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Can my Landlord Terminate my Rental Agreement?!

The law of Alberta recognizes the importance of one’s home and has made rules to protect your rights as a tenant. When your landlord threatens to evict you from your home, it is of course unsettling. Your first thought is likely, “is this even legal?”

There are many rules that govern landlord-tenant relationships, which are set out by the Residential Tenancies Act (the “RTA”). The RTA specifies if a lease can be terminated, and if so, how much notice is required.

The first step in understanding your rights is determining the type of rental agreement you have with your landlord. There are two main types of rental agreements, and each affords you different legal protections.

The first type of rental agreement is called a “fixed term” rental agreement. A fixed-term lease is easy to identify because the agreement will state the end date of the tenancy. Typically, fixed-term rental agreements are for a period of six months or a year, and these are often renewed or extended.

The second type of rental agreement is called a “periodic” rental agreement, more commonly known as a month-to-month lease. A periodic rental agreement does not specify the end date of the rental agreement. Instead, the agreement will set a period of time when rent is due every period with no end date. The most common length of period is one month, meaning rent is due every month. Periodic rental agreements for residential tenancies do not specify an end date for the lease.

The below headings are divided into different scenarios that may apply to your current circumstance.

No Breach of Rental Agreement

The information under this heading applies to situations where you have not breached the lease in any way. If your landlord is accusing you of breaching the lease, look to the next heading.

Fixed Term Rental Agreement

Under a fixed term lease, the landlord cannot terminate the lease unless there is a breach of the rental agreement. The lease will terminate automatically once the term expires, unless it is renewed or extended. Once the fixed term ends, the landlord is usually not under any obligation to extend or renew the rental agreement. This is important as the tenant will either have to sign a new lease or move out at the end of the Fixed Term.

Periodic Rental Agreement

A periodical rental agreement can only be terminated for specific reasons, which are listed in the RTA. The reasons include:

1- The landlord or their relative intends to live in the rental.

  • 2- The landlord intends to demolish or make major renovations to the rental.
  • 3- The landlord intends to use the rental space for a non-residential purpose.
  • 4- The rental is being sold, and:
  • a. All the conditions to the sale are removed; and
  • b. The purchaser or their relative intends to live in the rental; and
  • c. The purchaser requests in writing that the landlord must terminate the rental agreement.

When one of these conditions are met, the landlord may terminate the lease. However, the landlord must give proper notice of the termination. If you are paying rent monthly, you are entitled to a three-month notice period.

There are also specific items mentioned in the Residential Tenancies act that must be present on your landlord’s notice. If the required items are not stated, the notice may be ineffective.

Breach of Tenancy Agreement

This heading considers a situation where your landlord is accusing you of breaching the rental agreement. This heading is the same for both fixed-term and periodic rental agreements.

A rental agreement may state certain actions that constitute a breach of the rental agreement, make sure you read your lease agreement carefully. However, the RTA states that the following are also considered a breach of all rental agreements:

  • Rent will be paid when due.
  • You will not interfere with the rights of another renter.
  • You will not conduct any illegal activities on or in the rental.
  • You will not endanger people or property in the rental.
  • You will not permit significant damage to occur on or in the rental.
  • The rental will be kept in a reasonably clean condition.
  • You will leave the rental when the rental agreement ends or terminates.

If the landlord wants to terminate the lease because a breach of the agreement, then the landlord must serve you notice at least fourteen days before the agreement ends. There are also specific items that must be present on your landlord’s notice. If the required items are not stated, the notice may be ineffective.
There are two actions you can always take to stop the termination. First, if the termination is because of non-payment of rent, you can stop the termination if you repay the outstanding amount before the lease terminates. Second, if the termination is not for non-payment, you can give the landlord notice that you object to their termination, which will stop the termination, subject to further Court Proceedings or an application to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service.

Dangerous Activity or Emergency

This heading covers rare circumstances that entitle a landlord to terminate a rental agreement by given you only twenty-four-hour notice, which are:

  • You commit or permit significant damage to the rental.
  • You physically assault or threaten to physically assault the landlord or another renter.

There are specific items that must be present on your landlord’s notice. If the required items are not stated, the notice may be ineffective. If you are facing a termination of your rental agreement under this heading, we recommend speaking to a lawyer as soon as possible.

Closing Remarks

This article is intended only to give an overview of a standard renter’s rights. There are many complicated circumstances, which may require further consideration. If you are facing the threat of eviction. The Landlord and Tenant Lawyers or our Real Estate Lawyers welcome the opportunity to sit down with you for a consultation and walk you through all your options. Whether you need help with your Lease in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, Brazeau County, Lac. Ste. Anne County, Yellowhead County, Onoway, Barrhead, Edson or Drayton Valley, our Real Estate Lawyers, Residential Tenancy Lawyers, Commercial Litigation Lawyers and/or Business Law Lawyers can assist you.

Please be advised that this article was prepared by Daylen Lafleur, Real Estate Law Lawyer and Residential Tenancy Lawyer (Landlord and Tenant Lawyer) with Main Street Law LLP in Spruce Grove in June of 2023. This article is intended as a general overview and general information on a legal subject as the law exists at the time of writing and is not intended to be legal advice. Often the specific facts of your legal matter may change or impact the applicability of this information. For legal advice related specifically to the facts of your concern, please consult with any of the Real Estate Law Lawyers, Residential Tenancy Lawyers, or Commercial Litigation Lawyers at Main Street Law LLP at any of our Spruce Grove, Edmonton, or Drayton Valley locations.

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