The provincial government announced Friday that they are providing security for Alberta residential renters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The added security is part of the province’s $7.7 billion aid package in direct supports and deferrals designed to relieve the immediate financial burden brought on by the crisis and provide stability during this time.
The new protections mean that effective immediately, tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent and/or utilities before May 1st, and rents will not increase while Alberta’s state of public health emergency remains.
Starting April 1st, late fees cannot be applied to late rent payments for the next three months, and landlords and tenants need to work together to develop payment plans while the state of public health emergency is in effect.
The Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service will not hear applications that lead to eviction due to non-payment unless a reasonable attempt has been made to work out a payment plan.
Until June 30th, 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.
These new protections are required by new ministerial orders under the Residential Tenancies Act and the Mobile Homes Sites Tenancies Act.
The government says landlords can still file applications and receive orders for possession if the reason for the eviction is unrelated to rent and/or utility payments, like safety concerns, tenants engaging in criminal activity, etc.