A large number of Albertans have been laid off or seen their income decrease significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With rent due for many on April 1, tensions are rising between tenants and landlords.
Here’s what you need to know as a tenant in Alberta during the coronavirus pandemic:
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You cannot be evicted before May 1
As a tenant, you cannot be evicted before May 1 due to non-payment of rent or utilities. This measure was put into place by the Province of Alberta and goes into effect April 1.
Rent will not increase during the public health emergency
This includes rent increases that were announced before the state of emergency. This goes into effect immediately.
Late fees cannot be applied for three months
If you are able to pay rent but have to pay late, your landlord cannot collect late fees in April, May, or June. This measure is effective April 1 and runs until June 30.
Alongside these three major measures, the government has asked that landlords and tenants work together on developing a payment plan while the state of public health emergency is in effect.
Additionally, tenants responsible for their own utilities can apply to their provider for a 90-day deferral.
All of these protections have been issued by a ministerial order and are among the many measures taken to protect Albertans during this extremely stressful time.
This does not protect tenants from their landlords filing for possession orders due to safety concerns, criminal activity, or being unwilling to negotiate a payment plan. This includes smoking cannabis if cannabis is not allowed in the property, so be sure to check your rental agreement.
You can find updates for the coronavirus pandemic here, you can find general information for tenants in Alberta here, and you can find the Residential Tenancies Act here, alongside a handy overview guide.
The guide goes over minimum legislated requirements and has some helpful guidelines for both tenants and landlords.
Tenants can also find some excellent resources from the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta, which has a handy guide to your human rights as a renter.