Lease & Residential Tenancy Agreement Terms
Can I require a tenant to provide proof of insurance as a condition of the lease?
Yes, you can offer this as a term of the lease. It will be up to the tenant as to whether or not they want to agree to that term. A tenant will only be able to obtain contents and liability insurance, not insurance for the building.
Can I make rules about "quiet hours" in my rental building?
Yes. In order to be able to enforce the rules as a part of the tenancy agreement, you will want to ensure tenants understand that the rules form part of the tenancy agreement when they sign the agreement and that you can change the rules from time to time. This is especially important if the rules are contained in a separate document.
If you introduce the rules at a later date, it may be arguable whether or not they form part of the tenancy agreement and thus limit your ability to take action against anyone who breaches the rules.
Can I make it mandatory that tenants pay their rent by automatic withdrawal from the bank, or does a tenant have a right to pay in cash or by cheque?
Yes. You can make it a term of the tenancy agreement that tenants pay by automatic withdrawal and then it is up to them as to whether they want to accept the tenancy on that basis or not. It would be a good idea to draw any such term to their attention before they sign the agreement in case they cannot fulfill the condition.
If you want to make a change to the method of payment during a tenancy agreement, you will need the agreement of the tenant.
A tenant in my apartment building bought a portable clothes washer and dryer and is using them in the suite. I pay for the water and these appliances use a lot of extra water. There is nothing in the lease he signed that specifically prohibits this. Can I ask him to remove the machines or face eviction?
It depends on the wording of your lease. You cannot remove the tenant unless he is in breach of the lease agreement. Unless there is something in your lease that prohibits him from doing what he is doing, then he is not in breach and you have no right to evict him.
I want to update a rental agreement that I have with some tenants who live in a house that I rent out. I think the new terms are within what is allowed in the Residential Tenancies Act. How do I go about this? Are there time limits? Can I evict the tenants if they do not sign?
The only term that can be changed during the course of a tenancy agreement is a rent increase in a periodic tenancy. There are rules that govern when and how often a rent increase notice can be given. Otherwise, you can only change the terms of your tenancy agreement (whether fixed-term or periodic) with the agreement of the tenants. If your tenants choose not to accept the new terms, you cannot evict them for that reason.
I have heard that there are rules about how many people can live in a house or apartment. Is that right?
Public health laws require an owner of property to ensure that all occupants have an area for sleeping space. Other public health laws require certain sanitary and health standards that might be compromised if more than a certain number of people live in the premises. In addition, local municipal bylaws might impact the number of people that can live in a house or apartment.
Certain landlords, such as social housing agencies, might impose a requirement about levels of occupancy in their lease agreements. In fact, any landlord could include this as a term of a lease. It is then up to a prospective tenant if that term is acceptable or not.
I have heard that there are rules about putting boys and girls together in the same bedroom. Is that right?
The Residential Tenancies Act in Alberta does not make any reference to this issue.
However, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation sets National Occupancy Standards for the affordable housing that it funds, so a rental home may be subject to these guidelines.
I'm working abroad and have a tenant in my Calgary condo on a one-year fixed-term lease. He wants to break the lease and leave two months early. When he signed the lease, I told him that the reason for the one-year lease was because I wanted a tenant for the entire time I was abroad. Since I am out of the country, I will not be able to find a new tenant until I return at the end of the term. I disagree to the breaking of the lease; what can I do?
You and your tenant have made an agreement for a lease for one year. If he breaks the lease by leaving early and not paying you rent, you can claim the amount of rent that was not paid.
You have a duty to reduce your losses as far as possible, which means that you must show that you have tried to rent the premises for the time the tenant was gone. In your situation this might be difficult as you are far away, but if you take the tenant to court for the rent, you should be prepared to show the court why it was hard for you to re-rent or what efforts you made to do so.
It is always possible for you to make another agreement with your tenant about the rent in order to save you both time and expense. For example, you might be prepared to accept half the rent. Any new agreement should be in writing and signed by both of you.
I am renting out an apartment to a tenant for the first time. Do I have an obligation to get insurance that covers the possessions of the tenant as well as insurance for the premises?
Not unless you have agreed to obtain such insurance as a term of the tenancy agreement. It is preferable for a tenancy agreement to indicate who will be responsible for insuring the premises and the contents. The tenancy agreement may specifically state that tenants will obtain insurance for their own possessions. Any insurance that you have as the landlord will not necessarily cover a tenant's possessions, or damage to others or to property, caused by the actions of the tenant.
This page was last updated in March, 2006.