Do you know the rules of entry for the Landlord-Tenant Act?
In my 20’s I had a landlord (Ralph) who owned a half dozen rental houses. Frequently he said, “no one can tell me what to do with my properties!”
He wandered into the properties whenever he felt like it, either for repairs or just to snoop. I knew he’d visited because he left muddy boot prints on my floors. He also liked renting properties to young, pretty, single women in hopes of “getting something started”. That meant he’d frequent the properties and hang around, believing beautiful young women in the prime of their lives would take a shine to an ill-kempt, delusional 80-year-old stalker/landlord. Luckily for me, I wasn’t his type.
Ralph was a man who wouldn’t know the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) rules of entry if they hit him over the head and knocked him out – and he didn’t care. He treated his rental properties like his private residence. Why he never ended up in court is still a mystery to me. Maybe the cheap rent was a factor in not reporting him.
Tenants these days are savvier, and information is easy to access. As a landlord, you need to know the rules of entry because, contrary to Ralph’s misinformed beliefs, the RTA can tell you what to do with your rental properties.
The RTA sets out specific rules of entry to support the tenant’s right to privacy.
24 Hours Notice
The first rule of entry is to provide 24-hours notice. The notice must be given by the landlord to the tenant, within 24 hours. You can email, text, or post a written notice on the tenant’s door with the following;
1. The notice must be in writing
2. The notice must state the date and time for entry
3. The notice must state the reason for entry of premises
4. The notice must be signed and dated by the landlord or his/her agent
5. The notice must be served on the tenant at least 24 hours in advance
If you have a good relationship with your tenant, a text/email will usually do the trick, however, if the relationship is contentious, post a notice on the door and take a time/date stamped picture.
Days of Worship
You may not enter the premises on religious or statutory holidays. If your tenant honors their holy day on Saturday or Wednesday night instead of Sunday, you will have to accommodate their day of worship.
Entry without consent but with notice
According to the RTA, there are five reasons to enter without consent but with notice;
1. To inspect the state of repair of the premises
2. To make repairs to the premises
3. For pest control
4. To show the premises to prospective purchasers or mortgagees
5. To show the premises to prospective tenants
If you’ve discovered a bed bug infestation, the toilet is constantly running, you’ve got it up for sale or for rent – you still must provide your tenant with notice but even if they refuse, you are still allowed to enter the premises.
Entry without consent
Regarding entry without consent or notice, the RTA only makes concessions for two reasons;
1. In the event of an emergency
2. If the tenant has abandoned the premises
In other words, if your property has had a fire or flood or some other valid emergency, you can enter without notice or consent.
In summary, it can boil down to two sentences. For non-emergencies, provide 24 hours notice with all required information, either by text, email, or written document. For emergencies, you can enter without notice or consent, but only for two allowable reasons.
I’ve entered suites many times (with 24 hours’ notice). My experience has proven that if I have a good relationship with the tenants and show respect for their privacy, they easily grant permission to enter with 24 hours notice.
Had any of Ralph’s tenants taken him to court for illegal entry – in Alberta, he could have faced fines of up to $5000. We are all entitled to our privacy, whether homeowners or tenants.
What do you do if your tenants are not ok with 24 hours notice of entry? I’d love to hear about it.
I am a property investor who is passionate about helping investors who self-manage have profitable investment properties through resources and education. If you struggle with the wrong landlord forms, or worse yet, no landlord forms check out my 10 Essential Editable Landlord Forms that help you separate the good tenants from the bad and increase your property’s profitability.