COVID-19 Updates: Taking steps to return to normal.
If the apartment you rent is damaged in the flood
You may be able to break your rental agreement depending on the condition of the unit. If you cannot return to the unit because it is destroyed or damaged beyond repair, a rental agreement could be "frustrated." That means it is not possible to continue living in the unit.
Inform your landlord in writing that you are treating the rental agreement as frustrated. If you and your landlord agree on the condition of your unit, you may not have to continue paying rent and the landlord must return the security deposit unless you still owe rent from before the flood.
Make sure you provide your landlord with a forwarding address.
Document the condition of the rental property with photos and video in case your landlord disagrees that the tenancy is frustrated.
If a landlord disagrees and refuses to end the rental agreement
If the landlord disagrees that the rental agreement is frustrated, the landlord can make an application for damages to provincial court or the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service, and / or keep some or all of the security deposit.
You may make a counter-application if you believe you are owed money or make your own application if you believe the landlord should not keep the security deposit.
Both the tenant and landlord should be prepared to provide proof of the condition of the unit.
The tenant or the landlord can also contact Alberta Health Services to have a public health officer inspect the unit and determine whether it is in liveable condition.
Can my landlord demand all or a portion of any disaster recovery assistance I've received and threaten to withhold my security deposit if I don't provide it?
No, the disaster recovery assistance is intended for those who receive it. Landlords cannot threaten to withhold your deposit to pay for flood damage. Security deposits are intended to cover things within the tenant's responsibility, such as cleaning costs, unpaid rent or fixing damage beyond normal wear and tear.
You can apply to the provincial court if you believe the landlord should not keep the security deposit, or depending on where you live, the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service may be available to you.
Depending on the circumstances, the landlord may be committing an offence under the Residential Tenancies Act. Call Service Alberta's Consumer Contact Centre if you have concerns at 1-877-427-4088 (toll-free).
Landlords should contact their insurer to determine whether damage to the property is covered under their policy. Albertans affected by a flood may be eligible for some financial support from the Government of Alberta.
Can landlords use the security deposit to pay for repairs to flood damage?
No. Security deposits cover things within the tenant's responsibility, such as cleaning costs, unpaid rent or fixing damage beyond normal wear and tear.
Do I still pay rent for the time I was evacuated and the landlord had to repair the suite?
Talk to your landlord first. If you are not able to come to an agreement about the rent, you can apply to the provincial court or the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service for a temporary reduction in your rent.
My landlord changed the locks during the evacuation. Is that legal?
The landlord might have changed the locks to protect the property from looting and was not able to contact you at the time. The landlord must give you the new key or they can be charged under the Residential Tenancies Act.
If your car flooded in your apartment parking stall
Vehicles submerged up to or above the bottom of the dashboard are unsafe and cannot be repaired. The vehicle cannot be registered or operated anywhere in Canada. Contact your vehicle insurance company to see if there is coverage for the damage.
If you can't get in touch with your landlord
Under the Residential Tenancies Act, landlords must provide tenants with their mailing and street address after the tenant moves in or post it in a common area of the building where it can be seen easily. If you do not have this address, you should communicate in writing to the address on the lease.
Landlord rights and duties
Do landlords need to consult with a public health officer before letting tenants return?
Landlords are not required to consult with a public health officer. However, an inspection is recommended if there is a health or safety concern.
What to do if tenants ended their rental agreement and left belongings behind
Abandoned goods valued at $2,000 or more must be placed in storage for at least 30 days, unless it would be unsafe or unsanitary to store the items. If the goods are valued at less than $2,000, landlords can dispose of them as they see fit.
As a landlord, you are required to keep a record for 3 years. For goods valued at more than $2,000, check the Residential Tenancies Act for more complete information.
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