Do You Think Your Tenants are Damaging your Property?

Written By: James Castillo, Summer Student

Are you an owner of a residential premise? Do you think your tenant is damaging your property? We understand how stressful it is to be in this situation, and Parlee McLaws is here to make it easier. Not only will we inform you of your rights when it comes to damages caused by a tenant, we have also compiled some helpful information about your remedies and alternative solutions.

What are your rights as a landlord?
First of all, there is a list of things that the tenant is under a covenant to the landlord by virtue of the Residential Tenancy Act of Alberta:
Pay rent on time, not to significantly interfere with the rights of the landlords and other tenants, not to perform illegal acts, or carry an illegal trade, business or occupation in the premises or anywhere on the property which they form part of, not to endanger anyone or property in the premises, not to do or permit significant damage to the premises, the common areas or the property which they form a part, to maintain the premises and any property rented in a reasonably clean condition and to vacate at the end of expiration of the tenancy

Tenants’ Damages
What can you do if you think your tenant is damaging your property? You have a right to enter the premises without consent of the tenant provided that you have given 24 hour notice. The notice must:

  • Be in writing, be signed by you (or, your agent), and state the reason of the entry and   name the date and time of your entry.
  • The date and time must not be on a holiday, Sunday (unless the tenant has provided a written notice to the landlord that their day of worship is not a Sunday) and the entry must be between 8 am and 8 pm.

As a reason of entry, you have a right to inspect the state of repair of the premises to see if the tenant is damaging your property. After the written notice has been sent to the tenant, you can check the premises for its state of repair. If there are significant damages that are not from wear and tear, even if you cannot prove that the tenant intentionally caused the damages, they would still likely be liable as they cannot permit significant damage to the premises, let alone do it themselves.

Court Remedies
Recovery of Damages to Premises: As a remedy, you can make an application to a court for a remedy to recover damages from the tenant for their permissive or intentional damage to the premises. The landlord’s application to the court must include the details of the tenant’s breach, as well as the amount of damages claimed.

Termination of Tenancy: You have a right to terminate the tenancy for damage, if the tenant has done or permitted significant damage to the residential premises, or any other areas of the property. You can apply to the court to terminate the tenancy, or, you can give a written notice, signed by you or your agent, the reasons for termination as well as the time and date of the tenancy, 24 hours before the tenancy is to terminate.

Tenant Refuses to Leave: If the tenant has not vacated the premises by the said date and time, you have within 10 days to go to the court to confirm your termination of the tenancy and other remedy that may be granted. This application must include an affidavit that sets out the detail of the damage, a copy of the notice to terminate and the time and date it was served.

Alternative Solution: If you have a dispute with a tenant and have a right to apply to a court, but have not applied yet, you can opt to apply to the Dispute Resolution Service instead. Any determination of the Dispute Resolution Service for a remedy is binding. This is a faster, less formal and less expensive route compared to the courts.

What we can do for you…
Parlee McLaws is a large, multi-service law firm with expertise across a variety of service areas. Our skilled lawyers and agents bring years of experience to their work on behalf of clients in a broad range of industries.

We are regionally-based, with offices in both Edmonton and Calgary, and understand the unique opportunities and challenges our clients face. Our history and familiarity with Alberta gives us an insight into its legal landscape and economic climate – insight we put to work for a diverse range of local, national and international clients.

Earning – and keeping – the trust and respect of our clients begins by listening to your concerns and asking the right questions to determine how we can help. Once we understand your needs, we use our knowledge and experience to help you resolve issues or achieve a strategic advantage in your business.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need our expertise.

Disclaimer: This article is to be used for educational and non-commercial purposes only. Parlee McLaws LLP does not intend for this article to be a source of legal advice. Please seek the advice of a lawyer before choosing to act on any of the information contained in this article.