FAQ: Everything you need to know about rent deposits in Alberta
Every Canadian province has its own rules regarding rent deposits. How and when they can be collected, what types of deposits are permitted, and the rules for their return all vary greatly depending on where you’re renting, and Alberta is no exception. Whether you’re a landlord or tenant, it’s important to familiarize yourself with how rent deposits work in Alberta so that you’re aware of your rights and responsibilities. To help clear up any confusion, liv.rent has put together this list of the most frequently asked questions about rent deposits, security deposits, damage deposits and more in Alberta.
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FAQ: Rent deposits in Alberta
Are security deposits legal in Alberta?
Yes. At the beginning of a tenancy, landlords may collect a deposit in the form of cash or property to cover costs such as damage to the unit, unpaid rent, cleaning that goes beyond normal wear and tear, and any other agreed-upon fees – such as legal fees, utilities, or late rent fees. The total amount of the security deposit cannot exceed one month’s rent. If it does, that deposit is considered illegal and unenforceable, even if it was agreed upon in the lease agreement.
What are the different types of security deposits in Alberta?
Under the Alberta Residential Tenancy Act, landlords can collect any number of refundable fees such as pet deposits, key deposits, damage deposits, etc. so long as the total amount of the deposit does not exceed one month’s rent.
Landlords can also request non-refundable fees such as parking fees or cleaning fees, but these are not considered part of the security deposit and are not subject to the same rules. For example, a landlord in Alberta may charge a non-refundable $200 pet fee, to be used for cleaning the carpets at the end of the tenancy. This is considered extraneous to the security deposit and does not have to be returned at the end of the tenancy, provided that the amount is reasonable to cover the cleaning and is agreed upon in the lease agreement.
Are damage deposits legal in Alberta?
Damage deposits are considered to be another name for security deposits or rent deposits in Alberta, and are governed by the same set of rules.
How much is a damage deposit in Alberta?
A damage deposit, or security deposit, cannot exceed what the tenant would pay for a full month’s rent. A damage deposit can also include key deposits, pet deposits, or other types of refundable charges, but the total amount must still be less than one month’s rent and can’t be increased during the period of the tenancy agreement.
Are damage deposits refundable?
Yes, security or damage deposits are refundable so long as they aren’t used to cover the costs outlined in the lease agreement. Landlords should provide tenants with a receipt for the security deposit and any other refundable fees that are collected, however, this isn’t required by law.
All security deposits that are collected must be held in an interest-bearing trust account and deposited within two days after the payment is collected. Any interest that is accrued on the deposit must also be returned to the tenant. The full amount must be returned to the tenant within 10 days of the end of the tenancy, or a written statement of account must be provided if the landlord plans on deducting from the deposit.
Can a landlord ask for a deposit before signing a lease in Alberta?
If a landlord wishes to collect a rent deposit, this should be done after signing the lease and prior to move-in. The terms of the deposit and the conditions for its return should be clearly laid out in the lease agreement, and signed by both parties.
If a landlord requests a deposit be paid before signing the lease, exercise caution – this is quite often a sign of a rental scam. While landlords can and should collect a rent deposit before move-in day, this should only be done once a contract has been signed.
How long does a landlord have to return the damage deposit in Alberta?
If the deposit is to be returned in full with no deductions, the security deposit and any interest accrued must be returned to the tenant no later than 10 days after they vacate the rental property.
If there are any deductions to the deposit for damages, repairs, utilities, late fees, or other specified reasons, these deductions must be listed in a statement of account and provided to the tenant within 10 days, along with the costs or an estimate of what the costs will be. Within 30 days, the landlord must provide the tenant with a final statement of account and any remaining balance of the deposit.
If a tenant does not receive either the full amount of the deposit or a statement of account within 10 days of ending the tenancy, they should contact the landlord in writing. If you still don’t receive anything from the landlord, renters may proceed through the court or the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS).
Can a landlord deduct from the deposit for cleaning?
Landlords may only use the security deposit to cover cleaning fees if the cleaning is required due to abnormal use of the property. Cleaning that is required because of normal wear and tear cannot be deducted from the deposit.
Can a landlord charge for cleaning in Alberta?
If a landlord wishes to explicitly charge for cleaning, they must collect this as a non-refundable fee, which must be agreed upon in the lease agreement. This is separate from the security deposit, and should not be held in the same way. For example, if the renter plans on bringing a pet, a landlord may want to charge a non-refundable $200 cleaning fee to cover the extra cleaning that may be required.
What is the maximum deposit a landlord can take?
The total refundable deposit a landlord can collect in Alberta, including key deposits, pet deposits, or other refundable fees, cannot exceed one month’s rent.
Non-refundable fees are not subject to the same rules, but must still be reasonable for the purpose they’re collected for.
Can a landlord charge you after you move out?
If a landlord plans on deducting from your security deposit after you move out, they must provide a written statement of account to you within 10 days of ending the tenancy. The deposit, minus any deductions, must be provided to you within 30 days of moving out alongside a final statement of account.
The only situation in which a landlord can charge you after you move out is for unpaid rent or compensation, which can be done for up to a year after the tenant moves out.
How often does a landlord have to paint in Alberta?
There’s no specific timeline for when landlords have to paint in Alberta, and it is not required to paint the unit in between each tenancy. Under the Minimum Housing and Health Standards, landlords are required to ensure that walls and ceilings are in good repair, with no cracks or holes.
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