You might think that when you rent a property in Alberta, it will be a straightforward thing. But, there are some things you should know before you sign the paperwork. One of the main things is what type of lease/rental agreement are you signing?

First of all, let’s take a look at what a lease really is. Put simply, it’s an agreement between the landlord and the tenant that sets the rules both parties need to adhere to. It is a legally binding contract, so you need to be aware of what’s in it before you sign. The agreement can be referred to as different things such as rental agreement, lease agreement, tenancy agreement or rental contract.

All agreements should include the words Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). This protects both parties and means that if any dispute occurs the rules of the RTA are enforced over any others written into the contract.

Types of Rental Agreement

Periodic Agreement: With this type of agreement there is no end date included. This means that the tenant can remain living in the property until either they or the landlord gives notice. A periodic tenancy can be month-to-month, week-to-week or even year-to-year. This means the rent is paid to the landlord either monthly, weekly or annually.

Fixed-Term Agreement: This is the most common type of agreement and does include an end date. The length of the lease can be any term agreed to by both parties i.e. one month, six months or most commonly, a year. Neither party has to give notice as it is assumed that the tenant will move out at the end of the lease term. The agreement cannot be ended early unless consent is given by both parties. If the tenant wishes to extend the lease, they will need to negotiate a new agreement for the period required.

Although there can be different inclusion in the agreement, there are some basic details that must be included.

  • The names of all people (over 18 years of age) who will be residing in the property
  • Name and contact details of the landlord
  • The full address of the rental property
  • The amount of rent and when it is due
  • How the rent can be paid and to whom
  • The type of lease: periodic or fixed-term
  • The start date of the lease and if fixed-term the end date
  • The security deposit amount
  • Additional fees such as pet, keys, parking etc.
  • Which utilities are included in the rent
  • Responsibility for repairs i.e. changing lightbulbs, appliance repairs etc.
  • Subletting and reassigning details
  • Requirements for insurance

All tenancy agreements must include the statement “The tenancy created by this agreement is governed by the Residential Tenancies Act and if there is a conflict between the agreement and the Act, the Act prevails.” The statement must be in larger print than the rest of the agreement.

Additional information can also be included in the agreement that is not covered by the law. This can include things such as pet or smoking policy and the landlord’s rules about cannabis consumption.

When you sign the agreement, both you and the landlord are entering into a legal contract, so it is your interest to read it and qualify any issues you do not understand.

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