Alberta Landlords Association


Welcome to the ALA for Small Business Landlords

The Alberta Landlords Association (ALA) and its sister organization The Canada Landlords Association (CLA) are leading provincial and national organizations for private small residential landlords. We provide a unified voice for private landlords and promote and protect landlord interests to national and local government.

  • Network with top professionals
  • Get advice from experienced landlords
  • Learn how the Landlord and Tenant Board works
  • Meet our recommended partners
  • Take part in landlord activities, social events.
  • A chance to "get involved!"

Alberta Landlords – Is Rent Control Coming?

Is rent control coming to Alberta? According to an editorial in the Whitecourt Star it should be.

Rent control is when the government caps the amount of rent a landlord can charge. The Star believes it’s the solution to the low vacancy rate in Alberta.

Low Vacancy Rate

The vacancy rate is, in fact, very low and tenants are scrambling to find rental apartments.

According to the Canada Housing and Mortage Corp. (CMHC) not only are vacancy rates in Alberta decline, rents are also rising.

The Whitecourt Star’s Argument for Rent Control in Alberta

The Star sent a reporter to look into the rental market in Whitecourt in 2012.

The reporter found there were a lot of tenants in the city looking for rental housing. The report stated there were not enough affordable rental units available and there was a long list of tenants waiting to find a place to rent “at any price.”

The Star editorial stated the Alberta economy was booming and more workers were coming to the province. Despite these jobs there are thousands of homeless living on the street because Calgary and Edmonton landlords won’t rent to them.

While investors and landlords have the right to profit from their rental businesses the Star argues people have the right to a place to live.

According to the Whitecourt Star ‘rent control’ is a way the government “can make this happen.

Rent Control Doesn’t Mean More Affordable Rental Units

The Whitecourt Star argument is wrong. Rent control doesn’t equal more affordable housing.

Other Canadian provinces have rent control

For example, British Columbia landlords can only increase the rent by 2.2% in 2014. Yet tenants there are still complaining rents are too high and something needs to be done.

And even better example is Ontario.

In 2014 Ontario Landlords can only raise the rent a measly 0.8% for their current tenants.

While the Ontario Rent Increase Guideline is tied to the CPI Index rent increases are ‘capped’ at a maximum of 2.5% no matter how high inflation gets.

With rent control and rent increases capped there should be a ton of rental available and rents should be low. 

Except there isn’t.

With so much government control many investors simply avoid investing in residential rental property in Ontario.

The vacancy rates in Ontario are nearly as low as in Alberta.

And there is a huge waiting list for affordable housing in Ontario.

Rent Control Is Not the Answer

Alberta landlords already know rent control is not the way forward for Alberta.

Anyone can see from what is happening in British Columbia and Ontario that rent control only hurts tenants.

Furthermore, landlords in Alberta are already facing increasing challenges.

We hope the Whitecourt Star editorial board thinks more carefully next time.

Tenant Screening Alberta: Tenant Credit Checks & Tenant Criminal Checks

November 1st, 2013

Garda LOGO Medium

There are a lot of terrific tenants out there.

These tenants respect your property.

They respect you, the landlord, and appreciate the excellent property you are providing.

Rent is paid on time and any maintenance or other potential challenges are dealt with in a mature and a professional manner.

Being a residential landlord in Alberta can be a smart and profitable business decision.

Landlord Challenges

There can also be challenges. One look at the local newspaper can tell you that. Or watch the evening news.

Unfortunately we have seen more challenges for Alberta landlords in 2013.

What Type of Challenges?

1. This Rental Home is My Embassy

Last month we wrote about a landlady who rented to a tenant who declared the rental property ‘an embassy’ and refused to pay rent.

It took two years for the landlady to finally get her rental property back.

She rented to him on the recommendation of a friend.

She didn’t conduct a tenant credit check or a tenant criminal check.

2. Tenants Leave Racial Slurs and Property Damages

A Calgary landlord was going through the process to evict a couple of tenants for not paying rent.

When they finally were gone they left behind walls painted with racial insults against the landlord and thousands of dollars in damages.

The landlord didn’t didn’t conduct a tenant credit check or a tenant criminal check.

3. The Government Recommends a Tenant Who Trashes the Property

Government social housing recommend a tenant to a Calgary landlord who was holding an open house for his rental property. He accepted the tenant based on the government’s recommendation.

Months later his property was trashed.

The landlord trusted the government and didn’t conduct his own tenant credit check and tenant criminal check.

The Important of Tenant Screening

What is tenant screening?

It’s looking into a potential tenant’s background and discovering who they ‘really’ are.

The three landlords above trusted either what the tenant told them directly or a ‘recommendation’ from a friend or agency.

Tenant Credit Checks and Tenant Criminal Checks

The days of agreeing to hand over the keys on a handshake or a recommendation are over.

Smart landlords know a tenant credit check and a tenant criminal check don’ t lie.

Tenant credit checks will show you the real details on a prospective renter’s financial past.

Do they pay their bills on time? Do they have creditors after them? Do they have a history of bankruptcies?

Tenant Criminal checks will help you see the background of a potential renter to protect not only your property but other tenants who might share the building.

GARDA Back Screening Solutions

The Alberta Landlords Association is proud to cooperate with GARDA Background Screening Solutions.

GARDA is recognized as the most trusted and leading Canadian owned and operated  provider of background screening solutions.

 GARDA Background Screening Solutions can provide you with the vital information that is required to make informed business decisions.

They will provide you with timely and accurate information to make an informed decision on the risk level of any applicant,

Tenant Screening is more important than ever.

Make tenant credit checks and tenant criminal checks part of your tenant screening process.

Become a professional landlord and make sure you find the great tenants out there!

Calgary Landlord – Freeman Arrested

October 1, 2013

calgary landlord freeman evicted and charged

Calgary Landlord Finally Gets Back To See Her Rental Property

We wrote about the nightmare Calgary landlord Rebekah Caverhill was going through last week.

The good news is she is finally able to enter her rental property and see what’s been done to it.

After all, she hasn’t been able to get in for two years! It’s a story that has reached every outlet in the media including CBC news.

Background Story

A Calgary rental property which was occupied by a man claiming to be a Freeman-on-the-Land was finally vacated Friday last week.

The landlady, Rebekah Caverhill has finally got a look inside the property on Monday. She said her half-duplex unit along Parkdale was overflowing with trash, Freemen manifestos and old computer pieces.

In November 2011, the property was rented by a 48-year-old Sylvan Lake pensioner who calls himself Andreas Pirelli or Mario Antonacci.

He told Caverhill that he was a handyman and was able to convince her to make some unit improvements worth the three month’s rent in return.

Caverhill soon realized the tenant had swapped the house locks and even gutted the kitchen as well as the bathroom.

The man asserted he was a Freeman-on-the-Land taking the property as his embassy.

From a freemen’s point of view they are “sovereign citizens” who are off the hook of the government’s conspiracies and/or restrictions.

Afterwards Caverhill got an invoice of $26,000 for the work accomplished from the tenant’s private company and a notice of $17,000 lien on the property from the Land Titles Office.

A lien is a form of security arranged over to secure any debt or performance payments.

Caverhill shared her horrible story to the media and she was able to secure a court order to throw out the tenant from her property at the end of the week.

Landlady Finally Gets Her Home Back

On Friday last week, the police apprehended the tenant with the warrants issued in Quebec, where in 2007 he allegedly assaulted a former landlady in Montreal.

The tenant still owes over $10,000 for his rent, but he put additional lien on the property instead of paying the landlady.

The Importance of Tenant Screening

What happened to this landlord could happen to any of us. Unless we do proper tenant screening.

Calgary landlords are talking about this, but we all need to be aware of Freeman and their tactics.

The days of a friend’s recommendation or keys and free rent in exchange for repairs to the unit are over.

Alberta landlords protect your family and your investment.

Make sure you screen your tenants well, including credit checks and criminal checks.

Calgary Landlord Regains Control Over Her Rental Property At Last

September 25th, 2013

Bad tenants tenant screening freemen

Landlord said “I can’t handle it, I just can’t. I just want him to leave, get out. That’s all I want.

It appears landlord Rebekah Caverhill’s nightmare is finally over. We’ve seen written about bad tenants before but nothing like this case.

According to a report on CTV News, Freemen-on-the-landlord tenant Andrea Pirelli has been order to get out of his duplex apartment by this coming Saturday.

Pirelli was not in court to hear the judgment but he did have a representative there who refused to provide his name or approach the bench.

CTV News tried yet again to get input from Pirelli and a reporter went to the rental home for the second time in two days to talk to him.

Pirelli came to the window and took our photos but refused to speak.

He calls himself a member of the “Freemen on the Land” movement and believes Canada’s laws don’t apply to him. It’s news that reached landlords all over the country.

Background Story

Rebekah Caverhill rented out half of her Calgary duplex to a man who was recommended as a tenant by a friend. He moved in during November of 2011, but only paid her half of the rent they agreed on. And that’s not the worst part.

The tenant claims to be a ‘Freeman-on-the-Land,’ saying the home is an ‘embassy’ and no longer belongs to Caverhill. He went as far as to change the locks, and do renovations which he then charged Caverhill for…resulting in a lien against her home.

More Details

The tenant told her his name is Andreas Pirelli—which is believed to be an alias. There is a video of him on YouTube under the name Mario Antonacci, where he gives a lesson on what a ‘Sovran Unity Nations Embassy’ is.

Freeman-on-the-Land is a growing movement, that could number as many as 30,000 in Canada. It is also in the United States, where the FBI considers the group a domestic terror threat. ‘Freeman,’ or ‘Sovereign Citizens’ believe that law only governs them if they consent to be governed, and believe they live under ‘natural laws.’ This leads them to avoid taxes, mortgages and utility bills among things.

Caverhill says she’s tried to convict Pirelli to no avail, and police referred her to civil courts, saying it was a landlord-tenant dispute. Police are now talking to Crown to determine if any charges can be laid.

“It may have started out as civil, but this is criminal now,” Caverhill complains. “I have a fraudster, someone trying to take my home.”

Service Alberta is now involved in the case, but Caverhill has been told she needs to get a court order to try and force Pirelli out.

Alberta Landlords and Tenant Screening

This is just another example of why landlords in Calgary and all over Alberta need to make sure you screen your renters carefully.

The days of a simple handshake are over.

Calgary Landlord Faces Racial Slurs From Tenants He Was Evicting

September 1st, 2013

Calgary landlords face discrimination from tenants kkk

You are a Calgary landlord. 

You know there are bad tenants out there, but you have some great rental properties and know there are good ones too.

Your rental units are legal, clean, modern and attract a lot of tenants.

You know the laws and rules and follow them.

For example, you wouldn’t think of discriminating against a potential tenant based on sex, gender, or colour.

Heck, you welcome all tenants who pay on time and respect you and your properties.

Landlord Faces the Ugly Face of Discrimination

According to a report in Metro News unfortunately a couple of tenants out there aren’t like us. 

Since coming to Canada in 2001 from Nigera Landlord Paul said this is the first instance of racism he has experienced.

We’ve discussed the things can do to create hardship for landlords no matter where you are but nothing like this.

Paul rented to some problem tenants and was preparing to go through to process to evict them.

He did an inspection on his house and found the tenants had vanished.

Tenants Left Something Behind

While the tenants were gone, they left something for the landlord to find.

Racial insults were burned into the house carpets and scribbled on the walls.

Sexual pictures were also drawn on the walls of the house.

“Yesterday, I cried until I slept,” said Paul who also has concerns for his safety.

“They wrote my name there,” he said, pointing to one part of the graffiti.

Elsewhere on the walls were crudely drawn swastikas and the words “White Power” and “KKK.”

The Police Are Involved

Staff Sgt. Jim Leung said Calgary police officers who specialize in “hate-biased crime” are investigating the incident, and the main suspects are the previous tenants.

“These two renters, both 24 or 25 years of age, are suspects in this case because we have to draw an inference that when they moved out, they were the instigators of the hate bias,” Leung said.

“We’re going to do our best to try and locate these two.”

They Also Left Damages

Doors were ripped off the hinges, dozens of holes were punched or cut into the walls, and garbage was strewn everywhere.

Paul estimated the damage to be at least $5,000 and said he can’t afford to repair it immediately.

“I don’t know what I’ll do,” he said. “That’s a big question.”

To Discuss This and Other Calgary Landlord and Tenant Issues Go to the Alberta Landlord Forum.

Calgary Vacancy Rate

August 1st, 2013

 Calgary landlord tenant flood low vacancy

The Flood and University Students Returning May Lead to Higher Rents

According to report in the Calgary Herald the residential property vacancy rate is so low landlords have stopped aggressively advertising because even a small ad brings in a flood of potential tenants.

The competition between tenants looking for a nice rental unit could become even more competitive soon:

1. Many buildings remain unlivable after the flood

2. University students are returning soon to start classes and they need off-campus housing

One landlord husband and wife team said the number of applicants they are receiving is overwhelming.

Tammy Panchuk and her husband own forty rentals in Calgary.

While other areas across the country such as Barrie, Ontario have landlords desperately seeking qualified tenants things are very different in Calgary.

With no vacancies and so much demand they now only put an ad up on one website instead of many.

Panchuk is also a Calgary real estate agent and said the Calgary landlords and investors she deals with are all full with few vacancies. She says if there is an opening it gets filled fast.

Many universities such as Mount Royal and the University of Calgary and SAIT believe the housing crunch is going to have a serious effect on students looking for off-campus housing.

The Vice-president of the Mount Royal University student union, Tristan Smyth, believes the flood will lead to higher rents and less vacancies.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi also expects a worsening rental market in September, and even predicted this week that the rental vacancy rate could come close to zero because of last month’s big flood.

To Discuss This And Other Landlord and Tenant Issues Go to the Free Alberta Landlord Forum

Attention Edmonton Landlords – Habitat for Humanity Edmonton Sale This Week

July 9, 2013

 Habitat for humanity Edmonton

Edmonton Landlords Can Get a Nice Savings and Give Something Back to the Community

Habitat for Humanity Edmonton wants you to know they are having a 15% off flooring sale this week in their ReStores.

It’s a great opportunity for Edmonton landlords to pick up some flooring and save money. It’s also a great way to help a wonderful organization.

About Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity Edmonton has been giving a “hand up” to hard working families in need since 1991.

They firmly believe that home ownership is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and to building equity and hope for children. Our families are full of love and have incredible stories. Volunteers from all walks of life come to serve families, learn new skills and build friends. Our donors and community partners have ensured that we can continue to serve families year-after-year.

The need for affordable home ownership has never been greater, and the opportunity to make a difference has never been more accessible.

Join us as we build homes and hope for deserving families across Northern Alberta. 

Here’s some more facts about Habitat for Humanity Edmonton

1. Founding

It was founded in 1991

2. Homes Built

They have built almost 250 homes

3. Service Locations

In 2013, they now serve families in Edmonton, St. Albert, Cold Lake, Fairview, Slave Lake, Peace River, Hinton and Edson.

4. Restores

They operate two “ReStores” in Edmonton and one in Grande Prairie. ReStores are all over the Canada, from Vancouver for B.C. landlords to Barrie, Ontario for a Barrie landlord looking for items to spruce up their rental property.

You Can Also Give Back By Volunteering

Alberta landlords are a group who likes to provide a helping hand to people and organizations that deserve it.

 

You can help them continue their progress by volunteering your time at one of the current build projects or in one of the ReStores.

Calgary Flood Recovery, Tight Rental Market For Tenants, And The Opportunity For More Secondary Suites

July 2nd, 2013

Alberta Calgary Rental Market

What Do The Floods Mean For Calgary Landlords and Tenants?

Calgarians are doing a great job coming together to clean up properties damaged in the flood.

According to the Calgary Herald there’s concern the flood will shrink our city’s rental housing market which is already very tight in 2013.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported last week that Calgary’s vacancy rate fell to 1.2 per cent in April which is down from 2.5 per cent in April 2012.

The CMHC says monthly rent for an average two-bedroom apartment in Calgary is currently $1,202.

We wrote about this before.

A University of Calgary paper published in 2011 revealed the city lost 7,500 apartment units to condo conversions from 2001 to 2009, while at the same time an average of 12,000 new people were coming to the city each year.

With the city’s residential vacancy rate sitting at just above one per cent, Tim Richter of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness said increased competition for rental accommodations could stymie efforts to find permanent housing for our poorer citizens.

Says Richter: “You have a potential reduction of residential (housing) stock in the short term, you have more people with damage to their homes pushed into the rental market in the short term and you have more skilled labour coming to Calgary to help in the reconstruction

Creating More Safe and Legal Secondary Suites

Nenshi has strongly advocated for more high quality and affordable rental units. Unlike politicians in Ontario who want to punish landlords and prevent landlords from having the tools to run successful rental businesses, Nenshi wants easing restrictions on secondary suites as one way of increasing the amount of affordable housing in the city.

So far city council has so far failed to approve any substantial changes.

The mayor has also said reform would also improve safety and legal protection for tens of thousands of Calgarians living in illegal suites.

“One of the things I’ve allowed myself to worry about in the reconstruction phase of this as we’re dealing with the emergency is ‘What is going to happen to those people?’ ” Nenshi said.

“I don’t want to be politically opportunistic about this, but if we continue in a world where we have a whole bunch of illegal secondary suites that we haven’t inspected, what if there’s mould? What if there are other issues? We have to fix that.”

Great Mayor. Great Ideas. Let’s Make It Happen!

To discuss this and other issues go to the Alberta Landlords forum

Have a Secondary Suite? Make It Legal and Make It Safe

June 1st, 2013

Lethbridge alberta landlords illegal suites

According to a report in the Lethbridge Herald some tenants are being evicted because their rental home is a fire hazard. Instead of being legal and safe, the secondary suite violates fire codes, municipal zoning regulations and provincial health and safety laws.  And once the renters are gone, there’s little the city can do to make sure other prospective tenants don’t fall victim to the same kind of illicit accommodations.

We know there is political pressure in our province to make secondary suites legal and safe. The problem is the majority of renters who are heading to illegal properties know that they aren’t lawful right from the start. 

Groundhog Day

At the moment, it is very difficult to keep tabs on illegal suites.

The same property owners are being caught time and time again as they need to rent in order to cover the costs of owning a property. This is because once a person has been evicted, the inspectors will return to check the property to ensure nobody is living there.

However the inspectors return only once.This leads to some property owners to start all over again and re-rent until they receive the next complaint. The whole situation repeats itself. It is only in the most extreme circumstances that any landlord is actually fined under the Public Health Act.

Delayed Evictions

At the moment, inspectors are taking the stance where people are not going to be evicted straight away. In fact, many are willing to work with the landlords to bring the property up to scratch. Only if there is an immediate risk will somebody get evicted.

With the lack of affordable rental housing many tenants living in these rental apartments face homelessness if they let word get out. Instead, they are keeping quiet and not complaining. At the moment, there is one new illegal suite being discovered every two weeks, which means that a lot of people’s life are currently in danger as a result.

Tenants unwilling to find themselves homeless are less likely to report their illegal living situations, thus, the real number of illegal suites in Lethbridge remains unknown. 

Fire Prevention Officer

According to fire prevention officer Doug Braodhead, “There’s kind of a catch-22 in that situation, that if they come to me and say that ‘I live in an illegal suite,’ then there’s certain options. One is that they might get kicked out, because that’s the option that we give the owners – they have to vacate the suite. So they might be putting themselves in a bad situation,” by making a complaint.

Broadhead estimated he inspects at least one unregistered suite every two weeks. He says “The thing is, when they get caught is when they have a fire, and that’s when they’re really in trouble,” he said. “That’s the risk they’re taking by putting someone back in there month after month. In the long run, it’s better to just upgrade your suite, make it legal, make it safe. And then if there is a fire they’re not held liable for it.”

The system isn’t broken like other provinces, it’s up to individual landlords to invest back into their properties.

To discuss this and other landlord and tenant issues go to the Alberta Landlord Forum.

Gov’t Approved Tenant Destroys Calgary Rental Suite!

May 1st, 2013

 Alberta landlord tenant drywall damages

Calgary Landlord Kius Pahlavan describes his experience as ‘filthy, damaging and mortifying’ while cleaning a government approved teenage tenant’s mess in his rental suite

According to a report on CTV News in Calgary Pahlavan approved of renting his suite to the teenager through the government. When the tenant relentlessly damaged and trashed the suite, the government ignored this information and his request for help.

Pahlavan revealed that “the damage they did is like a horror movie.” The one bedroom suite looks appalling with holes on the drywall, a sharp knife stuck on the bedroom wall and vomit all over the sink.

Three months earlier, Pahlavan had an open house for the spotless suite, when a staff from social services persuaded him to rent the suite to an 18-year-old tenant. While our Mayor is pushing for more legal suites in Calgary, this government worker wasn’t on the landlords’ side and serves as a warning for Calgary landlords.

“He really kind of convinced me that most probably there will be no trouble,” Pahlavan said.

Although the social worker assured Pahlavan that he’d check on the kid on a regular basis and made a deposit of $775 in cash for damages, he did not sign the lease or leave any credentials to which agency he belonged.  Pahlavan said “The phone number, a cell phone number, that’s the only thing we’ve got.”

Pahlavan mentioned that the dilemma begun promptly as soon as the teenager moved in.  The tenant had social gatherings that include use of illegal drugs and fist fights.

The social worker paid the tenant’s rent continuously in cash, but the teenager’s rowdy behavior was unrelenting and the landlord finally evicted the tenant in March. 

Pahlavan requested the social worker to lend a hand in fixing the damages and the agency sent over a truck to haul the trash but did not agree to do the extra cleanups or repairs.

“That was the surprising part of the whole deal, that suddenly the unknown social agency said, sorry, we are gone, you go and deal with it,” Pahlvan said.

Out of frustration Pahlavan got in touch with Lea Williams-Doherty, a reporter for  CTV Calgary’s “Consumer Watch”.

The reporter figured that the social worker was from Hull Services, a Calgary agency that handles troubled young adults from ages 16 to 22 to support their transition to self-sufficiency, and was appointed by the provincial agency known as the Child & Family Services Authority.

Williams-Doherty  made contact with the Child & Family Services Authority to inquire if they would pay for the damages to Pahlavan’s one bedroom suite.

The agency’s spokesperson said the government wasn’t responsible since the damages were made by the tenant. The reporter put emphasis on the lease that was never signed by the social worker and the fact the landlord made the arrangement with the social worker alone but not with the 18-year-old tenant.

This lack of government accountability has been seen before, especially in provinces such as Ontario.

The spokesperson from the Child & Family Services Authority then referred Williams-Doherty to the Hull Services who took the task of fixing the damages in the suite.

 Alberta landlords knife in the drywall

John Dahl, the program director of Hull Services said “I’ve seen the apartment there last week and I’ve spoken to the landlord and we’re looking at covering the damages that were done to the apartment.”

Dahl explained that the “Youth Transitioning to Adulthood Program” of Hull Services was set to facilitate teenagers or young adults in pursuing their studies, get a job, find a suitable place to live and have a personal bank account.

The role of a social worker is to facilitate their clients and in some difficult cases, they may need to take a greater part of the task as the” kid takes full accountability along the way.”

In this incident, although it was the social worker who took the rental it should have been under the teenager’s name and not the government, consequently there was no documentation.

This led CTV to question the province and Hull Services “If this kid couldn’t do these things for himself, was he ready for you to go out and solicit private landlords on his behalf?” 

This is a wake-up call and a warning for Calgary landlords. Sometimes doing what you think is the right thing to do can come back to bite you.

To discuss this and other Calgary landlord and tenant issues go to the free Alberta Landlord Form

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