January 1st, 2012
Wondering what that the rules are for raising rent in 2012? Here they are:
1. Are Alberta landlords limited in how much they can raise the rent?
Landlords are not limited as the legislation does not include any rental caps.
2. Why doesn’t the province set a limit on how much landlords charge for rent?
Experience shows that rent controls are harmful to the rental housing market over the long term. Rent controls discourage development of new rental housing, resulting in fewer units being available for rent. In addition, some landlords reduce maintenance of property or provide fewer services to operating costs, resulting in deterioration.
3. How much notice must the landlord provide before rent is increased for my apartment?
Landlords must give at least three months’ written notice for periodic (month-to-month) tenancies.
4. Are Alberta tenants protected against continual rent increases?
Alberta’s tenancy legislation minimizes the impact of rent increases by requiring that one year must pass between increases for monthly tenancies.
The amount of notice required to increase the rent for a month-to-month periodic tenancy is three full tenancy months.
Rules for Rent increase notices:
- have to be in writing,
- be dated,
- state the effective date of the increase and be signed by the landlord.
If a notice does not comply with these requirements, it is void. Tenants who pay an increase in rent based on a notice that does not comply with the requirements may recover the amount of the increase, with court approval.
5. What if I really can’t afford to pay a rent increase?
A tenant has the right to discuss a rent increase with their landlord if it will be a financial burden.
If rent is a financial burden, there are several supportive housing programs that assist Albertans. Contact the Housing and Urban Affairs ministry to determine if assistance is available for your circumstances.
6. What happens if my landlord tries to raise the rent before a year has passed since the last increase?
Rents cannot be increased unless 365 days have passed since the last rent increase or the start of the tenancy, whichever is later. A tenant is not required to pay the rental increase if proper notice time (365 day or 3 months) has not passed. The Residential Tenancies Act allows tenants to apply to court or the Residential Tenancies Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) for recovery of the amount by which the rent was increased.
Landlords who attempt to increase rent before a year has passed risk fines of up to $10,000 per tenant. Call Service Alberta’s Consumer Services Contact Centre toll free at 1-877-427-4088 or a local Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board if you are unsure about whether a rent increase is allowed.
7. When can rent be increased for fixed term tenants (such as those with a lease agreement for a specific number of months or years?)
The landlord and tenant agree to the amount of rent when they negotiate the terms of the fixed term tenancy agreement. Rent cannot be increased unless 365 days pass since a tenant moved in or since the last rent increase, whichever is later. If the 365th day is during the current fixed term tenancy agreement, rent cannot be increased until that tenancy agreement ends.