How Much Rent Can Landlords Increase In Alberta?

March 24, 2019 Shauna

The demand for house rentals in Calgary or apartment rentals in Edmonton has also been slowly but steadily firming even though sizable inventory of new apartments and house rentals has come up in these cities over last 2-3 years. 

So if you are a renter renting an apartment in Alberta currently, you must be aware of the rental laws in  the province. These tenant and landlord tenancy laws describe the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords. Some of that includes when and how much rent landlord can increase legally in Alberta. 

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Landlord Resources: 

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Is There A Rent Control In Alberta?

Before we dive deep in to the core question of when and how much rent landlords can increase in Alberta, you should first know that rent increases by landlords vastly depend on whether the province has implemented rent controls or not. 

In Alberta there are no controls on the amount of rent that landlords can increase. But the rent can only be increased if it meets certain conditions. These conditions depend on type of rental agreement such as period tenancy or fixed term tenancy. These have been described in details below. 

For example Ontario has rent controls while Alberta does not. Or has left it to the demand and supply forces in the housing and local rental markets. (Check how much it costs to live in Canada by cities!) A province that has rent controls such as Ontario, Landlord has to follow the set annual rent increase rate.

Landlords can increase the rent by an amount they determine is appropriate as per the market. So rent increase by landlords in Alberta is essentially based on market demand and supply forces to determine the fair rent for their rental properties.  

For most independent landlords, their residential rental property isn't just a big financial investment for them but for many, it may also be critical source of income. Rent increase laws help landlords in Alberta offset the rising costs of building maintenance, and ensure tenants’ rental homes are safe, clean and in good living condition. However it is important that these rent increases by landlords in Alberta are in compliance with the tenant and landlord tenancy acts of Alberta.

Also the landlord must provide tenants notice of rent increases for the rental property and as per the rules must often wait a minimum period between rent increases. If a landlord wishes to increase rent above the allowable government deadline or what is a fair rent as per the market, they must apply for approval before increasing the property rent. Alternatively, the tenant can file complaints against the unfair rent increase as per the residential tenancy act of Alberta applicable for both tenants and landlords.

In addition, to assist and protect interests of specific section of the society, including both tenants and landlords from steep rent increases many governments lay down rent controls or applicable laws or and offer subsidies and incentive to landlords as well as for the tenants of lower income groupOne example of this in Alberta is Affordable Housing Program for qualifying individuals and families. You can find more details on Alberta government's Affordable Housing Program website.

In Alberta, rent increase rules for Rental property are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act. Lets find out the key aspects of some dos and don’t regarding rent increases in Alberta for savvy landlords;

For Periodic Tenancies (With no tenancy end date)

  • The rental property owner In Alberta must give the tenant a signed written notice of a rent increase. 
  • The notice is only legally needed to state the date of the rent increase and it must be signed and dated by the landlord or landlord’s property management agent.
  • If it is monthly periodic tenancies e.g. month-to-month, the rental property landlord must give the tenant at least 3 tenancy months notice of the rent increase in Alberta. 
  • For weekly periodic tenancies (e.g. week-to-week), the landlord must give the tenant at minimum 12 tenancy weeks notices of the rent increase. 
  • For example, if the property landlord wants to increase the rent on January 1, the notice must be served on or before September 31 for the rent increase to be enforceable in Alberta.

Fixed Term Tenancies (With fixed tenancy end date)

For a rental property with fixed term tenancy, as per rules there is no requirement under the Alberta Residential Tenancies Act for the rental property landlord to give written notice of a rent increase. However, it is a very good idea in our view that rental property landlord to let the tenant know of the increase ahead of time.  While a notice is not required, there are rules that a rental property landlord must follow to increase the rent during a fixed term tenancy. These are;

  • Importantly, a property landlord with either a rental house or an apartment rental can only increase the rent if one year (365 days) has passed since the tenant moved in or from the applicable last rent increase, whichever is latest.
  • The rental property landlord cannot increase the rent on tenant midway through a fixed term lease agreement; That means the landlord must wait until the fixed-term lease is over. 
  • For example, if a tenant signs a three-month rental lease and then signs a subsequent one-year lease, the landlord must wait until the one-year lease is over before increasing rent. This is accurate even though the 365th day falls halfway through the one-year lease. The landlord must wait until that lease is over to raise the rent.

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Renter Resources:

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Renting in Alberta

So how much rent can a landlord increase in Alberta?

In Alberta there are no controls on the amount of rent that landlords can increase. But the rent can only be increased if there has not been a rent increase within the previous 12 months or since the start of the tenancy, whichever is later. 

However, if a landlord charges illegal rent from tenant, he may be able to get a rebate by applying to their provincial or territorial Landlord and Tenant office or Board. This includes instances where the landlord charges significantly more than the maximum amount or raises the rent more often than what is allowable by landlord and tenant laws. 

1) Can my landlord increase my rent anytime in Alberta?

Contrary to common myth the landlord and tenant tenancy rules stipulates when and how the landlords can increase rent for their apartment or house rentals in Alberta. And as above the landlords have to follow these landlord and tenant laws to legally operate their rental units.  

2) Is there a rent control in Alberta?

While there is no rent control in Alberta however still there are landlord and tenant laws or rules that govern when and how landlords can increase rent of their residential rental property. It means the landlord of rental house or rental apartments in Alberta can increase rent of their rental properties as per the feasible 'market rates'. However there are landlord and tenant tenancy laws that stipulate landlords to serve the tenants at least 90 days of notice with clearly describing the rent increase. Landlords also have to ensure that they follow the applicable tenancy act laws meant for landlord and tenant as per the fixed term rental or periodic rental terms.

3) Can my landlord increase the rent every year in Alberta?

If you are on a yearly lease the landlords in Alberta can increase rent on their apartment or house rentals every 12 month to ensure it is in line with applicable market rent. As noted above understand that rent increases as per governing rules help a landlord offset the rising costs of building maintenance, and ensure tenants’ rental homes are safe, clean and in good living condition. However they must serve the tenants at least 90 days of notice with clearly describing the rent increase.

More importantly, please also note that residential rental property rent cannot be increased on a running lease that has not completed or where the last rent increase was less than 12 months. (In case the lease period has been less than 12 months). 

4) Can tenant refuse to pay a rent increase?

Unfortunately, unless a rent increase is illegal, landlord can have the tenants evict for not paying the agreed rent in the signed rental lease. The do have to follow due eviction process laid out in the Alberta Tenancy Act. However If the rent increase is illegal, you can successfully defend against the eviction. 

5)  How rental laws are impacted in cue to Covid19? 

The Government of Alberta has put in place new protections for residential and mobile home site on March 27, 2020 tenants facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

Rent protections for renters include:

Tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent and/or utilities before May 1, 2020.

Rents on residential properties or mobile home sites will not increase while Alberta’s State of Public Health Emergency remains in effect.

Late fees cannot be applied to late rent payments until June 30 and cannot be collected retroactively for this time.

Landlords and tenants need to work together to develop payment plans while COVID-19 is being managed.

Landlords can still file applications and receive orders for possession if the reason for the eviction is unrelated to rent and/or utility payments, or if a tenant refused to negotiate or comply with a payment plan.

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Shauna

Shauna is a blogs for RentWell.Ca on tips, tricks and strategies to make experience of apartment renting a bit less cumbersome. She is passionate about rental real estate and frequently writes in online industry magazines columns. The views expressed are her own. Blog Editor: Shawn Verma is Technology & Real Estate Expert and published author. He is an experienced technology and real estate professional with over 25 years in the technology and real estate expertise. He writes about latest trends in Technology and Real Estate in blogs in online industry magazines and groups and social media.