices must:
– be in writing
– give the address of the residential premises
– set out the reasons for which the tenancy is being terminated
– state the date on which the tenancy is to terminate
– be signed.
The notice must then be served on the tenants either by delivering it in person or by having it delivered by registered or certified mail.
A fixed term tenancy is automatically terminated on the date specified in the residential tenancy agreement. The landlord and tenant can agree to end the lease early. The Residential Tenancies Act does not require the landlord to provide any notice to end a fixed term tenancy.
For both fixed term and periodic tenancies, a landlord may evict a tenant for a “substantial breach.” A substantial breach can be a failure to meet any or a number of obligations of a residential tenant. These obligations are to:
– pay the rent in full when due,
– keep the premises reasonably clean,
– not to interfere with the rights of the landlords or other tenants (such as loud parties at night),
– not to carry illegal businesses on the premises (such as selling drugs),
– not to cause danger to others (such as carelessness with flammable items),
– not to allow damage other than normal wear and tear and to vacate the premises at the end of the tenancy
– vacate the premises when the tenancy has ended.
In case of substantial breach, the notice period is 14 days. Notice must be in writing, signed, give the address of the residential premises, state the reason for the termination, set out rent that is due, and the date by which the tenant must leave. If the breach is a failure to pay rent, the tenant may pay the arrears within the 14 days period and the notice becomes ineffective.
The tenant is entitled to disagree with the landlord’s complaints and to serve the landlord, within the 14 days, with a Notice of Objection. The Notice of Objection must be in writing, state the reasons for objecting and be properly served on the landlord. The 14 days notice then becomes ineffective. A tenant cannot object to a termination notice that is for non-payment of rent. If the tenant does not move out after receiving the 14 days notice, the landlord may apply to The Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) or the court for an order to terminate the tenancy and get possession of the premises.
If the tenant does or permits significant damage to the premises, or physically assaults or threatens to physically assault the landlord or other tenants, the landlord can then apply to the Court or RTDRS to terminate the tenancy on 24 hours notice. This notice must contain the same elements discussed earlier. If the tenant does not vacate in 24 hours, the landlord must, within 10 days, apply to the Court or RTDRS to get an order terminating the tenancy. It is at Court or the RTDRS that the tenant has the opportunity to tell his or her side of the story.
Distress is another remedy available to a landlord when there are outstanding arrears of rent. Distress allows the landlord to request a Civil Enforcement Agency to come to the rented premises and seize property on the premises that belongs to the tenant in order to recover rent money that is owed. The right of the landlord to use distress must be carried out in accordance with the law. The Civil Enforcement Act sets out the process that landlords must follow.
In conclusion, a landlord can only terminate the tenancy for specific reasons which are those set out in the Residential Tenancies Act and Regulations. If there is a substantial breach of the lease or residential tenancy agreement, the landlord can terminate the tenancy on 14 days notice, or 24 hours notice if the tenant permits or does substantial damage to the premises or assaults or threatens to assualt the landlord or other tenants. It should be noted that if the tenant objects to a 14 day notice the landlord must still go to Court or the RTDRS. No objection is allowed to the 24 hours notice however, the landlord must still go to Court to get an order to evict the tenant. It is here that the tenant can make his/her side of the story known.
Dial-A-Law is a Calgary Legal Guidance public service project funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation.