Introduction

The following can apply for Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS):

  • a landlord or a representative authorized by the landlord
  • a tenant or a representative authorized by the tenant

The process for applying is as follows:

  1. Check your eligibility
  2. Before you apply
  3. Submit an application
  4. Deliver legal notice
  5. Prepare for your hearing
  6. After your hearing

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1. Check your eligibility

  • Acceptable applications

    Applications must be:

    • made within 2 years from the date that a potential claim is discovered
    • limited to claims of up to $100,000 (the maximum monetary limit for RTDRS applications was raised from $50,000 to $100,000, effective August 1, 2023)

    The rental premises and the claims in the application must be covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) or the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act (MHSTA).

  • Definitions

    The definitions of landlord and tenant can be found in the Residential Tenancies Act or the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act.

    See RTA Applicability to Accommodations to see which types of housing are governed under the Residential Tenancies Act.

    Section numbers in tip sheet are subject to change. Current as of April, 2017.

  • Landlords – what you can apply for

    Landlords of a rental premises or mobile home site can apply for:

    • unpaid rent and/or utilities
    • ending the tenancy and possession of the premises
    • compensation for losses due to an over-holding tenant (tenant has not vacated the premises at the end of the tenancy)
    • other financial losses, known as ’damages’, resulting from the tenant’s breach of the rental agreement or contravention of the Act
    • order for a non-tenant occupant to vacate the premises (individual is not listed as a tenant on the rental agreement)
  • Tenants – what you can apply for

    Tenants of a rental premises or a mobile home site may apply for:

    • return of security deposit
    • ending the tenancy due to a landlord’s breach of the rental agreement
    • financial losses, known as ’damages’, resulting from a landlord’s  breach of the rental agreement or contravention of the Act
    • reduction of rent, known as an “abatement”, for being deprived of the benefit of a rental agreement
    • compensation for performing the landlord’s obligations as outlined in the rental agreement
  • Civil claims courts

    An applicant must also indicate that you:

    • have not applied to a civil claims court in respect of the same matter
    • are not aware of any application being filed in the courts with respect to this matter
    • will notify RTDRS immediately if they become aware of any such application

2. Before you apply

  • Considerations

    Preparation is the key to a successful application. A well-prepared application is only the beginning of the process.

    Once you file the application, you must serve notice of the hearing and of the application, including supporting evidence, on the respondent.  You must then attend the hearing and prove your claim to the Tenancy Dispute Officer, and then enforce the order.  This takes time and effort.

    Before filing an application with the RTDRS, consider the following:

    • Have you tried to resolve the matter directly with the other party?
    • Do you have contact information for the respondent?
    • Have you gathered all of the information and evidence to prove your claims against the other party? See our Evidence tip sheet for details.
    • Does the respondent have income or assets that can be garnished or seized to satisfy a judgment?
    • Have you contacted witnesses for statements and asked if they will attend the hearing?
  • Names and spelling

    When filing an application against your landlord or tenant, you must make sure that the name and spelling of the landlord or tenant is correct, as the order (if granted) will be issued against the exact name(s) you provide.

    Individual landlord

    When filing a claim against an individual landlord:

    • use the full first and last name of each person you are filing the application against
    • do not use initials, because initials do not sufficiently identify the person being claimed against
    • if you are not sure who the owner of the property is or how to properly spell their name you can do a land title search on the rental premises address to find out who the owner of the property is; this can be done at any Alberta registry agent

    Business

    If you are filing an application against a business it is important to know whether the business is incorporated or unincorporated. An incorporated business usually has Limited, Ltd., Incorporated or Inc. after its name.

    An incorporated business can only be claimed against in the name of the business. Put the full name of the business on the application form. Do a Corporation Search at a registry office to find out the exact name of an incorporated business.

    Firms (partnerships of 2 or more people) and sole proprietorships are called unincorporated businesses. An unincorporated business must be claimed against in the name of the owner. Put the owner's full name and the name of the business on the application form.

    To find out the owner(s) of an unincorporated business and the address of the owner, do a Trade Name Search at any Alberta Registry Agent or through SPIN 2, the Government of Alberta’s online portal.

  • Financial assistance

    There is a $75 filing fee at the time of your application.

    • This can be paid by Debit, MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Cheque or Money Order. Cheques should be made payable to the “Government of Alberta”.
    • The RTDRS does not accept cash.

    If the filing fee is a financial difficulty, you may apply to the RTDRS to waive the fee.

    You must provide 3 months’ proof of income, either as pay stubs or as a printout of your bank account.

    Applicants may apply for a waiver of the filing fee by completing the RTDRS Fee Waiver Form then submitting it to the RTDRS.

3. Submit an application

Apply online

Log in to the RTDRS eFiling service

RTDRS eFiling User Tips

Apply in person, by fax or by mail

  • Step 1. Complete the application form

    Landlord applications

    Tenant application

    An instruction sheet is attached to each application to help you fill out the form.

    If you are including supporting evidence, read Step 2 below for details on how to properly prepare evidence.

    Multiple remedies

    A party may request relief for multiple remedies on one application form, provided:

    • the issues are related, and
    • it appears the same facts must be heard and considered by the RTDRS Tenancy Dispute Officer in adjudicating the matters in question

    If the Officer determines in the hearing that one or more issues are not related, the Officer may:

    • transfer the applicable issues to court
    • dismiss the issues (with or without leave to re-apply), or
    • order those portions of the application that are not related to be heard on different dates
  • Step 2. Gather supporting documented evidence

    Evidence is the legal word for things that are used to prove what happened during the tenancy. Evidence can be:

    • documents, such as leases, agreements, termination notices, receipts, invoices and photographs
    • audio and video recordings
    • what you and your witness say in the hearing
    • land titles searches, corporate registry searches

    Evidence not accepted

    The RTDRS does not accept:

    • physical evidence such as insects, mould samples or weapons
      • instead you must submit photos with a written description
    • evidence on an electronic device
      • electronic evidence must be printed, submitted on a USB drive or uploaded via the RTDRS eFiling Service

    It is important that you read the RTDRS Evidence tip sheet because it provides instructions on how you must submit your evidence to the RTDRS. If you do not follow the proper submission guidelines your evidence may not be accepted by the Tenancy Dispute Officer.

    The Tenancy Dispute Officers adhere to the processes and procedures outlined in the RTDRS Rules of Practice and Procedure.

    Organizing and marking your evidence

    It is important that you read the RTDRS Evidence tip sheet because it provides instructions on how you must submit your evidence to the RTDRS. If you do not follow the proper submission guidelines your evidence may not be accepted by the Tenancy Dispute Officer.

    Making copies – application forms

    You do not need to make copies of your application form. RTDRS will do that for you.

  • Step 3. Submit the application form and evidence

    You can submit your application and evidence either in person or online.

    In-person filing

    Take your completed application form and evidence to the RTDRS office.

    Hours: 9:30 am to 11:30 am, 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)

    Edmonton Office:
    44 Capital Boulevard
    Main Floor, 10044 108 Street NW
    Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 3S7

    Calgary Office:
    Main Floor, Rocky Mountain Plaza
    180, 615 Macleod Trail SE
    Calgary, Alberta  T2G 4T8

    Online filing

    Create an account and apply online using the RTDRS eFiling Service.

    Other methods of submitting your application

    If you are submitting an application via fax to 780-644-2266 or mailing an application to an RTDRS office, you must include a cheque for the filing fee ($75) along with your application to avoid processing delays. Cheques made payable to the Government of Alberta can be mailed to any RTDRS office:

    Edmonton Office:
    44 Capital Boulevard
    Main Floor, 10044 108 Street NW
    Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 3S7

    Calgary Office:
    Main Floor, Rocky Mountain Plaza
    180, 615 Macleod Trail SE
    Calgary, Alberta  T2G 4T8

  • Step 4. Receive the Application Packages

    In person

    After you apply, an Information Officer will give you the filed Application Package.

    The Application Package includes:

    • the application form
    • the documented evidence
    • a Notice of Hearing form, which includes the date and time of the hearing

    Online

    You will receive 2 emails from the RTDRS once your application has been processed.

    The first email will include your filed application package (application form, documented evidence and the Notice of Hearing). Make a copy of the entire filed Application Package for each respondent named in the Notice of Hearing form and serve each one with a copy.

    The second email that you will receive will include the Declaration of Service. This form must be completed by the person who serves the application package on the respondent. You may submit the Declaration of Service form online via the RTDRS eFiling Service.

  • How to serve an RTDRS Application Package

    ‘Serve’ is the legal word for delivering a legal notice to another party.

    You must make a copy of the Application Package for each respondent named and serve it on each respondent at least 3 clear days before the hearing date. The 3 clear days do not include:

    • date of service
    • date of hearing
    • weekends
    • holidays

    For example, if your hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, service must be completed no later than the previous Wednesday.

    See the Document Service Tip Sheet for detailed information on how to serve an RTDRS Application Package.

    The only methods of service accepted by the RTDRS are listed below. Ultimately, the Tenancy Dispute Officer decides whether or not the service requirements have been met.

  • Landlords – service requirements

    Landlords can serve documents in one of the following ways:

    By email

    You can serve documents by email as long as:

    • the parties have previously communicated by email, or previously agreed to communicate by email, and
    • you can demonstrate to the Tenancy Dispute Officer that the email was delivered, such as with a reply, a read receipt or verifying software

    Personal service

    You can serve the tenants or non-tenant occupants by giving the Application Package to them personally.

    You must make several attempts to serve the Application Package. The service attempts should be on different days and at different times throughout the days (morning, afternoon and evenings, if necessary).

    Keep a note of the dates, times and locations that you attempted to serve the Application Package. You will need this when filling out the Declaration of Service by Landlord form. If you are unable to serve the tenant personally at the rental premises you can serve them personally at any location.

    By registered mail

    You can serve the Application Package on the tenants or non-tenant occupants by registered mail.

    Send it to the rental premises address. Keep all receipts and tracking numbers.

    Service is completed on the date the respondent signs for the registered mail. You will need all of this information when filling out the Declaration of Service by Landlord form.

    To an adult or posted in plain sight

    If you have been unsuccessful in serving the tenant(s) and believe, based on available information, that the tenant(s) is:

    • evading service and/or
    • temporarily absent from the premises, you may:
      • serve an adult (18 years or older) who appears to live with the tenant, or
      • post the application package(s) in plain sight on the rental premises, usually on the door used most often by the tenant(s). You must post a copy of the application package for each tenant named as a respondent.

    At the registered office address

    If the tenant is a corporation, you can serve the Application Package at the registered office address as shown on a corporate registration search.

    Contact the RTDRS for more ways to serve a corporation.

  • Tenants – service requirements

    Tenants can serve documents in one of the following ways:

    By email

    You can serve documents by email as long as:

    • the parties have previously communicated by email, previously agreed to communicate by email, and
    • you can demonstrate to the Tenancy Dispute Officer that the email was delivered, such as with a reply, a read receipt or verifying software

    Personal service

    You can serve the Application Package on the landlord by giving it to them personally at any location.

    By registered mail

    You can serve the landlord by registered mail at:

    • the address where you pay rent
    • the address in the Notice of Landlord that was given to you by the landlord
    • the address in the Notice of Landlord posted at the rental premises by the landlord

    Keep all receipts and tracking numbers.

    Service is completed on the date the landlord signs for the registered mail. You will need all of this information when filling out the Declaration of Service by Tenant form.

    At the registered office address

    If the landlord is a corporation, you can serve the Application Package at the registered office address as shown on a corporate registration search.

    Contact RTDRS for more ways to serve a corporation.

  • What to do if you have been served with an RTDRS Application Package

    If you have been served with an RTDRS Application package you must be available to attend the hearing on the date and time indicated on the Notice of Hearing form. It is your responsibility to ensure that the RTDRS has your most up-to-date telephone number. Contact the RTDRS office to provide a telephone number that you can be reached at for your hearing.

    Alternatively, you may have a representative attend on your behalf. You must ensure that the RTDRS has the correct telephone number for the representative. If you or your representative do not attend, the hearing may proceed in your absence and an order may be issued against you. This order may have serious consequences for you.

    You can defend yourself in one of 3 ways:

    1. Provide evidence in defence of the application.
    2. Provide evidence in defence of the application and file a counter-application.
    3. Provide evidence in defence of the application and file an application at a later date.

    Only claims in the application before the Tenancy Dispute Officer will be heard. If you are seeking compensation you must file your own application, not just defence evidence.

    Provide evidence in defence of the application

    If you:

    • have been served with an RTDRS application, and
    • do not agree with the claims in the application

    you should prepare to defend yourself at the RTDRS hearing.

    If you have evidence that you want the Tenancy Dispute Officer to review that supports your defence you must provide a copy of the evidence to the RTDRS and to the applicant at least 24 hours prior to the hearing date. If you do not, the Tenancy Dispute Officer may not accept your evidence at the hearing.

    It is important that you read the RTDRS Evidence tip sheet because it provides instructions on how you must submit your evidence to the RTDRS. If you do not follow the proper submission guidelines your evidence may not be accepted by the Tenancy Dispute Officer.

    You can submit the defence evidence in-person, by mail or online.

    Allow at least one full business day for processing before expecting documents or evidence submitted to appear on the RTDRS case file.

    Submit your defence evidence online with a RTDRS eFiling Service account. Please contact the RTDRS toll-free in Alberta by dialing 310-0000, then 403-297-2861 (Calgary) or 780-644-4330 (Edmonton), for the access code that you will require to verify your account.

    Provide evidence in defence of the application and file a counter-application

    If you:

    • believe you have a claim against the party that filed an application against you, and
    • are seeking compensation

    you must file a counter-application before the hearing date.

    Only claims in the application(s) before the Tenancy Dispute Officer will be heard. If you are seeking compensation you must file your own application.

    The steps for filing a counter-application are the same as filing a regular application, including how to submit evidence and how the application must be served on the other party.

    The Tenancy Dispute Officer will hear the application and counter-application in one of these ways:

    • together on the hearing date of the original application
    • together at a later date (the original hearing date will be adjourned to another date so that both applications can be heard at the same time)
    • separately, on different dates

    The decision will depend on many factors, such as:

    • service requirements
    • time needed for the hearing
    • if the same evidence and witnesses are needed for both applications

    Provide evidence in defence of the application and file an application at a later date

    If you:

    • have been served with an RTDRS application
    • you want to defend yourself against the claim, and
    • you have a claim against the applicant

    you can have the application heard on the hearing date and file your own application at a later date. Applications must be made within 2 years from the date that a potential claim is discovered.

    If you have evidence that you want the Tenancy Dispute Officer to review that supports your defence you must provide a copy of the evidence to the RTDRS and to the applicant at least 24 hours prior to the hearing date. If you do not, the Tenancy Dispute Officer may not accept your evidence at the hearing.

    It is important that you read the RTDRS Evidence tip sheet because it provides instructions on how you must submit your evidence to the RTDRS. If you do not follow the proper submission guidelines your evidence may not be accepted by the Tenancy Dispute Officer.

    Allow at least one full business day for processing before expecting documents or evidence submitted to appear on the RTDRS case file.

    The steps for providing evidence in defence is the same as providing evidence for a regular application.

  • If you are unsuccessful serving documents

    If the tenant no longer lives at the residential premises, posting documents on the premises is not considered proper service. You may still serve the tenant in person at any location.

    Alternatively, you can attempt service by registered mail to the tenant at a different residence address, as long as the tenant signs for the registered mail, acknowledging it has been received. The Tenancy Dispute Officer does not have the authority to force a party to provide a physical address.

    You should make several personal service attempts on different days and times (mornings, afternoons and evenings). You must prove to the Tenancy Dispute Officer that your service attempts were made practically with sincere intentions.

    Substitutional service

    If you have not been successful after several reasonable attempts to serve the respondent(s), you may apply to the RTDRS to serve the documents in another way. This is called substitutional service.

    You must complete a Declaration in Support of Substitutional Service form in which you list your attempts at service, request approval to serve another way and explain why you believe the other way will be effective. A Tenancy Dispute Officer will review the request and make a decision.

    The form is also available at the RTDRS offices in Edmonton and Calgary. To submit the request online, log into your RTDRS eFiling Service account. An Information Officer will contact you once your request has been reviewed by a Tenancy Dispute Officer.

  • Urgent situations

    Normally, a hearing needs to be scheduled to allow for a notice period of 3 clear days to take place. However, in extreme situations such as cases of significant damage to the rental premises, assault or threat of assault, a landlord may apply to reduce the notice period to the tenant/respondent. This is called ‘abridgement of service.’

    Only the most serious cases will be accepted.

    To apply for this, you must:

    1. Fill out a Declaration in Support of Abridgement of Service
      • include evidence to support your request
    2. Submit the form in person or online through your RTDRS eFiling Service account.

    The Tenancy Dispute Officer will review the request and make a decision.

    Contact us if you have any questions.

  • After you have served RTDRS documents

    After you have served the Application Package on the respondent, you will have to:

    1. Fill out the appropriate Declaration of Service form
      • Landlords must fill out the Declaration of Service by Landlord form.
      • Tenants must fill out the Declaration of Service by Tenant form.
      • If you used a process server to serve the documents, they must fill out the form.
      • If the Application Package was served by registered mail, you must provide the RTDRS the postal receipt with the tracking number and the Signature for Certificate of Delivery Confirmation document (which you can get through a Canada Post office or their website).
    2. File the Declaration of Service form with RTDRS
      • You can file the forms before or on the day of the hearing.
      • You can file in-person or online through your RTDRS eFiling Service account.
  • Filing additional evidence

    Applicants can submit additional evidence not included in their original application. They must serve it on the RTDRS and the respondent at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing. Evidence must be submitted in-person, by mail or online through your RTDRS eFiling Service account.

    If you do not serve your defence or additional evidence to the other party and the RTDRS at least 24 hours prior to the hearing, your evidence may not be accepted. Alternatively, the matter may be adjourned to a different date to allow everyone to review the evidence.

    It is important that you read the RTDRS Evidence tip sheet because it provides instructions on how you must submit your evidence to the RTDRS. If you do not follow the proper submission guidelines your evidence may not be accepted by the Tenancy Dispute Officer.

    Allow at least one full business day for processing before expecting documents or evidence submitted to appear on the RTDRS case file.

  • Disputes resolved before a hearing

    If you have resolved your claim before the hearing, there are a couple of options:

    1. The applicant may withdraw their application by sending the RTDRS a Notice of Withdrawal form. You should also advise the respondent that you have done this.
    2. The applicant can choose to continue the process. The applicant and respondent may attend the hearing and tell the Tenancy Dispute Officer at the beginning of the hearing that they have resolved the dispute.

    The RTDRS does not refund fees for withdrawn matters.

    If the resolution is acceptable to the Tenancy Dispute Officer, they may issue a Consent Order. This order documents the agreement and is signed by the applicant and respondent. It also outlines next steps if the agreement is not kept, so that the applicant and respondent do not have to make another application or attend another hearing.

Hearings and orders

To find out how to prepare for your hearing and what to do after an order is issued, see RTDRS – Hearings and orders.

Contact

Connect with RTDRS:

Phone: 780-644-3000
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Fax: 780-644-2266
Email: [email protected]

The RTDRS does not accept applications or evidence via this email address.

View all contact options