Alberta Landlords – if you always do these two things – you’ll be in good shape. What are they?
- Follow the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA)
- Run a credit report
As an Alberta landlord, you are responsible for knowing the RTA rules and applying them to your rental business.
If you violate the rules of the RTA, you could be taken to either the Residential Tenancies Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS), a quasi-judicial tribunal, or you can be taken to civil court. Both courts can issue fines. The RTA is not an easy read, which is probably why most people don’t opt to read it unless they have to, or if they can’t get to sleep. You will find yourself referring back to it time and time again. The legislation also changes and it’s important to keep your knowledge current.
The RTA contains all the information Alberta Landlords need to know about:
• Who the act applies to
• Periodic and fixed tenancies
• Obligations/covenants of landlords and tenants
• Remedies of landlords/tenants
• Security deposits, provincial court jurisdiction
• Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service
Although the RTA is in black and white, however, people’s problems frequently come in shades of gray, and there are organizations that help with interpretation such as Calgary Residential Rental Association (CRRA) and The Alberta Residential Landlord Association (ARLA) who offer reasonably priced paid memberships.
A good tenant can make your business and a bad tenant can break your rental business. If you only take one piece of advice about a tenant screening process, it’s this…ALWAYS run a credit report, and always run it yourself because it’s easy to create a fake credit report.
A tenant credit reports show;
- Current and previous addresses
- Known employers
- Credit history, including credit card accounts, utility payments, phone bills, loans, payment patterns, credit card and loan limits, and co-signers
- Liens, civil judgments, and evictions
- FICO Score
Be sure to ask for the tenant’s permission in writing and that it is signed and dated. Either include this permission request in the application form or as a separate form. It only takes a few minutes to access the report and it can save your business by screening out bad tenants.
Many credit bureaus offer credit screening for landlords at various price points. These are my two favourites;
- Tenantcube is a Canadian property management platform that’s free if you have under three units and $1 per unit for over three. It’s designed for investors of small portfolios.
- FrontLobby is a Canadian credit bureau where you can attract and screen tenants (their credit reports are very reasonably priced), report rent payments, and collect rent. Tenant files that can be shared with landlords in Canada – wide. Feel free to use my credit code for your $15.oo discount: Credit code: NELDA15
Two pieces of advice in a nutshell; know the RTA (and follow it), and always run a credit report.
What are your two favourite pieces of advice to follow for landlording? I’d love to hear about them firstname.lastname@example.org
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