Alberta Residential Tenancy Agreements

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Residential tenancy agreement is a legally binding agreement between and landlord and tenant.

Written or Oral Tenancy Agreement?

The Alberta Residential Tenancies Act does not prescribe a particular form of residential tenancy agreement. The agreement may be written, oral or implied and the landlord and the tenant can use any form that best suits their needs as long as the agreement does not derogate from the tenant's rights and protections under the act.

If a written agreement is signed, the landlord must give the tenant a copy of the agreement within 21 days after the tenant signs and returns it to the landlord. Otherwise, the tenant can withhold payment of rent until a copy is received.

The content of the tenancy agreement

A residential tenancy agreement will usually contain the date of the agreement, the names and addresses of the parties, the description and location of the premises, the term of the tenancy, the rent amount, the duration and dates of payment, information about utilities, furniture, appliances etc. that are provided with the premises, information about the security deposit, insurance requirements, rules for additional fees, guests, pets, etc. and the signatures of the parties.

The Alberta Residential Tenancies Act requires that the landlord will provide the tenant a notice within 7 days of the commencement of the lease. The notice of landlord must detail the name of the landlord and a postal address and physical location in Alberta for that person. This information can be included in the residential tenancy agreement.

If the residential tenancy agreement was entered into after August 1, 1992 it must state that: "The tenancy created by this agreement is governed by the Residential Tenancies Act and if there is a conflict between this agreement and the Act, the Act prevails".

According to the Alberta Residential Tenancies Act, a tenant has to give one month notice of termination for a monthly periodic tenancy agreement. If the tenant does not pay the rent, the landlords may apply to court for an order terminating the tenancy and an order of possession or landlords can give tenants a 14-day notice to terminate the tenancy for substantial breach.

Other obligations of the landlord are to make the premises available for the tenant on the agreed date, not to disturb the tenant's peaceful enjoyment of the premises, make sure that the premises meet the minimum requirements set out in the Housing Regulation and the Minimum Housing and Health Standards under Alberta's Public Health Act at the beginning and during the tenancy, and complete move in-and move-out inspection reports and provide copies to the tenant.

Some of the tenant's obligations are to pay the rent on time, be considerate of the landlord's and other tenants' rights, not do anything that would put other tenants or the residential premises or common property in danger, not to perform illegal acts or do illegal business on the premises, keep the premises reasonably clean, not do, or permit damage to be done, to the residential premises, and, naturally, move out when the tenancy ends or is terminated.