One of the biggest headaches for both tenants and landlords is when a dispute arises. The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) lays out rules and regulations that both tenant and landlords must abide by. Disputes usually occur when one or other party fails to comply with these rules. Some responsibilities are mandatory and others are set as guidelines, so there can be penalties for not abiding by the RTA. So, what happens when a dispute occurs?
Well, the first step to resolving the issue is to contact the other party and talk about the issue. More often than not, this is all that is needed to resolve the issue. Just make sure the agreement is laid out in writing so that both parties have written proof of the resolution. If an agreement cannot be resolved in this manner, the next stage is getting the dispute documented. This is very important as it means that both parties have written copies of the issue at hand and moving forward, this can be used as evidence if needed. If at this stage no remedy is forthcoming, there are several options available.
Remedies for the Tenant
If the tenant feels that the landlord has breached his obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act, they can take the landlord to court. This can be a very long-winded and expensive option. Another course of action, one that is less formal and less expensive and much quicker is to go through the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS).
Through this service, a tenant can ask for several remedies:
- return of the security deposit
- ending the tenancy due to a landlord’s breach of the rental agreement
- financial damages from a landlord’s rental agreement breach
- reduction of rent for loss of benefit of a rental agreement
- compensation for performing the landlord’s obligations as outlined in the rental agreement
Remedies for the Landlord
The landlord can also apply straight to the court, or use the RTDRS.
The landlord can ask for these remedies:
- unpaid rent and/or utilities
- ending the tenancy and possession of the premises
- financial damages from a tenant’s rental agreement breach
- compensation for losses due to an over-holding tenant (tenant has not vacated the premises at the end of the tenancy)
- order for a non-tenant occupant to vacate the premises (an individual is not listed as a tenant on the rental agreement)
For either party, there are certain stipulations they must adhere to in order to use this service.
- Applications must be made within 2 years of the dispute occurring
- Applicants must pay applicable fees
- The maximum claim cannot exceed $50,000
- The applicant must deliver a copy of the filed application to the respondent.
- The correct forms and documentation must be used
- The result of the hearing by RTDRS is binding
Calgary Apartment Reviews highly recommended that both parties try to resolve any situation before taking such drastic measures as going to court or using the RTDRS.