Your Rights as a Landlord

By: Emmanuel Ajayi

Your Rights as a Landlord

Tags: Landlord

Are you a landlord? With more people moving to Calgary in need of accommodation, many individuals have invested in income property. Perhaps you rent out a multiplex or lease an apartment in your basement. Whatever your circumstances, you should know your rights as a landlord. Here are the basics.  

Landlord and tenant laws

The Alberta Tenancies Act covers the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in our province. These are the minimum standards of conduct that each party must abide by. You should be aware, as well, that the federal government has additional requirements for rental situations across Canada.

Preparing a lease

It may surprise you that in Alberta landlords and renters are not legally obligated to sign a lease. Having said that, a written agreement offers protection for both the tenant and the property owner. The document is where you can stipulate the terms of the tenancy and the specific responsibilities each party has. This avoids any misunderstandings. You can find a standard lease agreement online and the province also has other helpful forms and publications.

Entering a unit

You may enter a rented property either to carry out repairs or to show the unit to a potential renter or buyer. You’re obligated to provide the tenant with a minimum notice of 24 hours or you may access the unit beforehand with the agreement of the occupant. The landlord is only allowed to enter once and has to give a fresh notice if they wish to enter again. The owner can enter without notice if there is an emergency or the unit has been left abandoned. 


When a rental arrangement is ending, landlords in Alberta are required to complete a written inspection report. The landlord can do this up to a week before the tenant leaves or after they’re gone. This is called a move-out report and it deals with the condition of the unit and confirms that no damage was caused during the tenancy. A move-in inspection is also needed within a week of the new renter moving in, either after the move date or beforehand.

Payment of rent

Landlords have a right to expect that rent will be paid promptly on the date it’s due according to the tenancy agreement. It’s permitted for an owner to charge a late fee for each day the rent is overdue. The amount should be reasonable and confirmed in the lease agreement. A tenant may not withhold rent if the landlord has not made repairs.

Evicting a tenant

A renter can be evicted based on a variety of grounds and the amount of notice a landlord is required to give comes down to the reason for the eviction. For instance, if there has been significant damage, threats or a physical assault only 24 hours notice is needed.
In the case of a substantial breach of an obligation under section 21 of the Residential Tenancies Act, a landlord can provide a 14-day notice of eviction. In either circumstance, the notice has to be in writing, signed by the landlord and state the reason for the eviction and the date by which the renter has to leave. Know, too, that you have the option of resolving disputes with the renter through the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS).

Two types of tenancy agreements

Our province has two types of rental agreements - fixed-term and periodic. In the case of fixed-term, the landlord and tenant agree that the length of the lease will be for a fixed term. It could be for either one or two years, for example. The tenancy will automatically end at the date specified in the agreement and no notice is required. There is an option, too, for the landlord and tenant to agree to terminate the lease early or to continue renting after the end of the fixed term.
A periodic tenancy, on the other hand, has a start date and no end date. Periodic leases are generally month-to-month but they can also be year-to-year or week-to-week. Since there is no end date specified, either the landlord or renter must give notice to end the tenancy.

Notice of ending a tenancy

A landlord is entitled to 60 days notice from a tenant if they plan to end a year-to-year tenancy. If the landlord wishes to end the lease, they have to provide 90 days notice. If the notice date is also a statutory holiday, the due date becomes the next business day.
With a week-to-week rental, a landlord should expect a full week’s notice. And, for a month-to-month agreement, the owner must receive one month’s notice from the tenant while they have to give the renter three months of notice. However, if a tenant needs to vacate quickly for personal or family safety reasons, they can leave early without penalty.

Smoking and pets

Whether or not to permit smoking or pets in a leased unit is totally up to the landlord. As a property owner, you can also say the type of pet and breed that you’ll allow. It’s important to include a clause in the rental agreement so that both parties are clear about this. You should know that you cannot move to evict a renter based on smoking or having pets unless a prohibition has been included in the lease.
Remember, you cannot refuse to rent to a tenant because they have a service or guide dog. When it comes to other types of support animals, you can ask for a letter of support from a medical professional.

In closing

Taking on the responsibilities of a landlord is not for everyone. Before renting out your property, be well prepared by knowing your rights and responsibilities.
If you have any other questions about your rights as a landlord in Calgary, please contact me and I’ll find the answers. As well, if you’re searching for a good investment property I’m here to help.