On Friday afternoon, the Province of Alberta announced increased security measures for Alberta renters.
Premier Jason Kenney said new protections have been put in place to ensure tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent or utilities before May 1.
Rent is not allowed to increase while Alberta’s state of emergency remains in effect and effective April 1 late fees cannot be applied to late rent payments for the next three months.
Effective April 1, landlords and tenants need to work together to develop payment plans while the state of public health emergency is in effect.
The rent protection is part of a $7.7-billion package in direct supports and deferrals designed to relieve the immediate financial burden brought on by the crisis and provide stability during these unprecedented and uncertain times.
“We want to be clear: As of today, no one will be facing immediate eviction from their home for non-payment of rent or utilities owed to the landlord. Additionally, tenants will not face increasing financial pressure from rent increases or fees for late rent payments. We are expecting landlords and tenants to work together to figure out payment plans that help everyone meet financial obligations as we manage COVID-19, and we are doing further policy work on support for renters during these tough times,” Kenney said.
Payment plans and eviction process
While Alberta is in a state of public health emergency, landlords must attempt to work out a payment plan with tenants who are unable to make their full rent when payment is due. The Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) will not hear applications that could lead to eviction due to non-payment unless a reasonable attempt has been made to work out a payment plan.
Until the state of public health emergency has been lifted, landlords cannot raise the rent on residential properties or mobile home sites, even if notice of an increase has already been given.
Until June 30, landlords cannot further penalize tenants who are late on rent by charging late fees, even if the signed rental agreement states that a late fee can be applied. Landlords will also not be able to retroactively collect late fees for this period.