Resolving Lease Disputes: What Tenants Need To Know
Lease disputes are exceedingly common between landlords and tenants across Canada. Every year there are thousands of dollars are spent on the resolution of these landlord-tenant conflicts. A tenancy agreement is only signed when the tenant and the landlord both agree to certain terms and provisions regarding the use of the leased property. Legal discords usually occur when either of the two parties breach the provisions of this contract. In most cases, litigation is avoidable. The main focus of this article is to highlight the rights of tenants in Alberta as per the Residential Tenancy Act and the remedial measures available for resolving landlord tenant disputes.
Remedial Actions for Tenants
The Residential Tenancy Act bestows certain rights to tenants. One such provision allows the tenant to opt for remedial measures in case his rights are violated. If the landlord fails to adhere to the terms of the rental agreement, then as a tenant you can apply to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Solutions Service or the Provincial Court.
Parties usually apply to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Solutions Service (RTDRS) when they want to avoid taking matters to the court. They are considered to be an alternative to courts that help in resolving landlord tenant disputes. The RTDRS is faster in dealing with such cases, their process is fairly informal and inexpensive as compared to court cases.
The tenant or the landlord can file an application for remedial measures as per the Residential Tenancy Act. Once the request is filed, RTDRS will assign a date and time for the hearing of the case where both parties will have to be present.
It is important to be aware of your rights as a tenant, to be well-prepared in the event of a legal dispute.
Rent Rates: As a tenant, you have every right to ask your landlord to reduce the rent if any of the services promised in the rental agreement are not given to you.
Seek Compensation: If you have incurred any expenses which were supposed to be borne by the landlord as per the agreement, then you have the right to seek for the money spent by you.
Terminate Tenancy: If your landlord terminates your tenancy without a valid reason or prior notice, then you can contest his decision in the court of law.
Infringing your privacy: Your landlord cannot enter your premises without notifying you in advance. Ideally, he/she can enter your premise if any repairs need to be done, in case of an emergency and if he sends out a legal notice 24 hours before entering the premises.
The best way to be aware of your rights is by being actively involved while the agreement is being made. Make sure that you understand all the information mentioned in the contract. For more information on tenant’s rights refer to our complete guide to tenant rights in Alberta.